No. 9 Florida State closes ACC slate, tops rival Miami 69-55
Mar. 01, 2015
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — These first 27 wins of the season showed plenty about No. 9 Florida State.
And the Seminoles might just be getting started.
Maegan Conwright scored 17 points and the Seminoles controlled play at both ends on the way to topping Miami 69-55 on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams. Florida State (27-3, 14-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) set a school record for wins prior to postseason.
"I don't think we're nearly as good as we can be yet," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "We still have a lot of issues that we need to clear up and a lot of those are rotational issues that I continue to struggle (with) because I've got so many good players on the team."
File that under 'nice problem to have.'
Ivey Slaughter scored 13 and Leticia Romero finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Seminoles, who previously secured the No. 2 seed behind Notre Dame in the ACC tournament and will open in the quarterfinals Friday at Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Seminoles finished with a 51-32 rebounding edge and held Miami to 31 percent shooting.
Adrienne Motley scored 20 points for Miami (18-11, 8-8), which dropped its fourth straight. The Hurricanes have a first-round ACC tournament bye, will be seeded eighth and meet ninth-seeded Virginia in a second-round game on Thursday — with Notre Dame awaiting the winner of that matchup.
As soon as Sunday's game ended, Miami coach Katie Meier walked into her locker room and started talking tourney.
"Are we a quality basketball team? Are we one of the top 64 teams in the country? You better darn believe we are," Meier said. "And you can ask Sue Semrau and I'm sure she'll say 'yes, they are' too. Anyone who can get through this conference and go .500 has done a remarkable job."
As Meier predicted, Semrau's answer: "Oh, gosh, yeah. No question. No question."
But the Hurricanes, who got 12 points from Michelle Woods, probably need at least one win in Greensboro to have a real shot at getting on the NCAA bracket.
Since 2005, 51 of 53 teams finishing with winning ACC records wound up making the NCAA tournament. Of the nine teams finishing with exactly .500 league marks in that span, only four got in — a trend Miami has to now buck.
The Seminoles forced Miami into missing 21 of its first 27 shots, and used what became a 24-9 run to take a 38-19 lead late in the half.
"The first half, I thought was some of the best defense we've played all year," Semrau said.
Florida State pushed the lead to 49-27 not long after halftime, before Miami got a pair of 3's from Motley to spark an 8-0 run.
The Hurricanes got within 54-45 on Necole Sterling's 3 with 7:20 left, but the Seminoles held Miami to two points over the next 5 minutes to keep full control.
"I am not exaggerating when I say Florida State is a potential Final Four team," Meier said. "They don't lose their composure."
Seminoles: Florida State has won seven of its last eight against Miami. ... It's the third time the Seminoles have finished no worse than second in the ACC standings. They shared the regular-season crown with Maryland in 2009 and Duke in 2010. ... The Seminoles are 10-0 on Sundays.
Hurricanes: Miami gave retiring university president Donna Shalala a team-autographed basketball before the game, which Shalala tried to dribble. Problem was, it was slightly deflated. ... This is Miami's longest losing streak since a five-game slide in February 2010. ... Motley reached double figures for the 26th time in 29 games.
There hasn't been a whole lot of Seminole success at the ACC tournament. The Seminoles have never won more than one game in ACC tourney play, going 8-23 all-time — with no title-game appearances.
The loss was Miami's 10th to a team ranked in the top 70 of the Ratings Percentage Index, which the Hurricanes hope is noticed by the NCAA selection committee. The Hurricanes have six wins against RPI top-100 clubs, including a surprisingly easy home win over Notre Dame — currently No. 1 on that list.
Florida State: TBA in ACC quarterfinals, Friday.
Miami: Virginia in ACC second round, Thursday.