Jan. 17, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Coming off one of the toughest losses in recent history, the Florida State women’s basketball could have easily hung its heads in its next outing. Instead, the Seminoles responded with their best offensive game in over a month as they defeated Wake Forest, 80-54, on Thursday (January 17) at the Donald L Tucker Center.
Florida State improved to 2-1 in the conference and 12-6 overall. Wake Forest suffered its 22nd ACC loss in a row as it dropped to 0-5 in the league, 12-7 overall.
“This was a big win for our team,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “Playing short-handed and finding a way to score 80 points against a team that is top five in the nation in scoring defense was very important. Our team found some chemistry with different players on the floor, on the defensive end of the floor mainly, to cause them to turn the ball over and to get 17 points off turnovers in the second half was big.”
After not having a single player in double figures against Duke – a first since 1994 – Florida State had four players in double digits. Topping all scorers were guards Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) at 18 points each. Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) was next with 14 while Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) scored all 12 of her points in the second half.
Williams had seven assists and no turnovers as well as four steals. Guard Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) grabbed a team-high six rebounds while Monroe nabbed five. Four different players had four or more rebounds as FSU out-rebounded Wake Forest 32-31, including 19-14 in the second half.
The Seminoles shot 66.7 percent in the second half to shoot 54 percent (27-of-50) for the game, its highest rate since 54.3 percent at Texas A&M. Wake Forest was held to 32.1 percent (17-of-53). FSU also hit 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from the line and 46.2 percent (6-of-13) from three point range. Florida State converted 20 Wake Forest turnovers into 21 points and got 24 points in the paint.
“It was fun to coach them tonight,” Semrau added. “Their effort was there from the opening team. They played together on both ends of the floor, really working to make each other better. That, I think, is extremely important when you’re talking about a team and it made everybody better.
Florida State jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead at the 16:20 mark on a put back by Cayla Moore (Albany, Ga.). A jumper by Harvin made it an 8-5 game, but that would be the Seminoles’ last back for the next three minutes. The drought allowed Wake Forest to go on a 6-0 run and establish an 11-8 lead. Harvin would convert a three-point play and Williams had a steal and a lay-up to give FSU the lead back 13-11.
A jumper by Antionette Howard (Snellville, Ga.) gave FSU a three-point advantage (18-15) at the 8:37 mark. Even though the Seminoles only went less than a minute and a half without a basket, it was enough for the Demon Deacons to grab the lead at 20-18.
Camille Collier’s basket at the 7:25 mark would be Wake Forest’s final basket of the half as the Seminoles went on a 16-0 to take a 34-20 lead into the half. Sparking the run was Freshour as she hit a three to start the spurt and added a jumper and a pair of free throws.
Topping all scorers with a dozen points in the opening 20 minutes was Freshour followed by seven from Harvin. Freshmen Ward, who also scored five points, and Christian Hunnicutt (Jonesboro, Ga.) grabbed three rebounds. Williams dished out three assists and scored six points.
A tight Florida State defense forced Wake Forest in 16 turnovers that the Seminoles converted into 17 points. FSU also had a 12-2 margin in points in the paint despite being out-rebounded 17-13. The Seminoles out-shot WFU 44.8 percent (13-of-29) to 33.3 percent (7-of-21), but five of Wake Forest’s field goals were three pointers. FSU was also 5-of-6 at the free throw line.
Wake Forest went on a 12-6 run to start the second half and cut the lead to eight points (40-32). The Demon Deacons sliced it nine (45-36) but that’s the closest they would get the rest of the night. From there, Florida State went on a 16-6 run to open up a 61-42 advantage on a Monroe jumper. A Freshour jumper pushed the margin to 20 (70-50) for the first time at the 4:06 mark. Monroe knocked down a pair of free throws with 36 second left for FSU’s biggest margin of the game and the final score.
The Seminoles go back on the road this Sunday (January 20) when they play a 2 p.m. game at Clemson. The game can be seen on CSS and heard on 100.7 FM and Seminoles.com.