Jan. 7, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -Chasity Clayton chose to sit out her first year at Florida State to improve her skills while she studied the college game.
It’s already paying off.
The 6-foot freshman scored a career-high 15 points and had four of her eight rebounds on offense Thursday to lead 13th-ranked Florida State to a 68-50 win over No. 21 Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools.
“She was kind of Johnny-on-the-Spot,” Virginia coach Debbie Ryan. “She made the biggest impact on the offensive boards.”
Rebounding was one of the areas that Clayton concentrated on while sitting out last season to sharpen her game.
“I’m physical and can help my team out a lot rebounding,” she said Thursday. “Just give ’em a spark.”
Florida State, which shared last year’s regular-season ACC title with Maryland, charged into command of the game with a 16-2 run midway through the contest that wiped out a 34-28 Virginia lead.
Monica Wright led Virginia (10-4) with 19 points, but was just 7 of 20 from the floor and committed six turnovers. Chelsea Shine added 10 points for the Cavaliers, who shot just 16.1 percent in the second half.
“That’s the best defensive half we’ve had,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said.
Florida State’s pressure defense and 48-34 edge in rebounds helped the Seminoles overcome 24 turnovers and 39.2 percent shooting. Jacinta Monroe also had eight rebounds for Florida State.
Courtney Ward added 12 points and Monroe 10 (along with four blocked shots) for the Seminoles, who were denied the outright regular-season ACC title last year after losing a 68-63 at Virginia late in the season.
Virginia, which led by as many as six points in the first half, had a 34-32 lead at halftime but fell behind after going scoreless the first 4:08 of the second half. The Cavaliers managed just two points over a span of 9:55 midway through the game and finished with their lowest scoring total of the season.
Virginia made one last challenge, closing to 49-45 on Wright’s layup with 6:15 left, but a pair of free throws by Florida State’s Ward and Harvin’s 3-pointer stopped the run.
“I have no idea how you cut it to four and you don’t continue to make that run,” Ryan said. “I was very disappointed the way we let it go at that point. We basically just yielded to what they were doing.”
Wright, who came into the game averaging 21.1 points a game, was tagged with her third foul with 2:50 left in the first half and had just six points at the break while sitting for eight minutes.
“We got 68 shots to their 51 and just didn’t convert,” Ryan said. “Our team is going to have to step up and play a whole lot better.”