February 19, 2012 - by
Howard’s Big Game Not Enough

Feb. 19, 2012

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Another brilliant game by sophomore forward Natasha Howard wasn’t enough for the Florida State women’s basketball team to end the nation’s second-longest home winning streak at No. 6 Miami on Sunday.

The Hurricanes got a combined 47 points from their all-conference senior backcourt of Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams to hold off the Seminoles 67-60 and win their 39th straight at the BandkUnited Center.

Howard tallied her double-double of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. She scored 22 points and hauled in 17 rebounds in Miami’s 60-57 win in Tallahassee on Jan. 15.

“That was a great game as usual between these two teams,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We will all be happy to see Riquna and Shenise graduate. They’re two really great players, and the rest of the team really stepped it up. We made some costly turnovers and that was really the difference. We made a great run at it. We just need to continue to learn how to handle pressure.”

Led by Howard’s brilliant play in the paint, the Seminoles shot lights out in first half, connecting on 12-of-18 field goal attempts for a season-best 66.7 first-half shooting percentage.

Trailing 12-4, Howard keyed a 9-0 FSU run by hitting back-to-back layups and making a free throw. Her hook shot at the 11:34 mark of the first half gave Florida State its first lead of the contest, 13-12.

A back-and-forth first half ended with Miami’s dynamic All-ACC backcourt putting the Hurricanes in the lead at the break despite FSU’s efficient shooting. Williams and Johnson capped the half by hitting back-to-back treys, as Miami went the locker room, leading 36-31.

The pair was back at it in the second half.

Johnson’s 18-foot jumper three minutes into the second half put the Hurricanes up by 9, 42-33, and forced Semrau to burn a timeout. A three by Williams with 14:40 left stretched the Hurricanes lead to 50-39.

Still FSU made a run, using an 8-0 spurt to tie the game, 57-57, on junior Alexa Deluzio’s first basket of the contest with 5:15 left.

Williams answered by putting back her own miss, and Johnson put Miami up 3 with a layup with 2:33 left.

Williams and Johnson combined to go 5-of-6 from the line in the final 35 seconds to make the score, 67-60.

Senior forward Cierra Bravard scored 12 points and junior post Chelsea Davis added 11 for the Seminoles, who scored 36 points in the paint and held a 39-29 rebounding advantage.

The Seminoles return to action on Thursday at Clemson before concluding the regular season with a “Senior Day” matchup against Virginia at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla. Bravard will be honored in her final home game.

For more information on the Florida State women’s basketball team follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball.


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