March 26, 2013
WACO, Texas — Florida State knew it was in for the challenge of all challenges in Tuesday night’s second-round NCAA Tournament game and Brittney Griner and defending national champion Baylor lived up to the hype in the Seminoles’ season-ending 85-47 loss.
And while the No. 1-seeded Bears (34-1) were “as advertised” in their 32nd consecutive victory this season and 57th consecutive triumph on their home floor at the Ferrell Center, the No. 8-seed Seminoles (23-10) deserve credit of their own.
“Fight” was the team’s buzzword throughout the season and FSU did just that in its last contest of the year despite Griner’s larger-than-life play (the 6-foot-8 center dunked three times in her final home game) and the presence of a sold out crowd intent on loudly sending her out in style.
“We don’t play for personal acheivement,” FSU senior guard Alexa Deluzio said. “We play for each other so you can’t really stop fighting if that’s what you’re fighting for.”
Griner finished the game with 33 points, 22 rebounds and four assists before checking out for good with 6:06 left. Brooklyn Pope added 12 points, Odyssey Sims had 11 and Kimetria Hayden scored 10.
Florida State did force Baylor into committing 19 turnovers but couldn’t find the shooting touch on the opposite end. The ‘Noles were 18-of-26 from the field (26 percent) and 27 percent from 3-point range and Baylor was able to shoot 56 percent from the field and 44 percent from long distance.
The Bears also won the rebounding battle, 56-25, and scored 64 of their 85 points in the paint.
“I thought we got great looks, we just didn’t knock them down,” FSU coach Sue Semrau said. “And I thought that because we are an offensive-oriented team that we struggled mentally and maybe a little bit emotionally with our lack of production offensively and it played into our transition defense.”
Deluzio finished her five-year playing in all 131 games and as the fourth leading scorer in program history after scoring nine points against the Bears. She also finished third in career 3-pointers, fifth and third, respectively, in 3-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage and in the top 20 in career assists.
Rodriguez capped off the best season of her career in the top 10 in both 3-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage as she scored a team-high 11 points in the game, including three 3-pointers. Like Deluzio, Clayton also played five seasons for the ‘Noles and finished with four points against the Bears.
Toles played just 41 games for Florida State after transferring from Auburn but helped solidy the Seminoles’ point guard position and lead their balanced offensive attack into the post-season this year.
Davis added five points and three rebounds and junior forward Yashira Delgado scored six points and had two steals. Deluzio and Rodriguez also had three steals on the defensive end.
Baylor never trailed in the game after building an early 11-0 lead.
The contest was watched by former United States President George W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who met with and spoke with the Seminoles in the locker room before the game started.