Dec. 29, 2010
|Players of the Game|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When they needed it most, the No. 23 Seminoles leaned on All-America candidate Cierra Bravard.
Then Courtney Ward and the defense did its job, too.
The Florida State women’s basketball team earned a come-from-behind 74-72 win over the Gators Tuesday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Trailing 72-71, Bravard calmly drained two free throws with 30 seconds left and then Ward came up with a game-sealing save with just a tenth of a second remaining on the game clock.
“It feels good to beat our top rival,” said Ward, who added a free throw after her clutch defensive play. “I think in the past, we would have been down on ourselves after trailing late in the game. But not this year. We had confidence and we never gave up.”
Added Seminoles head coach Sue Semrau: “Throw everything out when Florida State and Florida play each other. UF shot the ball tonight better than it has all year long. For our kids to stay composed the way they did until the last possession is huge for us.”
FSU’s never-give-up attitude proved vital in withstanding a 20-5 Florida (10-4) run midway through the final period.
It also meant doing whatever necessary to not experience what could have been the program’s first three-game losing streak since the 2003-04 season.
For the game, Ward led all FSU (10-4) players with 20 points while adding four assists and four steals.
Freshman forward Natasha Howard earned her second double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bravard, who concluded the night 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, finished with 10 points and three blocks.
As a team, Florida State shot 44 percent from the field compared to Florida’s 58 percent. The Seminoles were outrebounded for just the second time all season, 39-31.
Perhaps more important than all of that, however, was the fact that FSU committed a season-low 13 turnovers to go along with 17 assists in front of what was the loudest and largest home crowd of the year.
“The crowd was fantastic tonight,” Bravard said. “It was great. This is our court and we have to take care of it. The crowd helped us do that.”
The Seminoles don’t have much time to savor the win over the Gators. In-state foe Stetson comes to the Tucker Center Thursday night for a 7 p.m. ballgame.