Jan. 11, 2008
DURHAM, N.C. –
Scoring droughts can hurt a team, especially when you’re taking on a top-25 Atlantic Coast Conference team on their home court. The Florida State women’s basketball team had two big dry spells in the first half and No. 12 Duke capitalized as it came away with the 70-38 victory on Friday (January 11) at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Seminoles suffered their first loss in conference action as they dropped to 1-1 and 11-6 overall. Duke improved to 2-0 in the league and 13-3 overall. The Blue Devils extended the nation’s longest home-court winning streak to 23 games.
“I don’t care that we only had one senior and one junior and we were without a couple of starters, when our shots weren’t following we allowed ourselves to go into a big, big hole,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We got some great looks and we didn’t knock down the shots.”
The loss was the Seminoles’ worse since February 21, 2002, when this same Duke team beat them by 33 (88-55) in Durham. It’s Florida State’s lowest point total since it was held to 36 by NC State in a 75-36 loss on January 26, 1997, the season before Semrau came to Florida State.
Leading the way for the Seminoles offensively with eight points was freshman Antionette Howard (Snellville, Ga.). Up next was Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) at seven. Grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds was guard Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) who also had a team-best three steals. Freshman Courtney Ward handed out three assists.
Thwarted by a taller Duke presence in the post, the Seminoles only shot a season-low 23.4 percent (15-of-64) from the floor to the Blue Devils’ 42.9 (30-of-70). Duke’s height also led to a 57-to-45 rebounding advantage as well as margins in points in the paint (52-to-18).
The Blue Devils played a full-court defense most of the evening which forced the Seminoles into a season-high 25 turnovers and Duke converted those to 24 points. Neither team shot well from the free throw line with Duke holding a 47.4 percent (9-of-19) to 18.8 percent (5-of-20). Florida State made three of the game’s four three-pointers.
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively as there were only 10 points scored before the first media time out. Even though Florida State would go nearly four minutes without a basket, it played strong enough defense to keep the Blue Devils off the board. Duke would get an early four-point lead (8-4), but buckets by the rookies Howard and Christian Hunnicutt (Jonesboro, Ga.) tied the game at the 13:38 mark.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles would go six more minutes without a basket but this time Duke would take advantage. The Blue Devils went on a 10-1 run to open up a 21-11 advantage at the 9:14 mark. The Seminoles battled back and cut the lead to eight (18-26) on a lay up Howard and a Ward free throw at the 3:44 mark but that would be FSU’s last points of the half. Duke ended the half on a 10-0 run to go into the locker room up 36-18.
Coming off the bench to lead the Seminoles was Howard with six points. The only other Florida State player to get more than two was Harvin at four. Freshour had a team-high five rebounds and tied Cayla Moore (Albany, Ga.) with a pair of steals.
Florida State was held to under 20 points in the first half for just the second time this season as it shot 21.2 percent (7-of-33) to the Blue Devils 43.2 percent (16-of-37). FSU had a chance to make up some points at the free throw line, but shot just 30.8 percent (4-of-13) while Duke wasn’t much better at 57.1 percent (4-of-7). Neither team hit a three pointer.
The poor shooting led to a lot of rebounding opportunities with Duke holding a 31-to23 advantage. Duke held a 30-14 advantage in points in the points and got nine points off FSU’s 11 turnovers while Florida State only got two from nine Duke miscues.
Florida State’s first basket of the second half didn’t come until 15:01 mark when Freshour hit a jumper. By that time Duke had pushed the lead to 20 points for the first time at 39-19. The lead hit 30 (55-25) for the first time at the 7:45 mark with Seminoles only getting it down to 26.
The Seminoles are back in action on Thursday (January 17) when they play host to Wake Forest. The 7 p.m. tip off can be seen on ACC Select and heard on 1270 AM and Seminoles.com.