Jan. 6, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -
Since she came to Florida State five years ago, guard Shante Williams was destined to become the Seminoles' career leader in assists. On Sunday (January 6) she completed that journey as she handed out six assists in Florida State's 67-63 victory over Virginia Tech in the Seminoles' Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
The Seminoles start the conference schedule with a win for the second year in a row and improve to 11-5 overall. The Hokies dropped their second game in a row as they fell to 12-4 overall, 0-2 in the league.
"It feels great to finally get that monkey off my back," Williams said. "Our SID has been telling me game in and game out `Let's do it, let's do it' and I just haven't gotten it done. It feels good to get it done on national television."
Williams' dished out her 389 assist at the 11:21 mark of the second half. She drove to the lane from the left wing and dished to Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) who knocked down a jumper from just inside the free throw line. Williams broke the old mark of 388 set by Jen Robinson. The six assists pushed her record to 391.
"When I saw her in high school I thought she'd probably do it in her junior year," FSU head coach Sue Semrau said about Wiliams' accomplishment. "She's really had a scoring load on her that we didn't anticipate she'd have to have. If she didn't have that same kind of scoring load then she would have been the all-time assist leader a year ago."
Three players scored in double figures for the Seminoles, led by guard Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) with a career-high 16 points. Next up was forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) at 15 points, followed by Freshour with 13, including 8-of-8 at the free throw line. Monroe grabbed eight boards and Harvin had seven. Williams had five points and two steals to go along with her half-dozen assists.
Despite a cold second half of shooting, Florida State held a 41.9 percent (26-of-62) to 39.1 percent (27-of-69) advantage. The Seminoles continued their great free throw shooting, hitting 78.6 percent (11-of-14) while the Hokies were just 5-of-10. Both teams made four three pointers.
One biggest things the Seminoles did in the second half was not turn over the ball. After 10 in the opening 20 minutes - which Virginia Tech converted to 16 points - FSU only committed three in the second stanza and the Hokies did not get a single point off them. In contrast, the Seminoles got nine points off eight VT miscues. Virginia Tech out-rebounded FSU 43-to-37 and had a 21-14 advantage in second-chance points.
The Hokies battled back from a 15-point deficit to tie the game at 44 with 14:07 remaining in the game. Freshour's basket off the record-breaking assist gave the lead back to FSU, 46-44, but Virginia Tech went on an 11-3 run to claim a 55-49 advantage. The Seminoles would get the margin back to one on a pair of occasions and reclaimed the lead at the 2:35 mark when Freshour knocked down a pair of free throws.
Florida State would hold the Hokies off the scoreboard for nearly three minutes and take a four-point lead, 63-59, on a Williams' jumper at the 1:46 mark. After a Virginia Tech basket, two more Freshour free throws got the margin back up to a deuce, but the Hokies would make another jumper at the 1:01 mark to cut it to two again. Williams missed a jumper and VT got the ball back, but Freshour tipped an entry pass to Williams then canned her last two free throws to seal the victory.
"We're extremely happy to pull it out," Semrau said. "I thought we really had some kids who kept their heads in the game. Any game in the ACC is big and to be our opener, at home, is extremely big. They had only lost three games all year and have a great RPI and it will help us in a lot of different ways."
Virginia Tech took control of the game early thanks to Florida State miscues - the Hokies got seven of their first 10 points off FSU turnovers - but the Seminoles righted the ship on the offensive end of the floor and got their first lead at 6-5 on a lay up by Cayla Moore (Albany, Ga.). A combination of good defense and good execution on offense allowed the Seminoles build on their lead.
The margin would reach double digits, 21-10, for the first time on a Monroe putback at the 9:29 mark. It grew to as many as 15 (25-10) with 8:29 remaining on a Monroe lay up that was a product of Williams' third assist of the game that tied the record. Virginia Tech wouldn't lie down as they went on 13-4 over the last five minutes of the half cut FSU's lead to 36-32 at the intermission.
Leading the Seminoles was Monroe as she put in over 40 percent of Florida State's points with 14. She also grabbed a team-best four rebounds. Harvin added nine points. Williams produced three assists and had a pair of steals.
The Hokies' ability to convert Florida State turnovers into points was the biggest difference in the first half. Both teams committed 10 miscues, but Virginia Tech got half of its points (16-of-32) from turnovers. The Seminoles out-shot Virginia Tech 53.3 percent (16-of-30) to 40 percent (14-of-35). Both teams were 2-of-7 from three points range and 2-for-2 at the free throw line. The Hokies had 20-to-17 rebounding advantage that included 11 offensive boards.
The Seminoles are off until Friday (January 11) when they play their first conference road game at No. 12 Duke. The game tips off at 7 p.m. can be seen on Fox Sports Net Florida and heard on 1270 AM and Seminoles.com.