Nov. 23, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State trailed by 11 points with just over 10 minutes to play but led by senior Ganiyat Adeduntan’s 20 points, the Seminoles (2-1) made it two wins in a row vs. the Gators with a thrilling come-from-behind 82-76 victory over Florida (2-1) Wednesday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
“It’s been great (to beat the Gators two straight years),” Adeduntan said. “My first two years we lost to them but then last year was when we turned it around. It’s always a good thing to beat the Florida Gators but we’re just looking at this as another game and we’re going to use this win as momentum to get the next couple of games.”
It was a game of spurts that saw five ties and 13 lead changes. Florida State’s largest lead of the first half was eight points at the 6:24 mark and the Seminoles went into the locker room with a five-point lead (36-31) but the first 10 minutes of the second half belonged to the Gators who went from five down to 11 points up at 57-46 at the 11:05 mark and again at 59-48 with 10:18 left in the game.
“I think you can tell we are a pretty young basketball team in some areas and I thought our youth really stepped up and did some nice things tonight,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said.
FSU came racing back and did so by the very thing that cost them the game vs. Washington – free throws. Down 11, six of Florida State’s next 12 points were from the free throw line. An Adeduntan three-pointer with 6:12 remaining tied the game at 61-61. The game was tied again at 65-65 with 3:39 when Shante Williams had back-to-back steals that resulted in Florida State buckets. FSU was up 69-65 and would not trail again. The Seminoles’ last seven points of the game were from the free throw line. FSU shot 68 percent from the charity stripe on 19-for-28, a marked improvement from Sunday’s 44 percent shooting in the loss to Washington.
“In the second half, Shante Williams was a huge difference maker for us as was Mara Freshour,” Semrau said. “Ganiyat and Ice (Gladden) are steady for us and are always very, very good. It was nice to see Ganiyat getting her shooting touch back. She took great shots all game long. The biggest key for us was our rebounding in the second half. We challenged them at halftime and got 11 offensive boards in the second half and held Florida to three offensive boards and that was the difference in the game.”
Florida State outrebounded Florida 35-30 thanks to a strong second half effort. The Gators had a 20-12 rebounding advantage at the half but the Seminoles had a stretch during the final 20 minutes of the game where they outrebounded UF 15-3. Freshour was instrumental in the effort getting three straight offensive rebounds on one possession that led to a foul and two made free throw for Williams, who finished the game with eight points.
“Mara really kept it alive and every time she got us that extra opportunity we were able to capitalize,” Semrau said. “Just a gutsy kid who comes in and does the dirty work. You won’t see it in the stats but I thought she played exceptional.”
Freshman Britany Miller had another solid outing with 12 points, a game-high eight rebounds and three blocks. Junior Alicia Gladden added 11 points and six rebounds. Senior Holly Johnson had nine points and a team-high five assists. FSU also got a lift off the bench from freshman Tanae Davis-Cain and sophomore Christie Lautsch, who had eight and seven points, respectively.
For Florida, Dalila Eshe led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds.
“I thought it was one heck of a ball game,” UF head coach Carolyn Peck said. “It was a seesaw of events. I thought the biggest deference was rebounding. We dominated in the first half and then there was swing in the second half. You have to compliment Britany Miller. I think she got four key offensive rebounds and then we made some turnovers on the other end.”
Florida State will host Western Carolina, a 2005 NCAA Tournament team, in the first round of the Seminole Classic Saturday at Noon. Wright State and Montana will follow with a 2 p.m. tilt.