DES MOINES, IOWA - One of the knocks on the Florida State women's basketball team coming into the NCAA Tournament was that it didn't have a victory over an NCAA Tournament team. Well now the Seminoles do. Eleventh-seeded Florida State ran out to an early lead and never looked back as FSU beat the No. 6 seed and 25th-ranked Ohio State 60-49 on Saturday (March 22).
The Seminoles - the lowest seed on the field to win so far - stayed undefeated in the first round of the tournament under head coach Sue Semrau, winning their fifth in a row during her 11-year tenure, and improved to 19-13 on the year. Ohio State finished its season at 22-9 The Seminoles will take on the No. 3 seed in the New Orleans Regional, Oklahoma State, on Monday (March 24) at 6 p.m. (CST). The game can be seen on ESPN2.
"I am really proud of our team," Semrau said. "I think we really played a strong defensive game. Tanae (Davis-Cain) made plays on both ends of the floor all the time. To only give up eight offensive rebounds is a huge step for us. Our players did a really great job taking advantage of our strengths."
Just missing her career-high with 27 points - with nearly half of FSU's total - was guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) to lead all players. Her 27 points is one off the FSU NCAA Tournament scoring record, trailing All-American Roneeka Hodges' 28 points at Connecticut in 2005. Davis-Cain tied a career-high by hitting six three-pointers.
Recording her second career double-double was junior Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Freshour was one of four players to grab six or more rebounds as the Seminoles' out-rebounded Ohio State 49-35, including 19 offensive rebounds. Forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) had nine boards while Davis-Cain added seven and Angel Gray (Stone Mountain, Ga.) had a career-high six.
Guard Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) had a solid all-around game, scoring five points, grabbing four boards, dishing out six assists and grabbing four steals. Freshour also had three steals and three assists. The Seminoles' defense was stupendous, holding the number five shooting team in the country to just 35.1 percent (20-of-57) from the floor. Florida State shot just 32.8 percent (22-of-67) but was sharp from behind the arc, hitting 56.3 percent (9-of-16).
We came in with the mindset that we were going to upset them and show that we belonged in the tournament. "It was just a mindset from warm-ups. "Basically we just locked in our personnel. We just had to keep Ohio State off the boards. It was a big team effort."
Florida State came out a house of fire at the offensive end of the court. The Seminoles scored the first seven points of the game before Ohio State got on the scoreboard. A steal and a lay-up by Davis-Cain staked the Seminoles to a 16-4 at the 14:48 mark. A two-minute FSU drought allowed Ohio State to get back into the game as the Buckeyes pulled to within seven, 16-20, but Monroe snapped the slide with a jumper at the 12:26 mark.
Both teams tightened up on defense with only two baskets a piece over the next four minutes following the Monroe jumper. After a Harvin a free throw with 7:43 left, the Seminoles went cold and did not score for another 3:35 minutes. During that span, Ohio State went on a 6-0 run to pull within 24-20 which was the closest it would get the rest of the game. FSU held Ohio State to just one more basket the rest of the half and Davis-Cain nailed a three with 18 seconds left in the half to send FSU to the locker room up 30-22.
Leading all scorers for the first 20 minutes was Davis-Cain with 12 points while Freshour was close behind at eight. She and Monroe grabbed a team-best four rebounds. Williams was one of three players to hand out a pair of assists and had four steals.
Neither team shot well from the field with Florida State holding the 36.7 percent (11-of-30) to 30.8 percent (8-of-26) edge. FSU was also slightly sharper from behind the arc, nailing 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) to the Buckeyes' 3-of-7 (42.9 percent). The Seminoles out-rebounded Ohio State 21-17 and had a 10-4 advantage in points in the paint. Each team got seven points off turnovers with FSU forcing 11 OSU miscues while committing nine.
Coming out of the locker room Davis-Cain was the go to player for the Seminoles as she scored seven of Florida State's first nine points. Her three pointer at the 17:55 mark put FSU up 37-24. Davis-Cain continued to shoot lights out from the perimeter as her sixth three-ball put Florida State up 48-30 at the 12:08 mark. The lead blossomed to 20, 53-33, for the first time when Freshour nailed FSU's fifth three-pointer of the game with 9:23 remaining.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles would not find the bottom of the basket for over five minutes. During that drought, Ohio State went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 53-44. A Williams' free throw at the 4:17 mark stopped Florida State's dry spell. The senior came back with a jumper to get the margin back to 12, 56-44, with 3:38 remaining and Ohio State would not threaten the rest of the way.
Monday's meeting will be just the second between Florida State and Oklahoma State. The Seminoles won the lone meeting, 72-52, on January 3, 1983, at the Hurricane New Year's Classic.
FSU Women defeat OSU, 60-49
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