No. 14 Florida State Holds Off Virginia, 78-74
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Virginia whittled a 17-point second-half Florida State lead to two points with under a minute to play, but the 14th-ranked Seminoles were able to hold off the Cavaliers, 78-74, Monday night at John Paul Jones Arena.
The win improved Florida State’s record to 19-5 overall and 7-2 in the ACC. Virginia’s record went to 13-12 overall (2-7 ACC).
Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) was the Cavaliers’ high scorer for the third-straight game, netting 16 points and grabbing three rebounds. China Crosby (New York, N.Y.) finished with a career-high 14 points, including a personal best two 3-pointers.
For Florida State, Cierra Bravard led all scorers with 22 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Bravard also converted all six of her free throw attempts, including two with less than five seconds left in the game.
Virginia trailed 39-32 at halftime. Florida State extended its lead to 17 points, 61-44, with 10:15 left in the game on a jumper by Chasity Clayton.
From there, Virginia mounted its comeback and got the deficit to single digits on two free throws by Crosby with 4:38 left that made the score 69-60. The Cavaliers continued to fight and a jumpshot off the glass by Ariana Moorer (Woodbridge, Va.) with 47 seconds left cut the lead to two points, 74-72.
On the ensuing play, Paulisha Kellum (Upper Marlboro, Md.) came up with a steal off the Seminoles’ inbounds pass, but was called for a traveling violation and possession was awarded to FSU.
Seminole forward Natasha Howard nailed a turnaround jumper with 15 seconds left that made it a two-possession game, 76-72, and although Franklin scored on the Cavaliers’ next trip down the court, Bravard hit two free throws that sealed the 78-74 victory for Florida State.
The Seminoles held a 40-22 advantage in points in the paint and out-rebounded the Cavaliers, 32-31. Florida State shot 50 percent from the field (27-for-54) and 91 percent from the free throw line (20-for-22).
Up next, Virginia hits the road for two ACC contests. First up is NC State on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C.