CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Great defense by the Florida State women’s basketball team in the extra period plus key missed free throws by Miami proved to be the difference as the Seminoles prevailed 75-70 in overtime against the Hurricanes on Thursday (January 24) at the BankUnited Center.
The Seminoles won their third game in a row and fifth-straight over Miami to improve to 14-6 overall, 4-1 in the conference. Miami dropped 8-12, 1-4 in the ACC.
“We all felt like we had to get the job done,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “I’m really proud of this team and we feel very fortunate to get out of here with a win. We talked that we’ve been hearing that overtime is our time and we decided that we would be the ones that would take on that mantra. I thought every player on the team stepped up in that overtime period.”
In the overtime, the Seminoles grabbed the lead on a Mara Freshour (Nashville, Fla.) jumper at the 3:47 mark. Four missed free throws by the Hurricanes allowed FSU to grab a 71-68 advantage on a Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) three pointer. Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) got a basket on a three-on-one break to put FSU up 73-68. Miami scored to make it 73-70 and had a chance to tie but Florida State’s defense forced Miami into a shot-clock violation. Freshour canned two free to seal the victory.
In a return to her home area, forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Three more Seminoles reached double figures with Freshour scoring 14 while Davis-Cain and Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) added 10 each.
One of the best all-around games was turned in by freshman guard Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.). She scored nine points, dished out a career-high eight assists, nabbed four steals and four rebounds. Williams also had five assists and two steals. Monroe contributed four blocks shots.
The difference in the game was free throw shooting. The Seminoles hit 70.8 percent (17-of-24) to just 47.4 percent (9-of-19) by Miami, who was 2-of-6 in the overtime. FSU also held a 44.1 percent (26-of-59) to 39.7 percent (27-of-68) margin in shooting as well as 54.5 percent (6-of-11) to 35 percent (7-of-20) from behind the arc. The two teams tied with 41 rebounds with FSU getting 10 offensive boards in the second half and overtime.
“We have really locked in and said how important free throw shooting is to us being a better basketball team this year,” Semrau added. “You’ve got players like Shante and Jacinta who have really improved at the free throw line and when they get up you know they’re going to knock it down. What a big confidence boost that is.”
Neither team started the second half well offensively as there were only three baskets scored in the first four minutes of the stanza. Maurita Reid scored the Hurricanes’ first six points of the half to give UM its first lead, 37-36. Williams and Monroe hit a pair of free throws each to pull FSU to 40-41, but Hurricanes went on a 7-0 run to claim the game’s biggest lead at 48-40 at the 11:56 mark.
Florida State buckled down on the defensive end of the floor and stopped Miami for four and a half minutes to take the lead. Monroe scored the first six points of a 9-0 run then Harvin made her first basket of the game with her three-pointer putting FSU up 49-48 with 7:45 to play.
The game would see-saw back and fourth the rest of the way. A reverse lay-up by Harvin put FSU up 54-51, but Miami came back to grab a 55-54 advantage. Williams hit the first of two free throws to tie the game and a minute later Monroe hit two more to even the score at 59-59. Monroe hit a jumper on FSU’s next possession to regain the lead 61-59.
Reid nailed a three-pointer to Miami up 62-61 then Monroe hit the second of two tosses from the charity stripe to knot the game at 62. A lay-up by Carla Williams put Miami ahead 64-62. Off an in-bounds play to the side of the basket, Harvin took Ward’s pass and laid it in to tie the game at 64-64 with 46 seconds remaining. The Hurricanes scored on an in-bound pass of their own to reclaim the lead then Williams hit an acrobatic lay-up with eight seconds remaining to send it to overtime.
The Seminoles got off to a fast start, scoring five points within the first minute of the game, but they went cold for nearly five minutes as the Hurricanes went on a 9-0 run to take a 9-5 lead. Freshour’s second three pointer sparked another 5-0 FSU run with Monroe’s jumper giving the Seminoles a 10-9 lead. Miami answered with a pair to recapture the advantage.
The lead would change hands five times before the Seminoles took advantage of a two-minute Hurricane slump to go on a 6-0 run and take a 24-19 advantage at the 5:29 mark on a pair of Davis-Cain free throws. Miami battled back with a 5-0 run during a two-minute FSU dry spell to tie the game at 27-27 with 4:02 remaining in the half. A baseline jumper by Monroe and a pair of Ward free throws with 1:15 left staked Florida State to a 32-31 halftime lead.
Nearly two-third of Florida State’s first-half scoring came from three players. Freshour had eight points with Davis-Cain one back and Monroe at half a dozen. Monroe added four rebounds and four blocks. Ward and Williams handed out two assists each and Ward had a pair of steals.
The Seminoles played well on the defensive end of the floor, holding Miami to just 39.4 percent (13-of-33) shooting while hitting 48 percent (12-of-25) themselves. Both teams nailed a trio of three pointers with Florida State making three more free throws. Three FSU steals led to seven points off Miami turnovers and a 7-3 advantage in fast break points. Miami out-rebounded Florida State 21-17.
Florida State returns home to take on Virginia on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on 1270 AM and Seminoles.com.
For further information, visit: www.seminoles.com