Feb. 21, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Facing a nearly must-win game to keep its hopes of getting the fifth seed in the ACC Tournament and a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Florida State women’s basketball team was happy to be back at the Donald L. Tucker. The Seminoles used a scoring spurt at the end of the first half to grab the lead then held on in the second half for the 71-65 victory over Boston College on Thursday (February 21).
The Seminoles snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 16-10 on the year and 6-5 in the ACC. FSU moved a half game ahead of Boston College for fifth place in the league as the Eagles dropped to 18-9 overall, 6-6 in the conference.
“I’m proud of our basketball team,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “This keeps us in the hunt for what we want to do which is go to the NCAA Tournament. I thought it was a great team effort with Cint (Jacinta Monroe) going out with the ankle injury and Cayla (Moore) going out with fouls. We cut our turnovers down. I think this team is starting to get comfortable with playing together and who we are.”
Crossing the 20-point plateau for the third game in a row was guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) with 20 points. Four Seminoles scored in double figures with Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) at 14 markers while Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) tossed in 11 and Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) had 10.
All but one Seminole had at least one rebound and five different players grabbed four or more led by Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) with a half dozen. She also scored nine points and had four blocks. The four swats moved her up to number two on the FSU single-season charts at 68. Williams had four assists.
Helping the Seminoles hang on in the second half was their free throw shooting. The charity stripe was the difference in the game as Florida State hit 18-of-28 (64.3 percent) to Boston College’s 9-of-15 (60 percent).
The Seminoles hit 70.6 percent in the second half and upped their field goal percentage to 47.6 percent. For the game, FSU shot 44.4 percent (24-of-54) from the field to the Eagles’ 49.1 percent (26-of-53). Florida State out-rebounded the Eagles’ 33-to-31, including 14 on the offensive glass. After 25 plus turnovers in three of their last four games, the Seminoles limited themselves to just 15 turnovers against Boston College.
“I think it was the first step in that,” Semrau said on getting to the NCAA Tournament. “We were middle of the pack, five losses, we couldn’t afford to have a home loss and we still can’t afford that. I do believe with everything we’ve been through if we take care of what we have at home and play our best basketball in the ACC Tournament that we’ll be an NCAA Tournament team.”
After the two teams traded buckets to start the game, the Seminoles went nearly four minutes with only one basket and that allowed Boston College to go on an 11-3 run to give the visitors a 19-8 lead. Florida State fought back with an 11-2 run of its own that included a trio of basket by Davis-Cain. A three-pointer by Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) tied the game at 20-20 with 9:50 remaining in the half and Harvin made a jumper to give the Seminoles their first lead since the first minute play.
The host’s lead would hover around three points until the Seminoles ended the first half on an offensive flurry. Florida State held Boston College to just one basket the last six minutes of the first half and went on a 12-2 spurt to close the half with a 39-28 lead. Davis-Cain and Harvin scored 10 of the points during the run, including a three-pointer by Davis-Cain at the buzzer.
Leading all scorers with 16 points in the first 20 minutes was Davis-Cain while Harvin was next at 10 points. Davis-Cain also led the team with four boards while Williams handed out three assists. Monroe had a trio of blocks in just six minutes.
The Seminoles were very accurate from behind the three-point line as they hit 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) compared to just 28.6 percent (2-of-7) by BC. FSU held a 19-to-15 advantage on the boards, including 10 offensive rebounds, and committed five fewer turnovers. The Eagles held a 48 percent (12-of-25) to 42.4 percent (14-of-33) advantage in shooting.
“I have to talk about our leadership and our captains Shante, Tanae and Mara,” Semrau added. “You look in their face and you know they’ve got it under control. They know what it takes in that situation to come back or hold the lead. When we had that 11-point lead and they cut it to six, they were the ones who were saying `Let’s go and get it done.’ I thought they did a great job creating energy coming into the game.”
Out of the half, Boston College quickly got back in the game as it cut Florida State’s margin to five (39-34) just 1:17 into the second stanza. The Seminoles halted the Eagles’ momentum and push the margin back to 10 (47-37) on a Monroe lay-up at the 15:30 mark.
A jumper by Corey Rusin with 10:10 to play slice the Seminoles’ lead to one (49-48) and BC would pull even (51-51) with 8:07 remaining. Florida State responded by going on a 7-1 run that was fueled by a pair of free throws from Freshour and Williams. The Eagles were within four (67-63) with 27 second remaining, but the Seminoles canned four free throws down the stretch to hold onto the victory.
The Seminoles go on the road for the final time during the regular season when the travel to No. 4 Maryland on Sunday (February 24). The game can be heard on 1270 AM and Seminoles.com and can be seen on ACC Select.