Nov. 23, 2007
GAINESVILLE, Fla. –
Similar to how the series between Florida State and Florida has swung in the Seminoles’ favor the last few seasons, the ability for FSU to win at the O’Connell Center has grown in recent years. A Mara Freshour free throw with 5.3 seconds remaining put the Seminoles up three and a UF desperation heave fell short as No. 20 Florida State prevailed 81-78 on Friday (November 23).
The victory improved Florida State to 5-1 on the season. FSU has won four of the last five, after dropping the previous 16, against the Gators, who fell to 3-2. The win was just the second for the Seminoles in Gainesville since the 1990-91 season.
“That’s two teams that played really, really hard,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We told our team coming into this game that we felt that Florida was playing harder than we were and we had to match their intensity to win the basketball game.”
Topping all scorers was guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) as she poured in a career-high 27 points off 10-of-20 shooting, including 5-of-10 from three-point range. Forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) scored 14 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had four blocks and two steals.
“I can’t say enough about the play of Tanae Davis Cain,” Semrau added. “She attacked on the offensive end and guarded Marshae Dotson on the defensive end – that’s not something we’ve had her do a whole lot is defend the bigger post players. I thought she did a great job, especially in the second half.”
Guard Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) added 11 points off the bench and tied guard Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) for tops on the team at six assists. Freshour had nine points and eight rebounds while rookie forward Antionette Howard (Snellville, Ga.) – who originally committed to UF – added nine points as well. Starting center Britany Miller (Tallapoosa, Ga.) missed her fourth game in a row with a sprained ankle.
Coming out the break, Davis-Cain single-handedly pulled the Seminoles even with the Gators as she scored FSU’s first eight points, including a three-pointer at the 16:50 mark to tie the game at 45-45. A pair of Ward free throws gave the Seminoles their first lead of the half (15:41). Another Davis-Cain three pushed the margin to 55-48 at the 13:50 point in the half.
The lead grew to 10 points (74-64) on a Monroe jumper at the 3:11 mark. FSU would only score two points over the next minute and a half which allowed the Gators to go on a 6-0 run and cut the lead to 76-72 with 1:36 remaining. A pair of Angel Gray (Stone Mountain, Ga.) free throws bumped the margin back to five (77-22 at 1:03), but it got cut to two (78-76) with 42 seconds remaining. A Williams lay-up at 0:13 made it a two-possession game then Freshour canned the first of two from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
In the box score the two teams were nearly identical with FSU making two more field goals – 32-of-69 (46.4 percent) to 30-of-61 (49.2) percent. Florida edged Florida State 40-39 on the boards. The Seminoles were opportunistic, causing eight more turnovers (23-to-15) which led to 28 points and had a 17-14 advantage in offensive rebounds that translated into 22 second-chance points.
Florida State did a good job of taking care of the ball in the second half, only committing six turnovers after nine during the first stanza. The Seminoles also out-rebounded the Gators (20-19) and had six steals.
Both teams struggled to find their stride offensively in the opening minutes of the game. Florida State went 2:50 without a basket, but only found itself down two (5-3) as Florida only made one basket during a three-minute stretch. The Seminoles got the offense going with an 8-0 run to take a 17-9 advantage at the 11:11 mark on a Freshour jumper.
The lead would be short lived as the Gators stormed back over the next two and half minutes to reclaim the lead (20-19) at the 9:14 mark. A Davis-Cain jumper at the 7:15 point put the Seminoles up 23-20, but from there the Gators would outscore Florida State 12-4 over the next three minutes to take a 32-27 advantage. Davis-Cain scored five points in 15 seconds to get FSU back to 34-32 (2:44) but UF would hold on to take a 41-37 lead into the locker room.
Giving the Gators’ their advantage in the half was three-point shooting as they made a pair more than FSU. The two teams were nearly identical in every other way, with UF holding slight advantages in shooting – 47.1 (16-of-34) to 46.9 percent (15-of-32) – and rebounding (21-19). The Seminoles capitalized on six steals to help their 13-8 margin in points off turnovers.
Putting up more than a third of the Seminoles’ first-half points was Davis-Cain as she tossed in 14. Freshour added eight and tied with Williams for the team lead at four boards. Ward and Howard had a pair of steals.
The Seminoles are back in action on November 30 when they travel to Indiana for the Inaugural Women’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The game can be heard on 100.7 FM as well as Seminoles.com. It can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.