CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – An eight-minute stretch in the second half with just five points turned a close game into a tough loss for the Florida State women’s basketball team. The Seminoles were down by a pair to Virginia at the 15:29 marking but over the next eight minutes the Cavaliers went on a 16-2 run to hand the Seminoles a 52-77 loss on Sunday (February 10) at John Paul Jones Arena.
Florida State was swept by Virginia for the first time in three years as the Seminoles dropped to 15-9 overall, 5-4 in the conference. Virginia held on to fourth place in the ACC as it improved to 18-7, 6-2 in the league.
Leading the team with 21 points was guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) at 21 as she went over the 20-point plateau for the second time in three contests. Nearly half of her points came on a career-high 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Joining her in double figures was guard Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) with 15 points. Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) was one point shy with nine markers.
Five different players grabbed four or more rebounds, led by Davis-Cain with seven. She also had a career-high four assists and a career-high tying four steals.
After a great first half of shooting, Florida State was cold from the field in the second half, shooting 20.7 percent, which allowed Virginia to have a 40.9 percent (27-of-66) to 34 percent (18-of-53) advantage. The Cavaliers also held a 41-to-39 margin on the boards. The two teams were nearly identical from the line with the Seminoles getting a slight advantage at 70.8 percent (17-of-24) to 69 percent (20-of-29).
Second-half turnovers by the Seminoles helped Virginia go on its run as Florida State committed 14 miscues in the final 20 minutes that Virginia converted to 15 points for a 24-to-15 margin in points off turnovers. The host also had a 44-to-14 margin for points in the paint, including 30-4 in the second half.
“I thought we did an excellent job of defending them in their half-court sets,” Freshour said. “We really locked down in the half court, but it was just transition, transition, transition that really took the wind out of our sails,”
Florida State got off to a start as it ran out to a 9-0 lead on a Williams’ jumper from just inside the three-point line. The Seminoles played strong defense, holding Virginia off the scoreboard for nearly the first three and half minutes. A seven-minute Florida State drought with only one basket allowed the Cavaliers to get back in the game. Virginia would get the margin to one (10-9) but Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) hit back-to-back jumpers to give the Seminoles a five-point advantage (14-9) with 9:30 remaining.
”We really executed our game plan,” Freshour said of the Seminoles’ fast start. “They got a few times in the transition. Our goal was to rebound and keep them out of their transition game. We had some great execution at the offensive end that helped go into the locker room on top. We just didn’t’ have that same execution at the start of the second half.”
The hosts went 9-0 run during a three-minute Florida State scoreless streak to claim a 23-18 lead. The run was fueled by six Virginia free throws. Davis-Cain knocked down three free throws to stop the drought and get FSU back to within two (23-21). Virginia opened a 28-23 advantage with 2:30 remaining, but Florida State got the defense stops it needed to take the lead back. Freshour virtually brought the Seminoles back herself, hitting two free throws, a three pointer and a jumper at the buzzer that gave FSU a 32-31 advantage going into the break.
Thanks to its defense, Florida State held a 50 percent (12-of-24) to 29 percent (9-of-31) advantage in shooting. Both teams hit a pair of three pointers with Virginia neutralizing FSU’s shooting advantage by hitting more free throws (11) than the Seminoles took (nine).
The Cavaliers had a 20-17 advantage on the boards with all 17 of Florida State’s coming on the defensive glass. Florida State committed 14 turnovers, but also had seven steals for an 11-9 advantage in points off turnovers. UVA had a 14-10 margin in points in the paint.
Leading all scorers in the first half with 12 points was Davis-Cain with Freshour just a point back as they accounted for 72 percent of FSU’s first-half scoring. All but two players grabbed at least one rebound with Williams snagging three. Davis-Cain had a trio of assists and steals.
“It’s always a downer for the opposing team when the other hits a big shot right before half time,” Freshour noted. “That was really good for us to take some momentum into the locker room. Unfortunately, we just didn’t come out of the locker room with that same momentum.”
Just like in the first meeting of the year, Virginia got off to a hot start in the second half as it went on a 7-0 stretch to take a 38-32 lead. The Seminoles would get the margin back to two (42-40) on a Freshour jumper at the 15:29 mark, but Virginia would push the lead back to six for the next three minutes and extend it to double digits for the first time at 54-44 with just over 10 minutes remaining. The Cavaliers would push their lead to as many as 21 with the Seminoles getting it down to 14.
Florida State is off for a week until it travels to No. 3 North Carolina for a 2 p.m. tip on Sunday (Feb. 17). The game can be heard on 1270 AM and Seminoles.com as well as see on Fox Sports Net.
courtesy of Seminoles.com