Jan. 8, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Junior Alicia Gladden put together a personal highlight package and Florida State posted its largest victory of defeat against Virginia in school history with a 60-46 triumph over the Cavaliers Sunday afternoon at the Donald L. Tucker Center. FSU is now 10-5 overall and 1-1 in the league, while the Cavs dropped to 11-2 on the season and 0-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
“Today, playing at home was a privilege,” Gladden said. “We’ve been away so much. Playing at home in front of all of our fans gave me the momentum to go hard. We’ve been working hard in practice on going hard and having energy and especially against Virginia who beat us last time. We were avenging last year’s loss – in overtime. That really came into play and I just felt like I was hot so I kept it going.”
Gladden led the Seminoles with a career-best 22 points and seven rebounds to go along with three steals and one assist. Her play was near flawless, mirrored by the fact that she had just one turnover in a team-high 33 minutes of play.
Florida State used a respectable first-half shooting performance to build a comfortable 25-13 lead heading into the intermission, as the Seminoles converted 10-of-32 (.331) from the field. More importantly, FSU’s defense efforts limited Virginia to just five field goals, as the Cavs made only 5-of-29 (.172) from the floor while going 0-of-4 from the 3-point line. Furthermore, the Seminoles grabbed eight steals and converted 13 points off of turnovers.
The FSU defense held Virginia to its lowest first half point total of the season and the Seminoles have now recorded double-digit steals in five straight games. The game also marked the first time all season Virginia trailed at halftime.
“Obviously, I’m going to point to our defense,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “Especially the job we did on Tiffany Sardin, who is one of the leading scorers on their team and a leader. We held her 0-for-10. These guys just do a great job on whether we ask them to defend the post, the guard, they just lock up and get it done. I am very proud of the effort to hold a Virginia program to 13 points in the first half which is something we can all feel very good about.”
Florida State pressed its relentless defensive attack early, taking a 9-4 lead on a Gladden jumper. The Cavaliers’ Lyndra Littles responded with a made basket to put the score at 9-6 but the Seminoles clung tightly to their edge, building a 20-6 advantage thanks to 11 unanswered points in a little over six minutes.
In the second half, Florida State’s offense cooled down but the defense continued to set the pace, holding the Cavaliers to a 12-of-41 (.293) clip in the stanza. FSU also capitalized on its 19 free throw attempts in the second frame, knocking down 14 freebies to keep Virginia at bay down the stretch.
The second half of the contest did not appear to be any closer than the first, as the Seminoles were able to keep the lead in the 20s until the Cavaliers put together a 5-1 run in the final 2:57 of play. A Shante Williams made foul shot at 9:19 in the second half gave Florida State a 22-point cushion, its largest of the game.
The Seminoles, who never trailed, played its entire bench and received 12 points and four steals from senior Ganiyat Adeduntan. Senior Holly Johnson had nine points and three steals, while senior LaQuinta Neely pulled down nine boards. Freshman Britany Miller totaled three blocks.
Siedah Williams paced the Cavaliers with 14 points and Tiffany Sardin had 11 rebounds.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively in the first half.” UVA head coach Debbie Ryan said. “I thought that they did a good job of jumping on us and picking up offensive boards. They scored on offensive boards and transition. We didn’t do a very good job at that and that’s unusual for this team. This team hasn’t been run on the entire year. I really don’t have any explanation for that, but give them credit for figuring it out and pushing us.”
Florida State will resume its conference schedule in eights days as it travels to College Park, Md., to face sixth-ranked Maryland on Jan. 16th. Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Comcast Center.