Nov. 11, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The No. 13/14-ranked Florida State women’s basketball team shook off a slow start to grab a season-opening 62-49 victory over USF on Friday at the WBI Classic.
Sophomore forward Natasha Howard tallied her fourth career double-double (10 points and 13 rebounds) and sophomore point guard Tay’ler Mingo scored a career-best 12 points in her first career start, as FSU used a 15-0 run in the first half to take control against the Bulls at the Ocean Center.
The Noles never relinquished the lead and when the Bulls got close in the second half they held them without a field goal for over four minutes.
“We consider ourselves a defensive team, and we just always want to get the momentum,” Mingo said.
Mingo was the catalyst for that momentum a lot of the game, twice pick-pocketing the Bulls’ point guard and taking the ball coast-to-coast for easy layups.
She finished 5-of-7 from the field and also had a pair of assists in a career-best 30 minutes.
“When we recruited Tay’ler we told her she would have a year to be an understudy to All-ACC point guard Courtney Ward,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “She took that seriously. She knew she would have the opportunity to take over the reins. She did a fantastic job today.”
Mingo wasn’t alone in having a solid first game for the Noles, as four other players reached double figures.
Senior center Cierra Bravard scored all 11 of her points in the second half to keep her streak of consecutive games in double figures going at 22. Junior Chelsea Davis had 11 off the bench, while Deluzio scored 11 in a game-high 36 minutes. Howard had 10 along with her game- and-career high 13 boards.
Florida State’s first basket didn’t come until Deluzio hit a corner jumper at the 14:32 mark in the first half. By that time USF had already built a 7-0 lead, but the Seminoles took control of the first half behind a 15-0 run sparked by a Howard jumper 10 minutes into the game. Mingo capped the run with one of her signature steal-and-layup combos to give FSU a 24-16 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Bulls pulled close in the second half, but the Noles’ defense didn’t break.
After a three-pointer by USF’s Caitlin Rowe made the score 44-40 with 8:41 remaining, FSU held the Bulls scoreless for a 4:21 span, taking a 51-40 lead in the process.
The game featured the sloppiness expected from a season-openers with both teams combining for 47 turnovers, but Florida State stayed tough on defense and dominated the boards to the tune of a 50-36 advantage en route to its 18th straight victory to start a season.
Florida State faces Minnesota on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. The Golden Gophers defeated Arkansas, 68-60, in the first game on Friday.
For more information on the Florida State women’s basketball team, follow the Seminoles on twitter at: @FSU_WBasketball.