Feb. 26, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) - In her final regular season home game for the Florida State women's basketball team, senior center Cierra Bravard had one of the finest games of her career on Sunday at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The all-conference Sandusky, Ohio, native's monster 24-point, 10-rebound effort wasn't enough to lead the Seminoles (14-16, 6-10 in the ACC) past Virginia, though.
The Cavaliers (21-9, 9-7) got 23 points from guard Ariana Moorer and captured a 66-57 victory.
Virginia outscored the Seminoles, 24-4, in points off turnovers, and scored 11 straight points during a decisive stretch in the final six minutes of the game.
"Obviously it was a tough defeat for us," Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. "I'm happy for the way that Cierra was able to go out playing great basketball, and at the same time I know that neither one of us is happy nor satisfied with the way we played. We just couldn't catch a break. I thought Virginia did a great job of executing. They shot the ball extremely well."
FSU trailed by as many as 11 in the second half and was down 51-42 after Moorer made a layup with 8:14 remaining in the game.
Following the play, Moorer was whistled for a technical foul. The mistake sparked a 9-0 FSU run the Seminoles used to tie the game.
After junior guard Alexa Deluzio drilled the technical free throws, she swished a three-pointer to make the score 51-47 with 7:49 left.
Deluzio nearly hit another three 30 seconds later, but Bravard was there with the putback to bring the Noles within a pair.
Junior Chasity Clayton ripped down a rebound on a Moorer miss on Virginia's next possession and raced down the court, finding sophomore forward Natasha Howard for a layup that tied the game 51-51 at the 6:37 mark in the second half.
The Seminoles didn't score another point for nearly three minutes, however, as the Cavaliers responded by scoring 11 unanswered points over a two-minute span.
Guard Ataira Franklin hit a three at 6:12 to break the tie before Simone Egwu made a layup and Moorer completed a three-point play.
Lexie Gerson supplied the dagger for Virginia, swishing a three-pointer with 4:12 left in the game that gave the Cavaliers a commanding 62-51 advantage.
Bravard finished the game with her 16th double-double and 13th 20-point game of her career. She made 11-of-13 field goal attempts in her 131st game. She is tied for third in games played in FSU history and has never missed a contest in her career.
"Today was exciting," Bravard said. "Today was emotional. I just really wanted it to be a normal game feeling for me. I didn't want have all these other thoughts of who was there, or what it meant, being my last game, and I just tried to play a normal game.
"At this point we don't really have anything to lose. I think it is always important to know that as a team that we did play hard and played together. It's just a matter of putting all the pieces together and limiting our turnovers and scoring on the guard side and post side, and I think we will be better."
Deluzio (13 points) and Howard (10) joined Bravard in double figures. Deluzio wraps up the regular season as the ACC's leader in free throw shooting in conference games. She made a remarkable 91.9 percent of her charity stripe attempts (34-of-37) in 16 league contests.
Howard was three boards shy of her 13th double-double of the season. Still, her 12 double-doubles in 2011-12 led the ACC, and her 9.4 rpg average was tops in the conference in league games.
Florida State will now turn its attention to the ACC Tournament which begins Thursday at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum. The Seminoles captured the No. 8 seed and will play No. 9 seed N.C. State in the first round at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The winner will advance to Friday's quarterfinals to play No. 1 seed Duke at 3 p.m.
The Seminoles edged the Wolfpack, 67-64, on Jan. 27 in Raleigh, N.C., after junior guard Leo Rodriguez buried a 25-foot, game-winning three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left on the clock.
For more information on the Florida State women's basketball team follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball.