Jan. 9, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State (14-2, 1-1 ACC) rallied from a seven-point second half deficit to beat intrastate rival Miami (8-6, 0-1) 65-56 in women’s basketball action Sunday afternoon at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Redshirt center Nikki Anthony scored a career-high 15 points thanks to a 6-of-7 shooting performance from the field, and notched a career-high nine rebounds. Senior Roneeka Hodges scored 11 of her team-high 17 points in the second half, and the ACC’s leading defender, Alicia Gladden, shattered her career record in steals after recording seven in the contest. Gladden added 16 points and nine boards.
“I’m just extremely proud of our team,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “Starting with Ganiyat Adeduntan who defended James in the second half I thought almost flawlessly and that was really big for us. Obviously, Nikki (Anthony), I mean, where has she been all my life? Just getting her into a groove, getting repetition, she’s got such a bright future and it was really fun seeing her come into her own here today.
“It was really a fun win for us. Having not played the Hurricanes during my tenure, there’s a rivalry that I am sure will develop now that we are both in the ACC.”
Florida State came within one point three times in the second half, but it wasn’t until the 6:27 mark that Hodges was fouled and sunk both free throws for the 51-51 tie. On the very next possession, Anthony reached for a hard-nosed rebound off of a Miami 3-point attempt, and Florida State used a transition offense to get the ball to Hodges waiting in the lane for an easy lay-up (53-51) with 6:01 remaining in the contest. Florida State would take an insurmountable 63-56 lead with 1:00 left on the clock.
The story of the day belonged to Anthony as she jump-started the Seminoles early in the second period. With FSU trailing 42-35 at the half, Anthony scored eight points in a 14-8 run that cut the margin to one with the Tribe down 50-49 at 7:38.
“Nikki had a real determination about her,” Semrau said. “The best thing about her today was her poise. She has all the heart, but sometimes she doesn’t use her head but she’s really putting those two together and when she does that, she going to playing a big role for us on this team.”
The Hurricanes took 13 more 3-point shots (27-14) than FSU and completed eight, but just one trey in the second half. The Seminoles out-rebounded Miami 38-31 and outscored the Hurricanes 18-8 at the foul line. The Tribe forced 21 turnovers, including 12 in the second half and outscored the opponents 30-16 in the final period.
Florida State outscored the Hurricanes 36-14 in the paint and shot 40 percent (22-55) in the game, while holding the visitors to a 37.7 (20-53) mark. Miami’s Tamara James, who entered the game averaging an ACC-best 24.5 points per contest, was held to 22 points.
With less than a minute remaining in the contest, Florida State fans started chanted “A-C-C” to Miami during the `Canes first game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I think it was a very hard-fought game,” UM head coach Ferne Labati said. “I think the key to the game was that we really couldn’t do a very good job defending the big girl (Nikki Anthony). We tried several combinations and several things, but I think our inability to defend Nikki Anthony really hurt us and that’s something that we can’t allow if we are going to win on the road. The second thing is that I would like to compliment Florida State. They fought so, so hard for this victory. We need to do a better job in terms of when teams are playing this hard against us, be much more disciplined in our offense which we weren’t especially in the second half.”
James paced her squad in points, while adding eight rebounds, and Yalonda McCormick pitched in 15 points, respectively.
“I think we rushed shots and I think they out-hustled us, otherwise, I don’t think we played awful,” James said.
“The pain of the Georgia Tech loss and knowing just how important each possession was, we knew we had to get this one,” Semrau said.
Florida State will continue conference action when it hits the road this week to face Clemson Thursday (Jan. 13) at 7:00 p.m.