GREENSBORO, N.C. – Led by senior guard Alexa Deluzio’s 19-point performance, the fourth-seeded Florida State women’s basketball team sped past fifth-seeded Miami, 70-58, on Friday in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The win propels the Seminoles into the Semifinals for the third time in school history. FSU will face No. 1 seed Duke on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The game will air live on RSN, which includes FS Carolinas, FS South, FS Florida, Sun Sports, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and NESN. ESPN3 will also stream the game and 1270 AM WNLS and Seminoles.com will carry the radio broadcast.
“I get excited for this team,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We all know the old adage that it’s tough to beat a team three times in a year, especially your in-state rival. Miami, they do such a great job with their program. We’re really proud of them representing our state here in the ACC and now in the NCAA tournament. I’m really proud of our fight. Pepper (Shawnice Wilson), she’s tough, she’s big, she’s hard to guard. I thought, even Cheetah (Delgado) at times went up high to rip rebounds. I was just extremely proud of our fight, our courage and looking forward to moving on.”
In addition to her 19 points, Deluzio added a career-best six steals and made three treys. She went 6-for-6 at the free throw line and hit a back-breaking three-pointer that put the Seminoles in front, 57-48, with 3:44 left.
Senior forward Chelsea Davis scored 15 points, while reserves Delgado and Chasity Clayton chipped in with 10 and 12 points, respectively, as FSU held a 22-5 edge on bench points.
Delgado also dished five assists and made three steals in a career-best 37 minutes, leading Florida State’s guard attack that dished 17 assists and committed a season-low eight turnovers.
Florida State forced Miami into 23 turnovers and held All-ACC First Team honoree Stefanie Yderstrom to just 3-of-12 shooting.
With 6:05 remaining and FSU clinging to a four-point lead, 48-44, Miami’s 6-6 center Wilson pulled down an offensive rebound and appeared in position for a score, but the 5-2 Delgado wrestled the ball free for a steal. Deluzio was fouled 10 seconds later and drilled the free throws to put the Noles back up by 6.
Later, Deluzio drilled her third three just under the four-minute mark and Delgado zipped a pass to the Orlando, Fla., sharpshooter for a layup that gave the Seminoles a comfortable 59-50 advantage with 3:14 left.
Florida State’s posts battled foul trouble most of the game with Davis and Natasha Howard both picking up four fouls, which forced Semrau to play with a small ball lineup for much of the game that consisted of guards Morgan Toles, Leonor Rodriguez, Deluzio and Delgado in the game with just one forward.
Clayton, a senior who was named ACC Sixth Player of the Year earlier this week, was an immediate spark off the bench when she checked into the game just after the 8:00 mark in the first half. She promptly swished a pair of elbow jumpers to give FSU a 24-21 lead.
Later in the half, Deluzio buried her second three from the corner at 2:35 and Clayton made a layup with 1:54 left before the break, as the Noles took a 33-23 lead into halftime despite FSU shooting just 38 percent from the floor and leading scorer Rodriguez being held without a field goal attempt in the first 20 minutes.
Miami, who lost to FSU for the third time this season, was led by Wilson, who scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Morgan Stroman who had a 12-12 double-double of her own.
Florida State has never been to the ACC Tournament Championship, but a win on Saturday will propel the Seminoles into Sunday’s 2 p.m. title game that will air live on ESPN2.
For more information on Florida State women's basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page.
Notes: This will mark FSU’s third appearance ever in the ACC Tournament Semifinals (2001, 2009)…At the 10:06 mark in the second half, Chasity Clayon became the 29th Seminole ever to score 1,000 points…She scored 10 points today…Clayton hadn’t scored since injuring her ankle at North Carolina on Jan. 31…Cheetah Delgado scored 12 points – her second double-figure scoring game of the season…Delgado’s three highest scoring games this season all came against Miami (she had 14 at Miami and nine in Tallahassee against the Hurricanes)…FSU improved to 18-0 when four players score in double figures this season.