December 21, 2008 - by
Florida State Fights Hard From Start to Finish but Falls to No. 1-Ranked UConn, 83-71

Dec. 21, 2008

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CANCUN, Mexico – Everybody associated with the Florida State women’s basketball team knew Sunday’s culmination to the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico would be a daunting task.

The Seminoles’ opponent, after all, was the country’s best team in No. 1 UConn. And in the end, FSU (9-4) got just what it expected from the undefeated Huskies (10-0) and fell to UConn by a score of 83-71.

But credit the Seminoles with never giving up and never looking back two days after being upset by Washington in the team’s second game in the Caribbean. The Huskies led by as many as 22 points but were never able to run away from the Seminoles in the contest.

The Huskies had outscored the other two schools participating in the Caribbean Classic, Northern Colorado and Washington, by a combined score of 194-91. And it looked like the Seminoles may be on the verge of suffering the same fate early as they fell into an early 13-0 hole before ultimately bouncing back.

“I just felt like early on it was just some unfortunate errors,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “I didn’t think anything was being forced on us. I just thought we were perhaps a little careless but just the fact that we continued to battle back. I thought it was a great battle the whole game. They are a great basketball team.”

Semrau’s pleasure with the fact that her team didn’t crumple despite falling behind early was echoed by FSU’s second half performance. Trailing 43-29 at halftime, the Seminoles outscored the Huskies 42-40 in the game’s final 20 minutes.

Tanae Davis-Cain led all Seminoles on the offensive end of the floor. The senior guard, who started the contest after coming off the bench the past eight-straight games, finished with a season-high 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field.

Included in those statistics was her stellar performance from behind the 3-point line as she drilled five of her nine attempts from long range. Davis-Cain also grabbed a season-high six rebounds and played a season-high 35 minutes.

“Coach Sue told me, `If you’ve got an open shot, take it,'” Davis-Cain said. “‘Just stroke it and don’t think about it.’ And that’s what I did. I just tried to get good shots and make the most of it.”

Helping Davis-Cain were junior forward Alysha Harvin and sophomore point guard Courtney Ward.

Harvin finished the game with 11 points, two rebounds and two assists while Ward had one of the best performances of her career. The Montgomery, Ala. native was 4-for-5 from the field – including a perfect 2-for-2 from 3-point land – en route to scoring a season-high 14 points off the bench while tying her season-high with six assists.

For the Huskies, Renee Montgomery knocked down seven 3-pointers – one shy of the school record – and posted 25 points. All-America candidate Maya Moore added 18 points and seven rebounds.

UConn won the rebounding battle 36-34 and scored 42 points in the paint – compared to just 16 by FSU. The Huskies also registered 12 fast-break points to the Seminoles’ four. FSU did, however, have the better bench performance as the Seminole reserves posted 27 points while UConn’s had 17.

Florida State will get a short break for the holidays as the players, coaches and support staff will all go their separate ways to spend time with their families.

The team will report back to Tallahassee, Fla. on Dec. 26 before leaving town once more the following day to travel to Baton Rouge, La. to face LSU on Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. ET.

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