February 24, 2008 - by
FSU Women’s Basketball Can’t Overcome Free Throw Discrepancy, Drops 92-84 Heartbreaker to No. 4 Terps

Feb. 24, 2008

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – On a day when all the emotional momentum was with fourth-ranked Maryland on its senior day, the Florida State women’s basketball team almost gave the fourth-ranked Terrapins tears for different reason. The Seminoles had an eight-point lead with under three minutes remaining, but they couldn’t hold on for the upset as they fell, 92-84, in overtime on Sunday (February 240).

The loss dropped Florida State to 16-11 on the year and 6-6 in the ACC. Maryland improved to 28-2 overall, 12-1 in the conference. The game was played in front of 16,135 fans at the Comcast Center, which is the fourth-largest crowd for a women’s game in ACC history.

“I’m extremely proud of my team,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We’ve been through an interesting bout of adversity this year. This is the eighth game we’ve played with the same group of kids. I think we’d be a little better if we had the same group the entire year. I’m proud of the way we competed.”

A jumper by Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) gave Florida State a 73-65 lead with 2:59 remaining. Maryland outscored the Seminoles 11-3 the rest of regulation – including five free throws – to push the game into overtime. After Maryland tied the game at 76-76 with just four seconds left, Shante Williams’ (Jacksonville, Fla.) game-winning attempt bounced off the back rim. FSU grabbed a quick lead in the extra period on a Freshour three-pointer, however Maryland went on a 7-1 run to take the lead and went to the free throw line 10 times in the overtime to seal the victory.

“We were playing tentative,” Semrau said of the last three minutes. “We had two starters on the bench who had fouled out and three more on the floor with four fouls. It’s pretty difficult to play at the same level of defensive intensity. In that situation I thought we backed off a bit and gave them the opportunity to get that final shot that put it into overtime.”

The free throw line was the biggest difference in the game. Florida State was whistled for 27 fouls – compared to 19 by Maryland – which allowed the Terrapins to shoot 27-of-38 from the stripe. The 27 made free throws are the most by an FSU opponent this year while FSU’s 27 fouls and Maryland’s 38 attempts are the second most. Maryland got 25 of its 60 points in the second half and overtime from the line.

Lost in the tough defeat was a milestone for the senior guard Williams. Her lay-up at the 14:20 mark was her sixth point of the day and gave her 1,000 for her career. The school’s all-time leader in assists, she is the 21st player in school history to reach 1,000 points. Williams scored 14 points to finish the game with 1,008.

Williams was one of five players in double figures for the Seminoles, who were led by Freshour with 23. Forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) added 12 points and Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) poured in 12. Topping double-digits for the 14th game in a row was guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) with a dozen to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and four steals. Rookie Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) had six assists while classmate Christian Hunnicutt (Jonesboro, Ga.) added four helpers.

Maryland’s free throw discrepancy offset a tremendous effort on the defensive end by FSU. It forced Maryland into 26 turnovers that Florida State converted into 30 points. On the offensive end of the floor, the Seminoles committed a season-low seven turnovers. The Terrapins boasted a 51-to-30 advantage in rebounding as well as a big margin in shooting: 56.6 percent (30-of-53) to 39.2 percent (31-of-79).

As has been the case on the road, Florida State was sluggish to start the second half. Maryland went on a 17-7 run over the first 4:47 of the second half to take a 49-36 advantage. Unlike those previous games, the Seminoles stayed resilient and went on a 12-0 run of their own. Davis-Cain got a lay-up off a steal then knocked down a jumper to give the Seminoles a 50-49 lead at the 12:48 mark.

The game was close until 4:58 remaining when a Williams’ jumper ignited a 6-0 run by the Seminoles that gave them a 71-63 lead on a Davis-Cain jumper at the 4:08 mark. Unfortunately, that would be the last two points the second-leading scorer in ACC games would contribute as she was soon whistled for fifth foul.

Freshour hit the jumper at the 2:59 mark, but that would be Florida State’s last field goal of regulation. FSU only got two shots off the rest of the way while Maryland was 5-of-6 at the line and Marissa Coleman hit a lay-up with four seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. At the start of the game it took both teams a few minutes to find their offensive rhythm as there were only six points scored through the first three minutes of play. Maryland went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-3 lead, but Williams hit two jumpers and Freshour capped off a 9-0 run with a three-pointer to put FSU ahead 12-7 at the 13:29 mark.

Maryland would go on a 5-0 stretch to tie the game and eventually got the lead at 16-14 with 9:57 remaining. From there the two teams would battle back and fourth the rest of the half. Florida State got the lead back, 23-22, on a Harvin three-pointer at the 4:56 mark. The next five minutes featured four lead changes and two ties with Maryland grabbing a brief four point lead, 32-28, before Freshour threw in a three-point right before the half to make it 32-31 in favor of Maryland going into the break.

Offsetting Maryland’s big shooting advantage – the Terrapins out-shot FSU 53.8 percent (14-of-26) to 31.6 percent (12-of-38) – was the Seminoles’ ability to take advantage of UM miscues. Florida State got 17 points off 16 Maryland turnovers while the hosts only got six from FSU’s first-half season-low three turnovers. Maryland out-rebounded FSU 26-to-16 while Florida State hit four three pointers compared two just a pair for the Terps.

The three-pointer at the buzzer pushed Freshour to the team lead with nine points in the first half. All but one player who got into the game scored at least two points. Pulling in a team-high give rebounds and grabbing two steals was Davis-Cain. Hunnicutt and Ward had two assists each.

Florida State gets to stay at home for its final two games of the regular season, starting Thursday (February 28) when it plays host to Clemson in a 7 p.m. affair. The game can be heard on 1270 AM, XM Satellite radio and Seminoles.com and can be seen on Fox Sports Net.

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