March 20, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla – Seminole junior Tasheika Morris scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Florida State women’s basketball team to a convincing 77-51 win over Florida International in first round WNIT action, Thursday night at the Leon County Civic Center. FSU, now 17-12, advances to second round play and will travel to Auburn, Alabama to face the Tigers on Sunday, March 23rd at 2 p.m. (Eastern). FIU ends its season 19-11.
“I am very proud of this team,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We’ve been practicing now since the ACC Tournament and it’s been 12 days since we play. I felt like they took that time to practice seriously to become a better basketball team and I thought we were a better basketball team than we’ve been in the last couple of months. I appreciate that we have the opportunity to play into March. We played a very good Florida International team tonight and I am very pleased with our effort and the win.”
Tasheika Morris scored nine of FSU’s first 13 points, including a three-pointer that gave the Seminoles the lead for good early on. Florida State was trailing 7-5 when the Seminoles, sparked by Morris’ three-pointer, went on a 14-2 run to go up 10. Morris reached double figures within the first six minutes of the game. The only negative in the first eight minutes of the game was the foul situation. The Seminoles had seven fouls by the 12:24 mark while the Golden Panthers had been called for just one. Despite the foul situation, the Seminoles maintained a lead of five or more points the rest of the half. Morris was the story for Florida State in the first half as she scored a game-high 17 points. Eight other Seminoles scored two points a piece. As a team, FSU shot 42 percent and had a 21-18 rebounding advantage. FIU shot 32 percent for the half and was led by Cormisha Cotton’s nine points.
The Seminoles struggled offensively in the first five minutes of the second half, scoring just four points, during which time Florida International closed in to within three points. The Golden Panthers pulled to within a bucket twice over the next three minutes and then the Seminoles went to work. Leading 39-37 at the 12:58 mark, the Seminoles broke loose and ran off 16 of the games next 18 points, including a stretch of nine straight points, to take a commanding 15 point-lead with just under seven minutes to play. FIU scored the next basket to pull within 13 when Florida State exploded again to score 11 of the next 13 points and the Tribe led by 24 points with 3:45 left. The Golden Panthers ran off five to cut the Seminole lead to 19, but Florida State’s youngsters, freshmen Hannah Linquist, Francine Houston and Genesis Choice scored the game’s final seven points for the 26-point victory. Morris scored seven of her nine second half points in the final 6:46 of the game.
Florida State shot an impressive 50 percent in the second half to go 46 percent for the game. Led by LaQuinta Neely’s game-high 10 rebounds, which tied her career-high, the Seminoles had a 47-36 advantage in rebounding. Led by Ivelina Vrancheva’s 14 points, three Golden Panthers recorded double figures.