SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. – Senior Leonor Rodriguez (16 points) led five Seminoles in double figures as Florida State improved to 5-0 with a 73-59 victory over No. 17/19 Vanderbilt (3-3) on Saturday at Mario Morales Coliseum on the second day of the San Juan Shootout.
The Seminoles have won five straight games for the first time since beating Florida, Stetson, Missouri, Virginia Tech and Virginia from Dec. 28, 2010 to Jan. 9, 2011. FSU also remains undefeated (5-0) in the San Jan Shootout all-time.
“We talked about integrity in our pregame tonight,” head coach Sue Semrau said. “What integrity means is you are who you say you are. This was a test for us today to find who we are. Are we a team that fights? Are we a team that does the little things? Do we value team over self? In every category, we did all of those things tonight.”
Joining Rodriguez in double figures were junior forward Natasha Howard (15 points), senior guard Alexa Deluzio (14), senior forward Chasity Clayton (13) and senior post Chelsea Davis (10).
Junior guard Cheetah Delgado, a second generation Puerto Rican, dished a career-best nine assists and made four steals in front of a group of family members and friends. Davis added three blocks, while Clayton pulled down seven rebounds.
Rodriguez followed up her perfect 8-of-8 performance against EKU on Friday with another stellar game, making 4-of-7 shots and sinking two treys. She drilled all six of her free throw attempts, including four in the final 50 seconds to ice the game.
“You can look at her scoring, and it’s great,” Semrau said. “But her intangibles are where she really shines – the way she thinks the game and puts people into position. She’s great on the defensive end, too. Leo has been our MVP so far this season.”
Vanderbilt was led by junior point guard Jasmine Lister, who scored 16 points and made 3-of-4 from three-point range. Vanderbilt forward Tiffany Clarke came into the San Juan event averaging 17.3 ppg, but the Seminoles held her to just two points and she didn’t make a field goal. The Commodores’ star shooting guard, Christina Foggie, went down with a turned ankle midway through the first half.
The Seminoles trailed 17-16 eight minutes into the game, but a layup by Davis sparked seven consecutive points for FSU, as Rodriguez hit a jumper, Deluzio made a free throw and Clayton connected on a bucket from the block
A three-pointer by Rodriguez from the corner capped another quick 7-0 spurt by the Seminoles and gave them a 12-point lead, 36-24, with two minutes remaining in the first half.
FSU went to the locker room with a 10-point advantage and extended it to 12 points on a layup by Clayton nine seconds into the second half.
Vanderbilt kept clawing back, however. A three-pointer by Elan Brown cut the Noles’ lead to just 4, 43-38, with 15:36 remaining in the game.
FSU answered right back.
Delgado found Howard for a layup and then stole the ball from Kady Schrann and dished another pass to Deluzio for a transition layup to put the Seminoles back up by 8 with 15 minutes to go.
A putback layup by Deluzio with 9:46 left gave the Noles a 10-point lead, 57-47.
Davis answered another run by Vanderbilt with a block of Lister at the 5:36 mark in the final frame and scored from the block to put FSU ahead 65-55 with five minutes remaining. Howard added a block of her own on Vanderbilt’s next possession, and Clayton split a pair of free throws to bring FSU’s lead up to 11 with four minutes left.
Rodriguez iced the game with four free throws in the final 50 seconds.
The Noles shot 50 percent from the floor (25-50) and held Vanderbilt to just 29.5 percent (18-61), while also holding a 42-33 edge on the glass.
Florida State returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Iowa at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup.
For more information on Florida State women's basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page.
Notes: After going 8-for-8 from the field against EKU on Friday, Rodriguez made her first shot attempt against Vanderbilt…Dating back to her miss at the end of the Stetson game last Sunday and going until the 10:04 mark in the first half versus the Commodores, Rodriguez went 51 minutes and 11 seconds of game time without a missed a shot, making nine in a row…Howard reached double figures for the ninth consecutive game…Rodriguez scored 10 or more points for the fifth straight game…Delgado’s nine dimes were a career high.