March 20, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -Once Florida State figured out a way to keep Shanavia Dowdell in check, things finally started clicking for the Seminoles.
It just took a lot longer than they planned.
Jacinta Monroe and Courtney Ward each scored 16 points, and third-seeded Florida State clamped down defensively in the second half to escape with a 75-61 win over 14th-seeded Louisiana Tech on Saturday in the NCAA women’s tournament.
Shanavia Dowdell scored 22 of her 28 points in the first half, and Jasmine Bendolph added 11 for Louisiana Tech (23-9), which was back in the NCAAs for the first time since 2006 and led by nine after 15 minutes.
The highlights stopped there for Teresa Weatherspoon’s club.
Weatherspoon, just as she was during her playing days, was fiery throughout, shaking her fist, giving high-fives and even kicking the side of the scorer’s table once.
It gave her team a boost. Just not enough of one to hold off the deeper Seminoles.
Florida State kept two people near Dowdell throughout the second half, daring Louisiana Tech to have someone else step up and make shots.
No one did.
The Lady Techsters shot 50 percent in the first half – and almost unbelievably, shot 5 of 30, just 17 percent, after intermission.
Keeping the ball out of Dowdell’s hands was the reason why.
Dowdell got her second foul just 2:42 into the game, and Weatherspoon didn’t waver. Her star stayed on the floor.
The two-time WAC player of the year rewarded Weatherspoon’s faith by putting on a show.
Dowdell was a perfect 10-of-10 from two-point range in the first half, her only miss coming on a 3-pointer with 12:47 left. If they stopped keeping score after 11 minutes, Dowdell alone would have beaten Florida State, 17-16. When she scored with 6:03 remaining until halftime, she had 22 of Louisiana Tech’s 32 points, and the Lady Techsters held a seven-point lead.
A minute and a half later, she was on the bench.
Monroe stepped in front of Dowdell, drawing an offensive foul – the break the Seminoles needed. With Dowdell playing the role of cheerleader the rest of the half, NCAA-logo towel across her shoulders, Florida State went on a 13-6 run and the teams went into the break tied at 40.
Dowdell didn’t get her first shot of the second half until missing a jumper with 11:45 left, and didn’t get a field goal after halftime until making a jumper with 3:15 remaining.
Florida State was up by 10 before that score by Dowdell gave the Lady Techsters one last spark. They scored the next six points, getting within 65-61 on a 3-pointer by Bendolph with 1:57 left.
Dowdell fouled out on the ensuing Florida State possession, Deluzio made two free throws to push the lead back to six, and the Seminoles survived.