Nov. 5, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The No. 13/14-ranked Florida State women’s basketball team used a dominant second half to overpower Florida Southern, 98-46, on Saturday in a season-opening exhibition at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Junior Chasity Clayton (23 points) led five Noles in double figures, as FSU rebounded from a lackluster first half to shoot 61.8 percent and outscore the Mocs, 61-18, after the break.
“I expected today to be a realistic measure of where we are,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We’ve been playing against scout guys in practice and it’s always hard to gage where you are until you get out on the floor and the lights come on. We saw a lot of things we need to work on and some bright spots as well.”
Clayton’s performance was the brightest on Saturday. She shot 9-of-14 from the field and added six boards to go along with her 23 points, two better than her career-high in an official game.
The 6-0 combo forward-guard from Panama City, Fla., dedicated herself in the offseason to improving her all-round game. The results of her hard work were on display Saturday afternoon.
Clayton scored a variety of ways, on put-backs, mid-range jumpers and driving layups. She also went 5-of-5 at the free throw line.
“I really just stepped my game up,” Clayton said of her offseason work. “I focused on a lot of things to peak my game. I had a different mindset than I’ve ever had. I worked on ball-handling, shooting and game-like situations so that when I’m in the game it will come to me easy.”
Joining Clayton in double figures were fellow starters, junior guard Alexa Deluzio (15 points), sophomore forward Natasha Howard (18 points) and senior center Cierra Bravard (10 points), while junior forward Chelsea Davis added 15 points and game-high nine boards of the bench.
Sophomore Tay’ler Mingo earned the start at point guard and dished a game-high seven assists.
The Noles had a great start to the first half, sprinting out to leads of 12-2 four minutes into the game and 21-7 with nine minutes left. The Mocs hung around until the intermission, however, moving within eight points – 31-23 – on a layup by Michaela Hawley two minutes before the break.
Florida State led by just 37-28 at halftime, as the Noles committed 13 turnovers and shot just 41.7 percent.
The second half was a different story. FSU had just four turnovers, held Florida Southern to 23.5 percent shooting (8-of-34) and captured a commanding 30-14 rebounding advantage after the break.
Seven seconds into the second half Deluzio made a driving layup to ignite a 7-0 run to put FSU in control, 45-30, with 17:58 remaining in the game.
The Noles really ran away with the game when they held the Mocs scoreless for over five minutes midway through second half, from the 11:47 mark until 6:32 remaining in the game. During that span, FSU used a 12-0 run, highlighted by six straight points from Howard, to move ahead 72-38.
With just under five minutes left in the game, Florida State took a 40-point lead, doubling their opponents’ score, 80-40, on a layup by sophomore Olivia Bresnahan.
Junior guard Leo Rodriguez finished with nine points, hitting 3-of-4 treys, while freshman forward Kristi Mokube grabbed five boards in her Garnet and Gold debut.
Florida State opens the regular season next weekend, Nov. 11-13 at the WBI TipOff Classic in Daytona Beach. The Seminoles will face USF, Minnesota and Arkansas at the Ocean Center.
The Noles first regular season home game is Nov. 21 versus Georgia State at 7 p.m.
For more information on the Florida State women’s basketball team, follow the Seminoles on twitter at: @FSU_WBasketball.