Dec. 30, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The Florida State women’s basketball team applied the pressure on Friday night at UCF Arena, and the Knights couldn’t handle it.
The Seminoles opened the contest in a full-court man-to-man defensive set and raced out to an 11-1 lead en route to a 60-47 victory over UCF in their final non-conference game of the 2011-12 season.
Florida State begins ACC play on Monday when it hosts No. 5 Maryland at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles improved to 8-6 on the season, while the Knights dropped to 5-7.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game, but I thought we came out and stuck to our gameplan,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We made them shoot hard shots, but we could’ve rebounded better. Natasha (Howard) was great tonight. She gives us a consistent double-double. I can’t say enough about her and her effort.”
Howard, a sophomore forward, led the Garnet and Gold effort with her fifth double-double of the season (18 points and 10 rebounds), while junior guard Leo Rodriguez tied her career high with 11 points.
“Leo has been a constant for us,” Semrau said. “She had seven assists on Wednesday and then came out tonight and hit some buckets for us. She continues to improve.”
Behind its stifling pressure, Florida State held the Knights to just 15 points and 15.6 percent (5-of-32) shooting in the first half.
It took UCF over six minutes and 10 attempts to make a field goal. Reserve forward Sarah Green’s putback ended the drought for the host Knights and made the score 11-3 with 13:46 remaining in the first half.
Howard’s full-court-pressure-induced steal and finger-roll layup made the score 22-7 12 minutes into the game. Her 18-foot jumper moments later extended FSU’s lead to 24-7 and gave FSU 10 consecutive points.
Altogether the Seminoles would score 14 consecutive points while holding the Knights scoreless for 7-and-a-half minutes during the first half. After Andrea Hines’ jumper at the 12:24 mark in the first half, UCF didn’t score a point until Aisha Patrick’s layup with 4:54 remaining before the break.
The Seminoles continued to stifle the UCF offense at the start of the second half, holding the Knights without a field goal for the first five minutes after halftime and to just one made basket in their first 10 tries of the final frame. The Knights’ first bucket following the break came on a jumper by Ashia Kelly with 14:45 remaining in the contest and made the score 34-20.
Rodriguez’s second trey of the game extended the FSU lead to 37-20 with 13:40 remaining in the contest.
The Knights made a late run and cut FSU’s lead to 10 points when Andrea Hines hit a three-pointer with 1:33 remaining in the game, but UCF didn’t make another field goal until Hines hit a shot with 27 seconds left and the Seminoles leading 57-44.
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