Howard Leads FSU Past VT



Feb. 5, 2012

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) - The Florida State women's basketball team didn't miss many shots on Sunday at the Donald L. Tucker Center, and when the Seminoles did Natasha Howard was usually there to clean the glass.

Howard grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and was one of three Noles to score 16 points, as FSU completed the season sweep of Virginia Tech with a 78-60 victory.

Florida State (13-11 overall and 5-5 in the ACC) also routed the Hokies (7-17, 3-8), 75-40, in Blacksburg, Va., on Jan. 8.

Howard tallied her ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 14 total boards to go along with her 16 points.

"My mindset coming into the game was to prepare myself to get every loose ball I can on the offensive and defensive ends," Howard said. "Coach Sue always tells me to get 10 rebounds. `Go get 10 rebounds, we can't win without you,' she says."

Senior center Cierra Bravard and junior forward Chelsea Davis also scored 16 points, as FSU outscored VT, 40-14, in the paint.

Junior guard Leo Rodriguez added a career-high 13 points and made both of her three-point attempts, while junior wing Chasity Clayton scored 12 points. FSU shot 50.9 percent from the field for the game.

The Seminoles also held a commanding 49-23 edge on the glass and recorded 26 second-chance points.

Bravard and Howard were relentless in the paint from the start of the game.

Bravard scored FSU's first six points on mix of a layup, a pair of free throws and a putback.

FSU racked up a dozen boards and 12 second chance points in the game's first eight minutes.

"Cierra getting the ball on the first possession and getting fouled and knocking down the free throws -- I thought really set the tone for us," FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. "Any win is a big win in February and we needed that one today."

Howard's third putback of the game gave FSU an 18-10 lead at the 12:20 mark of the first half.

Three minutes later, Clayton stole the ball from VT point guard Aerial Wilson, sprinted down the court and dished a pass to a trailing Bravard for an easy fastbreak layup to put the Seminoles in front 23-14.

The Hokies cut their deficit to six points, 31-25, on a corner three from reigning ACC Player of the Week Monet Tellier just under four minutes before the break.

The Seminoles answered by scoring six straight points, however. After Clayton swished a three, Rodriguez zipped past a couple of Virginia Tech defenders for a baseline layup.

Wilson opened the second half by burying a three-pointer 30 seconds after the break to make the score 39-31, but the Seminoles used a 10-2 run to take a 49-33 lead.

Clayton ignited the run by swishing her second trey of the game and Rodriguez capped the run with a trey-ball of her own with 16:30 remaining in the game.

A pair of jumpers by Latorrie Hines-Allen cut FSU's lead to 8, 61-53, with 6:33 left in the game.

Davis answered with a pair of free throws and Howard scored on back-to-back plays to end the threat and give the Seminoles a 67-53 lead with 5:11 left in the contest.

Rodriguez's three with 2:21 left sealed the victory, putting the Noles up, 74-57.

Freshman walk-on guard Emma Loucks made her collegiate debut in Sunday's contest, as well, checking in with 35.2 seconds left.

Florida State returns to action this Thursday in Winston-Salem, N.C. against Wake Forest at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on Florida State women's basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at: @FSU_WBasketball.

--www.seminoles.com--

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