FSU beats Wake Forest in ACC Tourney opener

Seminoles advance to face No. 4 seed NC State on Friday.

Mara Freshour is developing into a complete point guard for Florida State, and her ability to score is part of the equation.

Freshour delivered a career-high 18 points on 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point range, keying the fifth-seeded Seminoles to a 70-53 win over 12th-seeded Wake Forest in Thursday's opening game of the 30th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Tournament.

With the first-round victory, FSU (22-8) advances to Friday's 11 a.m. quarterfinal game against fourth-seeded N.C. State. Wake Forest ended its season with a 9-20 record.

In addition to her hot shooting hand, the 6-foot-1 Freshour tied another career high with six assists. The Nashville, Ind., sophomore committed just three turnovers in 35 minutes.

"I don't think it's any coincidence that Mara is from Indiana," FSU coach Sue Semrau said. "Indiana basketball is very fundamental, very team oriented, and she brings just that to our team day-in and day-out."

Jacinta Monroe, a 6-foot-4 freshman, complemented Freshour's scoring effort with 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to key FSU to a 42-25 edge on the boards.

Tanae Davis-Cain added 12 points, including a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer that left the Seminoles leading 39-26 at the break. Britany Miller, who scored a career-high 29 points against Wake Forest in last Sunday's regular-season finale, chipped in 10.

"I was really pleased with our offensive balance on the offensive end of the floor and our sharing of the basketball," Semrau said.

Wake Forest, with seven freshmen and sophomores among its eight-player rotation, saw FSU race to a 25-11 lead before the game was 10 minutes old.

"One of our biggest goals was to push it out on them and get to running in transition," Freshour said. "Obviously, when your transition game is going well it just brings a lot more fire."

Alex Tchangoue's 13 points led Wake Forest, and Mekia Valentine scored 10. Yolanda Lavender added 11 but struggle through a 3-of-19 shooting day from the floor. The Demon Deacons finished the day shooting 32 percent as a team.

"That game was very similiar to a lot of games we've played," said Wake coach Mike Petersen, whose team finished 0-14 in ACC play during the regular season. "I thought our effort was good, and our execution was all right. We only turned it over 10 times.

"We just don't make enough shots. That's a pretty important thing to do in this sport -- to make shots."

Petersen pointed specifically to a three-minute stretch at the outset of the second half, when FSU failed to score but maintained a double-digit lead.

"We had really good looks at that point, and the ball didn't go in the basket," Petersen said. "It's been my exprience that when a team starts making baskets, everyone feeds off that. And, unfortunately, if a team starts missing some baskets everyone kind of feeds off that, too."

Friday's quarterfinal game between FSU and N.C. State will feature two of three teams that finished tied for third place in ACC regular-season standings with 10-4 league records. The Wolfpack got the higher seed (and Thursday's first-round bye) by virtue of a 68-51 win over the Seminoles during the regular season.

Semrau said FSU hopes to have junior guard Shante Willaims available for Frirday's game. Williams missed the past two games due to a torn hip flexor.

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