Nov. 29, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Despite leading by as many as eight points with under five minutes to play, the Florida State women’s basketball team fell 78-74 to No. 18 Florida in overtime Thursday night at the Leon County Civic Center. It was the first loss for the Seminoles who went to 4-1 on the year, while the Gators snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 3-2 on the young season. FSU was paced by remarkable performances from junior Shinikki Whiting and sophomore Tasheika Morris who each recorded double doubles in the ball game. Whiting recorded career highs in both points with 28 and rebounds with 12 – both team highs – while Morris had 24 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.
“It’s a shame that somebody had to lose this basketball game,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said at the post game press conference. “I thought this was one of the hardest-fought battles that I’ve been a part of. I know both teams went at it with everything they had. These two sitting next to me (Tasheika Morris and Shinikki Whiting) are warriors with the rest of my team too. I want to credit Florida. We’ve been taking real good care of the basketball and I thought their pressure maybe forced us into some poor decisions. This is exactly what we needed this time of year and I thank them for that because this is really going to prepare us for what we have coming up.”
FSU scored first, but the Gators took an early lead and led the entire first half. UF’s largest advantage of the first half was nine points at 25-16 at the 8:18 mark. The Seminoles pulled to within three at 27-24 with under five to play, but went into halftime trailing 33-29. Morris scored FSU’s first seven points of the ball game and led all players with 13 points in the first half. The Seminoles dominated the boards, 28-15, but reached their season average with 12 turnovers in the first half. Both teams shot below 40 percent and FSU was cold from the three-point line, going 0-for-5.
Florida started the second half much like it did the first and pulled ahead again by nine at 40-31 with 17:42 remaining, but the Seminoles went on a 15-6 run to tie the game at 46-46 with just over 13 minutes to play. After forcing three more ties, Florida State took its first lead of the game at 54-52 with 8:43 left. The Tribe built a lead of as many as eight points with under five minutes to play and maintained a lead until the final minute of regulation. FSU’s last made basket was a lay up by Trinetta Moore at the 2:52 mark. Florida capitalized on two missed shots, a miss free throw and a Seminole turnover and with 53 seconds remaining, Vanessa Hayden hit two free throws to force the game’s sixth tie. Whiting missed a shot to win the game with 27 seconds left and Brandi McCain missed a jumper with three seconds remaining and the game went into overtime. In the OT, FSU went up by three twice, but turnovers continued to plague the Seminoles. McCain hit a bucket at the 1:39 mark to give Florida the lead for good.
“I wanted so badly for something good to happen to this group,” UF Head Coach Carol Ross said. “They (her players) had a tough couple of games in the Virgin Islands. There’s really not much better than can happen to them than to come to Tallahassee and play in front of a hostile Seminole crowd against a team that is undefeated and what I consider to be a Top 25 team. I really think Florida State has got a great ball club and I think Sue (Semrau) has done a really good job with them. For us to come in and win is really a great testament to how hard we worked and just their refusal to lose.”
Florida was led by Hayden’s 19 points and game-high 15 rebounds. McCain also scored 19 points while freshman Tishona Gregory, making her first career start, and Courtney Cooper added 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The Seminoles led the way in the rebounding department, 50-43, but committed a season-high 24 turnovers. FSU entered the game averaging just 12.8 turnovers a game. The Tribe also struggled from the free throw line. The Seminoles, who were ranked second in the ACC in free throw shooting at .756, shot just 59 percent from the charity stripe in tonight’s game, going 19-for-32.
FSU will host 2-2 Austin Peay State University, an NCAA Tournament team last season, on Sunday, December 2, 2001 at 2 p.m.