TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With Thanksgiving just two days away, the No. 20 Florida State women’s basketball team was looking for a feast before the holiday. Mara Freshour went over 20 points for the first time in her career as the Seminoles cruised to a 77-42 victory over Fordham on Tuesday (November 20) at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Florida State won its second game in a row to improve to 4-1 while staying undefeated against the Rams. Fordham dropped to 0-4.
“I thought our effort was much better, I thought we got to be a better basketball team today,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We still have a long ways to go and a lot to work on. I have to point out Mara Freshour and the way she stepped up. She played the four spot for us today; she’s never played that up until this year. For her to be able to come out and play her game at another position was fantastic.”
Reaching double figures for the third game in a row was Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) as she poured in a career-high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three point range. Guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) added 16 points and forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) contributed 15 in just 20 minutes of play.
Pulling in a game-high nine rebounds, scoring seven points and nabbing three steals was forward Cayla Moore (Albany, Ga.). Monroe added seven boards and had two blocks. Guard Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) dished out six assist and Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) added three helpers.
The Seminoles nearly doubled the Rams in the shooting department, hitting 53.8 percent (28-of-52) to the visitor’s 27.1 percent (16-of-59). Florida State hit a season-high nine three-pointers and had a 41-to-26 rebounding advantage. The Seminoles scored 24 points off 17 Fordham turnovers and held a 30-to-14 margin for points in the paint.
After a strong start to the game, the Seminoles went more than four minutes without a point as Fordham took a 6-5 lead at the 14:27 mark. That would be the last time the Rams would have the lead in the entire game as Florida State found its offensive rhythm. A jumper by Moore at the 10:50 mark ignited a 14-3 run that mostly came from a pair of three pointers from Freshour and Davis-Cain.
The lead would grow to 15 on two occasions thanks to a pair of layups by Monroe before the Seminoles would put a defensive stranglehold on the Rams that would put the game out of reach. A jumper at the 2:19 mark was Fordham’s last points of the half as FSU rattled of seven-straight points – including a layup by Christian Hunnicutt (Jonesboro, Ga.) with three seconds left – to end the period with a 40-20 advantage.
While both teams turned the ball over eight times, but Florida State did a better job of taking advantage of Fordham miscues to the tune of a 15-3 advantage in points off turnovers. The Seminoles were also better from behind the arch with five more three-pointers (6-to-1) and shot better from the field - 57.1 percent (16-of-28) to 25.0 percent (8-of-32).
Freshour nearly outscored Fordham by herself with 18 points while Davis-Cain tossed in 10. Tying for the lead in rebounds at three were 6-foot-4 Monroe and 5-foot-7 Williams. Williams and Moore had a pair of steals.
The second half was much of the same with Florida State putting the clamps on the Rams. Fordham did not score for the first 5:23 of the second stanza and that allowed the Seminoles to push the lead to 29 (49-20) on a Monroe free throw. The margin got above 30 (70-39) on a three-pointer from Davis-Cain at the 2:13 mark.
The crowed of 2,785 fans was mostly made up of local elementary and middle school children who were brought in for the game.
“I loved the atmosphere of today’s game,” Semrau said. “I thought that in my career at Florida State it was the kind of atmosphere that makes you feel proud to be a part of a community of people that want to give and we want to give back to them. I thought we got a lot of energy from them and was something we really needed.”
Florida State returns to the court after the holiday as it takes on in-state rival Florida at 5:30 p.m. on Friday (November 23) in Gainesville. The game can be heard live on 1270 AM and at www.semioles.com. It will also be broadcast by Sun Sports.