Florida State stopped by Stanford zone
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Florida State beat Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament in part because the Cyclones shot so miserably.
Now the Seminoles know how the Iowa State players felt.
Florida State missed 20 of 22 shots after a hot start, fell behind by 20 points and never recovered in a 63-44 second-round loss to Stanford on Monday night.
Second-seeded Stanford went to a tightly packed 2-3 zone defense after Florida State made five of its first six shots in jumping to a 14-6 lead, and the 10th-seeded Seminoles struggled the rest of the night.
They couldn’t get the ball inside to Natasha Howard and couldn’t make the outside shots needed to loosen the defense.
“All year for us our nemesis has been our outside shooting,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. “We got the lead, they went to the zone and we couldn’t hit shots. They packed it in on Tasha and we couldn’t get her the ball.”
It was an especially frustrating night for Howard, a 6-foot-3 senior who played her final college game.
She went scoreless in the first half, missing five shots, and did not grab and single rebound. That’s how effective the defense was against the player who is Florida State’s career rebounding leader and No. 2 on the career scoring list.
“When they were playing man, they were sagging off so they would have two people on Tasha,” point guard Cheetah Delgado said. “When they went zone, it was even harder. We were taking good open shots. We just couldn’t make them.”
Florida State (21-12) made only one shot over the final 12 1/2 minutes of the opening half in falling behind 32-16. Stanford (31-3) then got the first two baskets of the second half for a 30-2 run and it was all but over right then.
Howard finished with nine points and seven rebounds to lead the Seminoles, who shot 31 percent (18-for-58) for the game and were just 3-for-20 from 3-point range. Because of that, Stanford had no reason to extend its defense.
Morgan Jones scored eight for the Seminoles, who have reached the second round in their last 11 appearances in the NCAAs, and Brittany Brown scored seven.
“We outrebounded, we took care of the ball,” Semrau said. “We just couldn’t hit shots.”
Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford’s national player of the year candidate, led her team with 21 points and nine rebounds. Florida State’s zone kept Stanford from getting her the ball early, but once the Cardinal start getting it inside, Ogwumike was almost automatic, making eight of 11 shots.
Lili Thompson added 14 points and Bonnie Samuelson had 11 with three 3-pointers. The Cardinal moved the ball well and had 17 assists on 22 field goals.
Florida State had defeated Stanford 68-61 at Stanford the last time the two teams met in the NCAA tournament, in 2007, a victory that sent the Seminoles to the regional semifinals for the first time.
But there was no upset this time, and Stanford moves on to a regional on its own floor next weekend.
“I’m sorry it wasn’t a better game,” said Semrau, who has guided the Seminoles the NCAA tournament in nine of the past 10 seasons. “I felt like it was going to be a great game.”
Howard kept playing hard despite her team’s offensive frustrations, but ended up making just four of 13 shots. She finished her standout career with 1,811 points and 1,047 rebounds.
“I give all the credit to our coaching staff and the team,” Howard said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am. They helped me become a better person and gave me an opportunity.”