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FSU Women in NCAA Sweet 16

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
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(AP) -- Stanford had the pedigree, the experience and the home court.

None of that mattered to Florida State.

"We saw on ESPN, from point one they knew Stanford was coming out (of this bracket)," Tanae Davis-Cain said. "But as underdogs, we don't care about TV. We play hard for ourselves. Once we saw the brackets come out, we knew we'd get Stanford. This was payback."

Stanford got shocked right out of the NCAA tournament on its home floor again.

Alicia Gladden scored the final seven points of an 11-0 run that frustrated the Cardinal and sent Florida State to the first second-round win in school history, 68-61 on Monday night.

After Candice Wiggins' 3-pointer gave Stanford a 50-49 lead with 8:40 left, the 10th-seeded Seminoles (24-9) took charge to avenge an 18-point loss in the same round last March.

And Sue Semrau's in-your-face squad featuring one senior -- Gladden -- gets to play out West in the Fresno Regional later this week.

"Ten years ago, this program was 0-16 in our conference," Semrau said. "It took a lot of players to come and believe that this could be a good basketball school, and not just a football school. These are three of them right here (Williams, Gladden, Freshour). It was fun to see them succeed tonight. These players all have a lot of courage."

Shante Williams scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, Mara Freshour had 15 and Gladden added 12 points, six rebounds and four steals, scoring the first of her seven consecutive points with 6:46 left. Second-seeded Stanford (29-5) never recovered, making an early exit in Maples Pavilion just the way the Cardinal did four years ago against Minnesota in a heartbreaking defeat that kept them from playing on campus the next week in the regionals.

This time, they were hoping to make the short three-hour drive to Fresno for the next round.

"Florida State just had us from the get go," coach Tara VanDerveer said. "They made a lot of big shots while we struggled. They broke us down off the dribble. They are very physical. ... We seemed to play the whole game extremely tight, and didn't have good shot selection. We're just really, really disappointed."

VanDerveer sat outside the locker room stone-faced staring at the boxscore, seemingly unable to believe what she was reading.

Florida State beat a top-25 team for the first time in six tries this season -- eliminating another storied program after taking out Old Dominion in its opener.

"I don't think it was nerves or anything that got to us," Wiggins said. "They just kept making the shots, and we didn't get it done."

Wiggins had 19 points, five assists and five rebounds for the seven-time defending Pac-10 champions, Jayne Appel added 14 points and eight rebounds before fouling out, but Stanford shot 4-for-18 from 3-point range to fall short in a season when expectations were to reach the school's first Final Four since 1997.

Cissy Pierce was a cold 1-for-8, and 0-for-4 on 3s, after scoring 14 during a first-round win over Idaho State and Brooke Smith was held to 12 points and eight rebounds in her final college game after scoring a season-high 29 in Saturday's win.

Stanford's fans began their exit before the final buzzer sounded.

Wiggins held a bawling Smith in a long embrace by the baseline, then Florida State's players shed tears of joy when they came together at midcourt and waved to their fans.

"We had such high expectations for ourselves," freshman Melanie Murphy said. "We thought we were going to the Final Four. Losing tonight is such a big disappointment."

Florida State overcame foul trouble by all of its key players.

The Seminoles went more than six minutes without a field goal in the first half and had three starters in foul trouble at the break.

Stanford, which had lost just once since back-to-back defeats in late November, had its 10-game winning streak snapped.

Florida State scrapped and came at the Cardinal from all directions.

"We knew from the beginning what we had to do: We had to contest every shot they put up," said Florida State center Britany Miller, who videotaped her dancing teammates afterward. "Coming into this game we knew we had nothing to lose. We treated this as a regular-season game where you have to go into somebody else's home court and win."

Wiggins followed two free throws by swishing a long 3-pointer that cut Florida State's lead to 46-45 with 10:38 to play, then she jumped and down waving her arms to get the crowd into it when the Seminoles used a timeout.

Williams and Appel traded three straight baskets each during one second-half stretch, but the Seminoles made all the crucial plays and key shots down the stretch.

The Seminoles graduated five players from the team that lost 88-70 to Stanford during the 2006 second round in Denver, and they were determined to have a different ending this time. Florida State will face LSU on Saturday. The Lady Tigers probably expected another date with Stanford after beating the Cardinal 62-59 last year to reach the Final Four.


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