March 8, 2008
GREENSBORO, N.C. –
Long scoring droughts have plagued the Florida State women’s basketball team this season and one ended FSU’s shot at an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title. The Seminoles went more than five minutes without a point in the second half and that allowed No. 11 Duke to grab the lead and go on to the 81-67 quarterfinal win on Friday (March 7) at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Seminoles had their run at the ACC Tournament stopped as they fell to 18-13 on the year. Duke ran its winning streak over FSU to five overall and in the league summit as it improved to 22-8.
“I’m proud of our players,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “I thought they came out with great energy. We were a better basketball team than the first time we played Duke. They had that little stretch when Abby Waner hit that three, that was the backbreaker.”
Leading the Seminoles with 18 points was junior Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) which tied her ACC Tournament high. She tied for the team lead at four rebounds with guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) who scored 15 points to go along with two assists and two steals. Freshour dished out a team-best three assists. Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) was the third player in double figures at 14.
Duke shot 60 percent in the second half for the 49.1 percent (28-of-57) to 38.6 percent (22-of-57) advantage. Each squad shot well from the charity stripe with Duke hitting 91.3 percent (21-of-23) to the Seminoles’ 82.4 percent (14-of-17). FSU was also sharp from behind the arc at 47.4 percent (9-of-19).The Blue Devils had a 39-to-25 advantage in the boards and went inside to the tune of 42-to-16 for points in the paint, including 24 in the second half.
Both teams struggled to get back into a rhythm to start the second half as they combined for just eight points through the first media time out. FSU got the lead back, 38-37, on a Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) three pointer then built a five-point lead, 46-41, on a Freshour three-point play. The FSU margin grew to 51-45 when Harvin drilled a three pointer from the top of the key at the 12:38 mark.
Unfortunately, Duke came back with a 16-0 run to take a 63-53 lead as the Seminoles did not muster a point for 5:20 minutes until Ward ended the drought with another three pointer. The closest Florida State would get the rest of the way was eight points, 60-68.
“Throughout the adversity we’ve been through this year I’m really proud of my team,” Semrau added. “I think we showed tonight that we can compete with anybody.”
The three-pointer staked Florida State to an early lead as Freshour, Harvin and Davis-Cain each hit one during an 11-4 Seminole run. The three ball by Davis-Cain at the 15:47 mark gave the Seminoles a 13-6 advantage. Florida State went scoreless for three and a half minutes and that allowed Duke to get back into the game with a 6-0 run that brought the Blue Devils with 15-14.
Duke tied the game at 17 but Harvin answered with a jumper and Freshour knocked down another three pointer to get the lead to 22-17 with 9:25 to play in the half. The Blue Devils came back with a 9-3 run to get their first lead since the opening minute of the game at 26-25 at the 5:25 mark.
The two teams went back fourth the rest of the half. Duke had a 36-31 lead with 1:48 remaining, but FSU held the Blue Devils scoreless the rest of the half and Angel Gray (Stone Mountain, Ga.) knocked down a pair of free throws with 6.3 seconds left to pull FSU with in 35-36 going into the half.
Free throws made the biggest difference in the first half as Duke was 16-of-17 (94.1 percent) from the line, compared to just 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) by the Seminoles. The Blue Devils also had a 21-12 margin on the boards that helped them to an 18-10 lead in points in the paint.
Florida State’s equalizer was the three pointer as they hit 4-of-8 (50 percent) compared to 0-for-6 by the Blue Devils. FSU had a 40 percent (12-of-30) to 37.0 percent (10-of-27) advantage from the field. The Seminoles converted 11 Duke turnovers into 15 points while DU got just seven from FSU’s nine miscues.
Leading the way in the first half with 10 points was Freshour while Harvin was just one back at nine. Four different players had two rebounds and Freshour dished out two assists. Davis-Cain had a pair of steals.
“I think the conference we play in, our strength of schedule and our RPI are all good,” Semrau said of FSU’s NCAA Tournament prospects. “Eighteen wins is a lot, finishing .500 in the league and we’re top five in the league. I feel like this is a team that has fought and really shown what we can do and we’re coming together right now.”
Florida State will now wait to see if it is selected for its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament. The selection show is March 17 at 8 p.m. on ESPN.