Nov. 12, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – If it’s true that defense wins championships then the No. 13/14-ranked Florida State women’s basketball team is off to a great start at the WBI Tip-Off Classic.
The Seminoles held Minnesota scoreless for six minutes down the stretch to clinch a 68-56 win on Saturday at the Ocean Center.
Junior guard Alexa Deluzio scored a game-high 17 points and hit consecutive three-pointers that broke open a one-point game with just over five minutes remaining in the contest.
Sophomore forward Natasha Howard grabbed 12 rebounds, a day after snagging 13, as FSU held a commanding 47-39 advantage on the boards.
“The defensive end is where it happened – defense and rebounding,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “To be able to buckle down on the second day, playing another BCS school and hold a team scoreless for six minutes and only to four points – two free throws and one jumper – in the last six minutes is a huge complement to our growth.”
The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 44-37 advantage five minutes into the second half on a layup by Katie Loberg, but the Noles slowly etched away at their lead over the next six minutes and took over on a pair of free throw swishes from Bravard, 47-46, with 8:49 left in the game.
After Minnesota point guard Rachel Banaham hit a three-pointer at the 6:39 mark to cut into FSU’s 51-50 lead, Deluzio answered with a pair of back-breaking corner three-pointers that sparked an 11-0 Noles’ run.
“I think not only Lex hitting those shots, but Tay’ler (Mingo) finding her was huge,” Semrau said. “We got great penetration, Lex got her feet set, and she confidently knocked them down.”
The FSU defense did the rest from there, as Minnesota didn’t hit another field goal until 37 seconds remained. At that point, Florida State was already ahead, 66-54.
Mingo, FSU’s sophomore point guard, dished a career-high five assists and Clayton matched her career-best with two treys made.
Clayton had a fantastic stretch and almost single-handedly gave the Seminoles the lead at the end of the first half. With FSU down 26-20, Clayton hit a pair of three-pointers, a jumper and a layup in the final five minutes before the halftime buzzer, as FSU took a 33-32 lead into the break.
Florida State faces Arkansas to close out the WBI Tip-Off Classic on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Razorbacks fell to the Gophers, 68-60, on Friday.
For more information on the Florida State women’s basketball team, follow the Seminoles on twitter at: @FSU_WBasketball.