Dec. 1, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind –
Growing up just 20 miles away in Nashville, Ind., Mara Freshour always had dreams of playing in Assembly Hall. She just thought she’d be wearing Crimson and Cream instead of Garnet and Gold. The junior scored a game-high 21 points and broke the school free throw percentage record as No. 21 Florida State beat Indiana, 85-78, in the Inaugural Women’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Friday (Nov. 30).
The Seminoles won their fourth game in a row to improve to 6-1 overall. The loss dropped the Hoosiers to 4-3 on the year.
“I thought I’d be alright after tip-off, but it took me a couple of minutes to calm down,” Freshour said. “Those first two free throws that I missed, I had to shake that nervousness, butterflies out of the way and once we got going it definitely helped. Like coach said this is a tough place to play so to add the family and everything on top of that it was pretty tough, but I’m glad our team stuck it out, fought hard, were able to come back and win the game.”
With her third free throw in the first half, Freshour reached the 100-attempt requirement to be eligible for the list. She finished the game 9-for-11 from the charity stripe for a career rate of .806 that beats Lisa Fogilos’ mark of 78.8 percent. After never reaching 20 points through the first two years of her FSU career, Freshour has scored 20 or more in her last three outings.
Led by Freshour, Florida State had five players in double figures. Freshman Antionette Howard (Snellville Ga.) came off the bench to produce her first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored 14 points off the bench. Junior Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) scored all of her 13 points in the second half and forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) reached double-digits for the sixth time in seven games with a dozen points.
“She had a big game tonight with 21 points,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “She got to the free throw line and hit nine out of 11 in a difficult environment for her. I’m sure she was thinking about a lot of things; the poise and focus she had to play a great basketball game was really big for us.”
Monroe was next on the boards with a half dozen rebounds to go along with a pair of blocks to move her up to seventh in school history at 76 swats. Williams dished out a team-high five assists as she climbed to fifth in Seminole lore at 356 assists.
The game was marred by turnovers as the two teams combined to give the ball up 47 times and commit 49 fouls. Florida State scored 29 points – including 19 in the second half – off Hoosier miscues while Indiana converted FSU’s mistakes to the tune of 25 points, but only seven in the second half. Indiana held a 40-35 margin in rebounding, but the Seminoles were up 18-12 for second-chance points.
“This is a really tough place to play,” Semrau said. “When I was an assistant coach at Wisconsin I don’t we ever won her. It wasn’t until I got some Indiana kids to come down and play at Florida State that we ever won. Tanae is such an unsung hero for this team. She guards every player that is going to be a problem for us. She guards guards, she guards posts and then she just comes down in drops in 13 on the offensive end.”
Florida State shot well from the floor, hitting 53.8 percent (28-of-52) to Indiana’s 45.3 percent (29-of-64). The Seminoles made more free throws (24), than the Hoosiers took (18), but neither team was sharp from the line as FSU hit 61.5 percent (24-of-39) to IU’s 55.6 percent (10-of-18). Indiana made up for the difference behind the arc, hitting twice as many three-pointers as the Seminoles (10-to-5).
Miscues early on allowed the hosts to establish a 9-3 lead at the 16:27 mark of the first half. From there the Seminoles went on an 11-3 run to take a 14-13 advantage on a Freshour jumper at the 12:23 mark. Sparking the run off the bench was Howard as she poured in five points. The lead would switch hands three times and there would be three ties – the last coming on a Freshour three to make it 21-21 – before Indiana pulled away in the first half.
A free throw by Brittany Miller (Tallapoosa, Ga.) – who played nine minutes after missing the last four games with a sprained ankle – pulled FSU to within one (28-29) at the 4:41 mark, but the Seminoles would go two minutes without a basket and Indiana responded by going on an 8-0 run to take a 37-28 advantage. Florida State battled back to get the deficit to five (37-32) on another Freshour jumper. The Hoosiers pushed the lead back to nine (41-32), but the Seminoles scored five points in the last 1:15 to close to 41-37 as Howard hit a three-pointer as the half expired.
Florida State out-shot the hosts 50.0 percent (14-of-28) to 45.9 percent (17-of-37), but it was the turnovers that were the difference. The Seminoles committed 11 miscues which led to 18 Indiana points. Indiana was also more prolific outside the arc, hitting five threes to just one for the Seminoles.
Leading the way offensively for the Seminoles was Howard as she dropped nine with a team-best four rebounds. Freshour was next at eight points. Williams added six points and dished out a team-best four assists.
Coming out of the break the Seminoles made several attempts to take back the lead, but every time Indiana seemed to can a big three-pointer. A 7-0 run during a three-minute Indiana dry spell gave Florida State the lead with a jumper by Davis-Cain at the 12:02 mark supplying the 54-53 margin. Williams would convert a three-point play at the 9:49 mark to put the Seminoles ahead 60-54.
Florida State continued to hold on to the lead and built it to nine points (75-66) on a pair of Monroe free throws at the 4:20 point. Indiana tried to get back in the game and cut the lead to two on a pair of occasions, the last being 80-78 with 30 seconds left, but Freshour knocked down a pair of free throws and Williams canned two more to put the game out of reach. The Seminoles went four minutes without a field goal (4:48-to-0:46), but hit four free throws and played strong defense to keep Indiana from taking the lead.
Florida State continues it four-game road swing on Sunday when it travels to Oakland University for a 4 p.m. tip. The game can be heard live on 100.7 FM and on Seminoles.com.