Charlottesville, VA - There may be no place like home, but the Florida State women’s basketball program sure is comfortable on the road when it comes to conference play.
Even when the host refuses to go away.
The 14th-ranked Seminoles (19-5, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) survived a furious Virginia rally and extended their league road-record to a perfect 5-0 this year with a 78-74 win in Charlottesville, Va. Monday night.
FSU is now a remarkable 17-2 on the road in ACC ballgames the last two-and-a-half seasons.
Getting to that impressive mark meant weathering the storm of a Cavaliers (13-12, 2-7) squad that wasn’t deterred by a second-half 17-point Seminoles’ lead. In the waning moments, FSU needed two Cierra Bravard free throws with just three seconds left to preserve the win.
“This was an exciting game,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said with a laugh afterwards. “We had to hold them off. Cierra did such a great job of dealing with the pressure and hitting her free throws. You have to credit Virginia. They could have thrown in the towel.”
In addition to those game-saving free throws, Bravard did it all for the ’Noles. The Sandusky, Ohio native finished the night with 22 points and nine rebounds. She was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Redshirt sophomore guard Alexa Deluzio registered 15 points, two rebounds and two assists despite fouling out with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Senior guard Courtney Ward added 13 points, four assists and three rebounds while fellow senior guard Christian Hunnicutt had nine points, five assists and eight rebounds.
Sophomore forward Chelsea Davis followed up her career-high 18-point performance in the Seminoles’ win over Virginia earlier this season with eight points Monday night.
FSU dominated UVa in the paint, 40-22, and had 32 rebounds compared to 31 by the Cavs. The Seminoles also shot 91 percent from the free-throw line and 50 percent from the field.
The Seminoles led by 12 late in the first period before Virginia closed the gap to 39-32 at the halftime buzzer.
The ’Noles then answered in the second half by generating their big double-digit lead. But the Cavaliers clawed back to within seven with 3:30 remaining in the game before Bravard went to the free-throw line and drained two shots.
Virginia then quickly scored on the other end to make it a 71-64 game. Once again, Bravard had an answer with 2:43 left when her jumper found pay-dirt. Following back-to-back defensive stops by both squads, the Cavs hit a 3-pointer to cut the score to 73-67 with 1:46 on the clock.
An Olivia Bresnahan free throw was then followed by yet another Virginia triple and FSU found itself with just a 74-70 advantage with 1:22 left. UVa hit a basket to make it 74-72 before a clutch Natasha Howard make with 15 seconds left.
Up 76-72, the Seminoles then allowed a Cavaliers bucket before Bravard was fouled and made her free throws with just a few ticks left.
Florida State now welcomes Georgia Tech to the Donald L. Tucker Center for a 7 p.m. game this Friday. For the first time ever, FSU will wear all-pink uniforms as the program helps raise awareness for breast cancer prevention.
“Tallahassee has always done a great job of coming out and helping support this cause,” Semrau said. “We look forward to seeing everyone Friday night as they help us take on the Yellow Jackets.”