Dec. 27, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
A put-back by Jacinta Monroe as time expired completed a 14-point comeback in the second half by the Florida State women’s basketball team as it defeated Samford, 52-51, on Thursday (December 27) at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
With the victory, Florida State improved to 9-3 as it won its third game in a row. Samford lost its four game out of five tries as it fell to 7-5.
“We were really fortunate to come away with the win, Samford played an awesome game,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “It was a surprise to all of us that (Towns) missed (the free throw), but we were ready. Shante gathered them and showed a lot of poise to take that shot after just missing. Jacinta was in a great position to grab the ball and put it back in. We really stole this one.”
After Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) missed a jumper with 16 seconds remaining that would have given FSU the lead, the Seminoles were forced to foul. Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) fouled Taryn Towns, who is No. 10 in the NCAA at 94 percent from the free throw line. Towns missed the first of a one-and-one and Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) grabbed the rebound.
The senior Williams calmly walked the ball down the court then made her move down the lane with less than five second remaining. Her jumper caromed off the rim and was tipped around until Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) snatched and put it back as time expired to give the Seminoles the victory.
“Everything was going in slow motion,” Monroe said. “I knew Shante was going to put it up so I try to get myself into position to get a tip in. I just tried to tip it in before the buzzer. After the second tip I knew I had to get my hands on it so I grabbed it and put it in.”
Leading all scorers was Monroe as she put in 17 and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. She also had six blocked shots. Freshman Christian Hunnicutt (Jonesboro, Ga.) was next with 12 points and Williams added 10. Following Monroe on the boards was Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) with seven boards and Harvin added six. Williams and Ward had four steals each and Freshour dished out three assists.
Florida State overcame a horrendous first-half of shooting to hit 45.2 percent in the second stanza for a rate of 32.3 percent (20-of-62). Samford was just as bad in the second half, hitting only 29.6 percent for a rate of 38.5 (20-of-52) for the game. The Seminoles used their height advantage for a 30-18 margin in points in the paint and 12-to-7 for second chance points and none bigger than Monroe’s buzzer beater. FSU was also up 41-37 for rebounds and 14-to-19 in turnovers.
The Seminoles found themselves down 36-22 with remaining in the game and the Bulldogs led 38-26 at the 13:05 mark. That’s when Florida State started to chip away at the margin. A three-pointer by Hunnicutt started the run then Monroe score five points in a row and Harvin added five more to slide it to 37-41.
Williams hit two free throws to pull FSU within two (39-41) then Monroe gave Florida State its first lead (43-41) with back-to-back lay-ups with a put-back at 5:37 capping a 17-3 run. Samford quickly answered with a three-pointer to regain the lead and pushed it to four (49-45) with 2:20 remaining. The margin was three before Monroe hit a lay-up at 1:05 then put back the game-winner.
Perhaps it was the seven-day layoff that threw the Seminoles out of whack during the opening part of the first half. Florida State missed its first four shots while Samford hit its first five to give the visitors a 14-6 at the 16:20 mark. After a Hunnicutt putback made it 14-8, the Seminoles would go over four minutes without a point as the Bulldogs built at 20-8 lead.
Two Williams free throws and a Freshour jumper got the margin under 10 (12-20) with 9:05 remaining, but it would be another 7:43 before the Seminoles would score another point. Samford built its lead up to 27-12 before two Freshour free throws stopped the drought. The Bulldogs took a 29-16 lead into the locker room.
The most glaring difference in the first half was shooting. The Seminoles hit just 19.4 percent (6-of-31) to the Bulldogs’ 48.0 percent (12-of-25). Samford was also aided by five three pointers to none for the hosts. The two teams were even with 20 rebounds apiece while Florida State committed two less turnovers (8-to-10).
Coming off the bench to lead Florida State in the scoring column was Hunnicutt as she had six while Monroe and Freshour were two back. Monroe, Hunnicutt and Harvin had four rebounds each. Ward and Williams had two steals each and Monroe added three blocks.
The Seminoles will be back on the floor in two days when they open the FIU Fun & Sun Classic against No. 7 Georgia at 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard 100.7 FM and Seminoles.com.