Feb. 20, 2014
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (seminoles.com) – Despite superb performances by senior Natasha Howard and redshirt sophomore guard Morgan Jones, the Florida State women’s basketball team was unable to cool No. 8/9 Maryland’s long-range shooters as it fell 87-77 on Thursday evening at the Comcast Center.
Howard and Jones were sensational for the Seminoles (17-9, 5-8) on the offensive end. Howard became the eighth `Nole to post multiple 30-point games in her career, racking up 35 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. The Toledo, Ohio, native shot 13-of-17 from the floor in what was another dominant effort for the All-America candidate.
Jones nailed a career-best six 3-pointers en route to 18 points, falling one long-range bucket shy of the school record of seven held by Courtney Ward (2010) and Christy Derlak (1993). The Lake Mary, Fla., native also added three assists and did not turn the ball over.
“I was encouraged by what I saw out of our team, especially at the end when we really cut into their lead,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “It’s up to us to carry how we played in the second half over to our next game at Clemson and gain that confidence to finish the regular season strong. I’m proud once again of the way `Tasha played and Morgan really stepped up today as well.”
Florida State shot well from the field, hitting 50.9 percent (29-of-57) for its fifth game above the 50 percent line. However, the Terrapins (21-5, 9-4) were hot all evening, shooting 56.5 percent including 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from three-point range. Senior Alyssa Thomas recorded a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, while Katie Rutan nailed eight 3’s. Maryland made 10 3-pointers, tied for the most allowed by FSU this season.
The 87 points were also the most allowed by FSU this season. However, Florida State closed the game on a 17-8 run and reached a single-digit deficit with 1:37 remaining, trailing 85-76. A jumper by Thomas with 42 seconds left sealed the game for the Terrapins, creating the final 87-77 score. FSU outscored Maryland in the second half, 42-34.
Senior Cheetah Delgado had another strong passing game for FSU, registering nine assists to expand her lead in the ACC. She also added nine points.
Florida State was hurt by its rebounding, losing the battle on the glass 35-26 and 10-7 on the offensive glass. Maryland also recorded 18 second-chance points to FSU’s six. Throughout the game, however, the `Noles were relentless by diving after loose balls and not surrendering early, laying it out all over the floor.
Jones began the second half much like in the first, nailing a trey from the corner to tie her career high and the FSU season high with five 3-pointers. She also drilled five 3-pointers earlier this season at Florida and posted five 3’s against NC State as a freshman at Northwestern.
Emiah Bingley’s corner trey cut the FSU deficit to 61-47 with 14 minutes remaining in the game, as the `Noles used a quick 5-0 run to cut further into the Maryland lead. Jones then nailed her career-high six 3-pointer with 13:24 remaining to cut the deficit to 63-50. However, the Terps used a quick 9-3 run to extend it to a 19-point advantage with 10:42 left courtesy of a few buckets from Thomas.
Florida State trailed the hot-shooting Terrapins 53-35 at the half, as Maryland was led by Rutan’s 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. The Terps shot 20-of-35 (57.1 percent) while FSU was efficient from the field, shooting 15-of-30 (50 percent).
Jones buried four 3-pointers for FSU in the first half, leading the `Noles with 12 points while Howard added 12 on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. It was Howard’s 87th career double-figure scoring game. Delgado handled the ball well for FSU, dishing out seven first-half assists.
Maryland’s Thomas had a strong all-around first half, posting 12 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Rutan’s 18 points all came from beyond the arc, as she was freed up by skip passes and getting open on the wing when FSU was forced to collapse on the inside.
Maryland took a 9-8 lead through the first media timeout with 15:52 remaining. Jones found her stroke from long range early when she knocked down a pair of triples from the left and right wing, tying her for 15th on the FSU single-season list with 46 3-pointers at the time.
The Terrapins used a 9-0 run over a 1:08 span to take a 26-13 lead with 11:47 left in the first half. Maryland started 4-of-4 from 3-point range, while Jones helped FSU to a 3-of-3 start from beyond the arc, but Maryland’s 71 percent shooting helped it race out to a big lead.
The `Noles play their final road game of the regular season on Sunday as they travel to Clemson. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. with the game airing on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS).
For more information on Florida State women’s basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).