March 1, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Forty-eight hours ago the Florida State women's basketball team was celebrating a last-second shot to beat Miami. A put back by Clemson's Morganne Campbell as time expired gave the Seminoles the exact opposite feeling as they dropped a 70-72 decision to the Tigers on Saturday (March 1) at the Donald L Tucker Center.
The Seminoles loss gives them the sixth seed for the upcoming ACC Tournament as they dropped to 7-7 in the conference, 17-12 overall. Clemson improved to 4-10 in the league, 11-18 overall.
"Going into the ACC Tournament this is extremely disappointing, but we allowed that to happen in the second half," FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. "I have to complement Clemson. They had the kind of fire and desire in the second half that it took to win the ball game. Unfortunately, they had more of it than we did."
Florida State led by as many as 14 in the second half and was up 10, 66-56, with 4:42 to play. However, they were outscored by the Tigers 16-4 the rest of the way. Clemson tied the game at 68-68 at the 1:29 mark, but senior Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) put the Seminoles ahead, 70-68, with a jumper.
Christy Brown knotted the game on a lay-up with 37 seconds remaining. Williams went to the basket and was fouled with nine seconds remaining, but she missed both attempts. Jasmine Tate put up Clemson first attempted, but it caromed to Campbell who put it back as the horn sounded.
The loss dampened what should have been a celebration of Williams' career as she scored 22 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out two steals. Leading all scorers with 23 was Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) and Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) added 13.
"She has really carried a big load this year as our lone senior," Semrau said of Williams. "We felt confident with her at the line, but that certainly wasn't the difference in the game. Giving up as many offensive rebounds as we did in the second half was really critical."
After holding an advantage in the first half, the Seminoles allowed Clemson to have a 27-18 edge, including 13 offensive boards, in rebounding in the second stanza for a 45-41 margin for the game. Florida State also shot poorly in the second half, only hitting 36.7 percent of its shots while the Tigers nearly hit 50 percent for the 42.4 percent (28-of-66) to 40.3 percent (25-of-62).
One area where FSU did have an advantage was at the free throw line where it hit 61.9 percent (13-of-21), compared to 42.9 percent (12-of-28 for the visitors. The Seminoles were whistled for 13 fouls in the second half, which sent Clemson to the line 20 times compared to just 12 trips for the home team. Clemson used its 13 second-half offensive rebounds for 11 second-chance points and got 11 more points from seven FSU turnovers.
It looked like Florida State's offense was going to start slow for the second game in a row as it only had one point through the first three minutes, but then Seminoles picked up the pace behind the three-point line. Freshour made a trio of three balls and Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) added another to stake Florida State to a 15-5 lead just three and a half minutes later.
Clemson got the margin down to just two points, 17-15, during a five-minute stretch, but Williams and Freshour took over again to bolster the lead. Williams had six points and Freshour the other five as Florida State went on an 11-0 run to push the lead back to 13 (30-17). The Tigers made another run at the Seminoles, getting as close as two on a pair of occasions, before Harvin made three baskets to send FSU into the locker room ahead 40-26.
Scoring nearly half of Florida State's points during the first half was Freshour with 16 while Williams added eight and Harvin had six. Freshour and Harvin also grabbed a team-high four rebounds.
Florida State dramatically improved on its shooting from the first half of the Miami game, holding a 43.8 percent (14-of-32) to 36.7 percent (11-of-30) advantage. FSU was also sharp from outside, hitting 45.5 percent (5-of-11) and 77.8 percent at the line (7-of-9). The Seminoles were also up 23-to-18 in rebounding. The Seminoles capitalized on Clemson's mistakes, getting 17 points from 10 CU turnovers.
The Seminoles will find out their ACC Tournament opponent tomorrow as the final six games of the conference slate are played on Sunday. All of Florida State's postseason games can be heard on either 1270 AM or 100.7 as well as Seminoles.com.