No. 6 Florida State Squeezes Past No. 11 Wake Forest, 57-52
March 6, 2008
By Steve Phillips
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Tanae Davis-Cain didn't allow Florida State to fall victim to the upset bug.
Davis-Cain scored 14 of her 17 points in the second half as the sixth-seeded Seminoles shook off 11th-seeded Wake Forest for a 57-52 win in the final game of Thursday's Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Tournament first-round session.
"In the first half I felt like we were playing kind of slow, and we went to the locker room saying we needed to get after it and play like this was our last game," Davis-Cain said. "We came out in the second half inspired, and as a captain I felt like I just had to take my team on my back and try to carry us."
The victory sends the Seminoles (17-12) into Friday's 8 p.m. quarterfinal game, where they will face third-seeded Duke (21-8).
"We just hung on," said Florida State coach Sue Semrau, who saw her team shoot 39 percent from the floor and commit 17 turnovers. "Defensively, I thought we did a great job. Offensively, we didn't get a lot going tonight, but it was enough to get it done."
Shante Williams added 12 points for Florida State, eight of which came in the second half, and Jacinta Monore had 10. Corrine Groves' 12 points led Wake Forest (15-15). Alex Tchangoue finished with 11, and Brittany Waters scored 10.
"I told our group after the game that I wasn't happy with the outcome, but I was really, really proud to be their coach," Wake Forest's Mike Petersen said. "We competed very hard tonight. Right now we have some position issues (due to injuries at point guard), but I thought we handled those pretty well."
The Seminoles led 18-9 with 6:57 remaining in the first half, but the Deacons outscored FSU 15-4 the rest of the way to claim a 24-22 halftime lead. Courteney Morris and Tchangoue hit back-to-back shots from 3-point range to tie the score, and Morris added two free throws to push Wake in front.
Florida State made a bid to take control at the outset of the second half, when Davis-Cain scored seven points to key a flurry that left the Seminoles leading 37-31 with just under 14 minutes remaining.
Wake closed the gap with four unanswered points, but Davis-Cain beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 40-35.
"An individual player made a great individual play for them," Petersen said. "Obviously, those kinds of plays make a big difference in a five-point game.
The Deacons fell behind by as many as 11 points but refused to go away. Wake put together a late 10-3 run, capped by Mekia Valentine's driving lay-up that cut Florida State's lead to 56-52 with 24 seconds to play.
But Mara Freshour made one of two free throws with 15.5 seconds on the clock, allowing the Seminoles to escape with the five-point win.
Looking to Friday, Florida State fell to Duke 70-38 in the only regular-season meeting between the teams, but Semrau noted that the Seminoles played without Davis-Cain and two other key players.
"We're a different team than we were then," Semrau said. "This is a different time, a different court, and we're looking forward to the challenge."