Dec. 28, 2008
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Florida State women’s basketball team defeated LSU 61-57 Sunday in a nail-biting contest at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.
With the Seminoles (10-4) trailing 55-54 with 1:35 left in the game, sophomore point guard Courtney Ward drew a shooting foul and consequently drilled both of her free-throws to give the Seminoles a 56-55 lead. But LSU’s Katherin Graham answered on the other end with a short jumper to put the Tigers back on top 57-56 with just over a minute to play.
Not to be outdone, FSU senior captain Mara Freshour then connected on an off-balance shot to give the Seminoles a 58-57 advantage with 43 seconds left.
On LSU’s ensuing defensive possession, Ward again left her mark on the game’s waning moments as she forced a Tiger turnover before being fouled. The Montgomery, Ala. native then hit one of her two free-throw shots to extend FSU’s lead to 59-57 with 11 seconds left in regulation.
The FSU defense then did its job again as LSU leading scorer Allison Hightower’s running left-hander was off target. The Tigers grabbed the offensive rebound but couldn’t tie the game and junior forward Jacinta Monroe secured the defensive rebound before being fouled and making both free-throw shots that followed with only three seconds left.
“It’s never easy to score points against an LSU defense,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “You could see that out here in the first half when they threw a triangle and two defense at us. It was something we hadn’t seen yet and I think we adjusted in the second half. It was just some big plays being made in the end by these players to give us a big win.”
The win snapped FSU’s two-game skid on the season and ended LSU’s (5-4) 3-0 win-streak over the Seminoles in the two programs’ past three meetings.
For the game, Ward came off the bench for the Seminoles to score a team-high 12 points on 3-for-5 shooting – including 2-for-2 from 3-point range. She also added five assists and two steals.
Junior forward Alysha Harvin also added 10 points off the bench while helping the FSU reserves outscore the LSU reserves 27-24.
“The thing about Courtney and Alysha that’s so great is that they are fearless,” Semrau said. “Those kids are going to come out and either make something happen or something bad happen. But more and more as they are getting comfortable in the system this year it’s been on the good side.”
Ward and Harvin picked up the slack as Monroe – FSU’s leading scorer – was held to just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain added nine points on 3-for-7 shooting.
In total, the Seminole offense shot just 38.5-percent from the floor but was 46.7-percent from behind the 3-point line. Helping matters was the fact that FSU committed a season-low 12 turnovers.
The Seminoles won the rebounding battle 35-34 but were outscored in the paint, 30-14.
Hightower led the Tigers with a game-high 20 points.
The Seminoles had difficulty finding much of an offensive rhythm through much of the first half but never trailed by more than five points in the period. FSU took a 28-27 lead into halftime after going on a 10-4 run to close out the game’s first 20 minutes.
FSU will now return home to close out 2008 with a New Year’s Eve contest against Central Florida at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The game against the Knights is slated for a 2 p.m. tip-off.