Jan. 13, 2005
CLEMSON, S.C. – It came down to defense and rebounding and Florida State had them both as the Seminoles earned a 68-57 win over Clemson (7-7, 1-1 ACC) Thursday night to improve to 15-2 overall and 2-1 in ACC play. Senior Roneeka Hodges led FSU with game-highs of 24 points and nine rebounds.
“I’m so proud of our fight,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “This is a big, big win for us on the road. I thought Roneeka fought her guts out. We talked about having to play more possessions with a purpose and I thought they really did that when they came out in the second half. We let up in the first half and to come out in the second half with that kind of purpose was big. Some of us didn’t have our best game, but some people really stepped up to the plate and played a really good game.”
Despite leading by double digits early in the second half, Florida State trailed 49-48 with just under eight minutes left in the game. Led by Hodges, who had eight of her points down the stretch, the Seminoles outscored the Tigers 20-12 for the win. Junior Holly Johnson sealed the victory as she scored the Tribe’s final six points from the free throw line. She tied her career-high with 15 points and tied her season-high with six rebounds.
Alicia Gladden also tallied double figures with 10 points. FSU shot 58 percent in the second half and finished the with a 38-30 rebounding advantage.
“Defensively, that’s where we take our pride and in the second half we came out and didn’t let them reverse the basketball and rebounded extremely well not only on the defensive end of the floor but the offensive end of the floor,” Semrau said. “Once again, we held a team under 60 points and that’s our goal.”
It didn’t take long for the Seminoles to turn their 28-23 halftime lead into a double-digit advantage. Hodges scored the Tribe’s first four points of the second half but she soon got help from her teammates. Johnson hit a three and LaQuinta Neely, in her first game since San Juan, had a three-point play to put the Seminoles up 38-28 with 15:05 left in the game. FSU went up 40-29 when the Tigers went to work. Clemson’s 20-8 run over a seven-minute period gave the Tigers a 49-48 lead with 7:56 remaining – their first lead since the 16:43 mark of the first half.
The Seminoles controlled the first 15 minutes of the game but the Tigers finished the half strong. Florida State’s first three buckets of the game were from three-point range. The Tribe trailed 7-6 when Linnea Liljestrand hit the third trey to put the Seminoles up 9-7. That basket ignited a 13-0 Florida State run, while the Seminole defense held Clemson scoreless for nearly six minutes during that stretch. FSU led by as many as 13 points but scored just two points in the final 5:40 of the half. Clemson took advantage of the FSU drought and scored the final eight points of the half to pull within five points at the break. Hodges’ 10 points led all players. FSU had a 22-15 advantage on the boards.
D’Lesha Lloyd led Clemson with 13 points. The Tigers were impressive from the free throw line shooting 88 percent on 14-of-16.
The Seminoles will return to Tallahassee and start preparations for No. 15 Maryland. The Terps visit the Tucker Center Sunday, January 16th and the tip is set for 4 p.m.