Nov. 5, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
A quick start to both halves and a great inside-out game were a great combination for the Florida State women’s basketball team in its final exhibition game. The Seminoles stayed perfect in the exhibition season with an 83-71 victory over Michael T. White at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Monday (November 5).
For the second game in a row, the tandem of center Britany Miller (Tallapoosa, Ga.) and guard Tanae Davis-Cain led the way in the scoring column. Miller produced a team-high 20 points while Davis-Cain was close behind at 17 markers. Four more players scored eight or more points for the Seminoles. Michael T.White’s Sidney Spencer – a member of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks – led all scorers with 28 points.
“One of the things we talked about was in our secondary break we were, I thought, backing off and not attacking,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said of FSU’s second-half adjustments. “When we got our post player down as soon as we reversed the ball, we got much better looks. You can see that with Mara having eight assists and no turnovers and in the number of touches that Brittany got inside. We need to have that consistently.”
Florida State dominated on the boards once again (42-to-29) – including 20-to-7 in the second half – with Miller leading the way at eight rebounds. Guards Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) and Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) – who scored nine points a piece – had eight assists each while Ward and forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) recorded a trio of steals. Monroe added nine points and freshman Antionette Howard (Snellville, Ga.) tossed in eight.
The Seminoles posted a double-digit victory despite taking 14 less shots (60-to-74) than their opponent, including 17 fewer three pointers (12-to-29). FSU was sharp from three-point range, hitting 58.3 percent (7-of-12) to MTW’s 34.5 percent (10-of-29). The Seminoles also shot 55 percent (33-of-60) from the floor for the second game in a row. FSU shot nearly 20 percent better at the free throw line compared to the first exhibition, hitting 76.9 percent (10-of-13).
“Mara had a tough night shooting the ball, but to play 37 minutes and keep her head in the game in order to do that with zero turnovers was a huge lift for our team,” Semrau added. “Courtney will continue to cut down on her turnovers, but she just makes things happen and sees a lot of things that a lot of freshmen don’t see.”
Relying on the inside-out combination of Miller and Davis-Cain that ignited the Seminoles in their prior exhibition game, Florida State mounted a quick lead. The duo scored 11 of FSU’s first 15 points as the Seminoles built a double-digit lead (15-5) just 3:49 into the game on a Freshour lay-up. MTW would slice that margin to five (21-16) at the 8:25 as FSU went 3:25 without scoring a basket.
Florida State would regroup with a Miller lay-up and Ward three-pointer getting the lead back to 10 (26-16). FSU would extend that margin to as many as 12 (34-22) on another Ward three at the 4:42 mark. Unfortunately, the host would be limited to two points for nearly the remainder of the half as the lead dipped to 36-33 until Angel Gray (Stone Mountain, Ga.) sent the Seminoles into the locker room up six when she swished a 50-foot heave at the buzzer.
The two teams had nearly identical numbers at the break with FSU a more accurate shooting team. The Seminoles held a 43.2 percent (16-of-37) to 35.9 percent (14-of-39) advantage from the floor and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) and 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from behind the arc. Miller led the way with 10 points and Ward dished out six assists. Five different players had three rebounds.
Riding the momentum they gained going into the locker room, Florida State scored the first nine points of the second half to build an insurmountable, 48-33 lead on a three-point play by Freshour. Four different players scored during the 3:05 run.
The lead grew to as many as 19 twice (71-52 & 73 & 54) in the middle of a stretch in which Davis-Cain scored nine-straight points and dished out an assist for another bucket. Michael T. White would cut the margin to 11 (77-66), but Howard hit three-straight lay-ups to seal the victory. Howard scored all eight of her points in the second half and Davis-Cain added nine.
Florida State opens the regular season on Friday (November 9) when it travels to Florida Gulf Coast for a 7:30 pm contest. The game is the Division I debut for the Eagles and can be heard on 1270 AM and www.seminoles.com.