Nov. 13, 2013
CINCINNATI, Ohio (seminoles.com) - A fine shooting display by redshirt sophomore Morgan Jones ignited a Seminole surge as the Florida State women's basketball team hung on to defeat Cincinnati, 63-58, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
With the Seminoles (2-0) needing a spark midway through the first half, Jones began to take over as she finished with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting. The Lake Mary, Fla., native used an array of pull jumpers late in the first half and early in the second half to help FSU create a sizeable advantage that it needed badly in order to pull out the five-point win in the end.
The victory gives Florida State a 2-0 record for the seventh consecutive season. The `Noles have now won seven of their last nine road-openers and improve to 13-8 all-time against Cincinnati.
Holding a 22-point lead with 13:13 left in the game, Cincinnati stormed back and cut its deficit to 57-48 on a three-pointer with 3:35 left in the contest. A layup by Jeanise Randolph with 2:34 left cut it to 57-52, as Cincinnati used a 26-11 run over the previous 12-minute span to put the `Noles in danger.
Four consecutive free throws down the stretch helped ice the game for FSU, as Jones nailed two from the charity stripe with 14 seconds left to put the `Noles ahead at 61-55. However, Cincinnati's Dayeesha Hollins hit a three-pointer to create another one-possession game, but senior Cheetah Delgado hit two more free throws with eight seconds remaining after being fouled to create the game's final score.
Freshman Brittany Brown finished in double figures for the `Noles, adding 13 points and four rebounds. Delgado chipped in with 10 points and three assists, as FSU shot 22-for-54 from the field (40.7 percent) while holding Cincinnati to 23-for-63 (36.5 percent). The Bearcats shot much better in the second half, hitting 15 of 29 shots in the game's final 20 minutes.
While FSU's offense picked up later in the first half and early in the second half, its defense contributed to a lot of forced shots by the Bearcats (0-2) as it forced a lot of outside contested shots and defended many possessions that went down to the end of the 30-second shot clock.
The final five minutes of the first half proved worthwhile for the `Noles, as they went on a 15-2 run over the remaining 5:04 to take a 28-21 lead at halftime. Jones led Florida State with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting at halftime, while FSU managed to escape some early offensive struggles to finish 12-of-26 from the field at the half.
Florida State got off to a slow start and trailed 9-2 early following the first media timeout at 15:46. Both teams started off reliant from beyond the three-point arc until Cincinnati began forcing its way inside with some higher-percentage shots to help take an early seven-point lead.
FSU began to force a few more turnovers over the next eight minutes but were getting beat on the boards. Nonetheless, a pull-up jumper by Jones cut the FSU deficit to 16-11 with 7:34 remaining in the contest. During the stretch, senior Natasha Howard collected her second block of the game on an attempted shot in the paint by the Bearcats to give her 114 swats for her career, tying for fourth on the school list with former center Cierra Bravard.
Howard finished with eight points overall, giving her 1,168 for her career to move her into 22nd on the FSU career scoring list.
The `Noles return home to the Donald L. Tucker Center to face Prairie View A&M on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.
For more information on Florida State women's basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).