RALEIGH, NC – Early on Sunday, it looked as though Florida State was going to run away with a win at NC State.
But with a pink-clad crowd full of enthusiasm as it celebrated the program’s Hoops for Hope initiative, the Wolfpack (9-12, 1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) proved to be a tough put-out in FSU’s 76-69 win at Reynolds Coliseum.
“We are pleased after this one,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “This was a team win. It was a hard-fought game.”
The Seminoles (18-4, 6-1) held NC State without a field goal for over four minutes to start the game and built a double-digit lead in the opening half. But the pesky ’Pack battled back and FSU had a 40-33 lead at intermission.
NC State then came out just as energized as its crowd and eventually took the lead a few minutes into the second period.
With just 1:50 left to play in the game after both squads traded baskets for the duration of the final half, FSU found itself on top 69-66 before NC State star player Bonae Holston went to the free-throw line. After Holston made one of her two from the charity stripe, junior forward Cierra Bravard hit a shot to make it 71-67.
Bravard, who had four fouls at the time, then grabbed a rebound on the opposite end and sank two free throws with just 49 seconds left to put Florida State up 73-67 and the Seminoles made enough free throws and played stout enough defense at the end to hang on.
Redshirt sophomore forward Chasity Clayton led the way off the bench with 16 points while adding two rebounds and a steal.
“The thing that most people don’t know about here is that she brings such energy to us,” Semrau said. “We needed that today.”
While Bravard finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, freshman forward Natasha Howard achieved the third double-double of her career with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Christian Hunnicutt had her first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. More importantly, she helped hold the NC State guard Marissa Kastanek to six points.
FSU shot 42 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle 50-45.
“The reason we won this game was because of our rebounding in the second half,” Semrau said.
With the win, FSU is now 4-0 on the road in the ACC this year.
Florida State now returns home to the Donald L. Tucker Center for a big-time matchup against North Carolina. The Seminoles and Tar Heels will tussle on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in a game that will air live on Fox Sports South.
The athletics department will be offering a free youth ticket with the purchase of any adult ticket for Wednesday’s game.
“We need the fans to come out and be our sixth man against UNC,” Semrau said.