AUBURN – After taking a seven-point lead at halftime, the Auburn women's basketball team could not hold off the second-half surge from No. 18/14 Florida State (2-0) as the Seminoles pulled out the 67-61 win, handing the Tigers (1-1) their first loss in Auburn Arena.
Sophomore Blanche Alverson led the Tigers in scoring with 16, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and connecting on 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Senior Jordan Greenleaf and sophomore Morgan Toles each knocked down 15. Greenleaf led the team with nine rebounds.
"Obviously we worked hard to win the game," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "But, we've got to do a much better job at boxing out. We've got work to do, keeping people off the boards and not fouling as much. I was really proud of the run we made to end the first half, but we have to learn to sustain that and bare down in the second half."
Consistency at the charity stripe smiled in Florida State's favor as the Seminoles mustered a late-game rally. The Seminoles finished the final 7:29 shooting 12-of-14 from the line, finishing the game at 18-of-22. Florida State also out-rebounded the Tigers, 47-29.
"This is what makes you better," said Fortner. "Win or lose it makes you better. We want to be an NCAA tournament team and go deep into the tournament. This is the only way you do that. This game will make us better because we'll learn from it and we will know how hard you have to work to win a game like this."
Despite the rebounding margin, Auburn was able to stay in the game with its defense. The Tigers tallied 12 steals, forcing 29 Seminole turnovers. Auburn then turned those 29 turnovers into 29 points on the other end of the floor. Greenleaf, Toles and freshman Jassany Williams led Auburn with three steals each.
The Tigers found themselves down, 23-14, at 7:04 in the first half before opening up a 16-0 run to close the period. Williams, Smalley and Greenleaf combined for four blocks as the Tigers forced seven turnovers to take a 30-23 lead into the break. Toles closed the final 3:54 of the second half with four points and three assists.
"It started on the defensive end, getting big stops and we were able to come down with some big shots," said Toles. "Our defense helped us out a lot."
An Alverson layup to start the second-half gave the Tigers a nine-point advantage before the Seminoles went on a 10-0 run led by Natasha Howard and Alexa Deluzio. However, the Tigers were able to re-gain the lead and hold it until just over five minutes remaining. Florida State used a 12-4 run down the stretch, fueled by its free throw shooting, to come away with the win.
As a team, the Tigers were 25-of-66 from the field for 37.9 percent. Auburn shot 7-of-13 from the stripe and 4-of-10 from 3-point land.
"What a great Auburn team," said Florida State head coach Sue Semrau. "Their fight was tremendous. In the first half, they really took control with that 16-0 run.
"(Our) kids worked really hard the past couple of days, mentally. For them to respond the way they did and shoot 81 percent from the line, I am really proud of them."
Alexa Deluzio led Florida State in scoring with 23, shooting 6-of-13 from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. Cierra Brevard recorded a double-double for the Seminoles with 12 points and 10 boards. As a team, Florida State was 22-of-53 from the field, 18-of-22 from the line and 5-of-15 from 3-point range.
The Tigers return to action at 6 p.m., Thursday at home versus No. 6/5 Duke. The Blue Devils defeated Southern California 75-50 Monday night in Durham, N.C., improving to 2-0 on the season.
Newspaper Box Score
Florida State vs Auburn
11-15-10 6 p.m. at Auburn, Ala. - Auburn Arena
FLORIDA STATE 67, AUBURN 61
FLORIDA STATE (2-0)
Alexa Deluzio 6-13 9-9 23; Natasha Howard 6-9 0-0 14; Cierra Bravard 3-6 6-8 12; Chelsea Davis 3-4 2-3 8; Chasity Clayton 3-10 0-0 7; Christian Hunnicutt 1-4 1-2 3; Olivia Bresnahan 0-1 0-0 0; Courtney Ward 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 18-22 67.
Alverson, Blanche 7-12 0-0 16; Greenleaf, Jordan 5-13 4-5 15; Toles, Morgan 7-14 1-4 15; Smalley, Alli 2-15 1-2 6; Williams, Jassany 2-6 1-2 5; Strain, Courtney 1-1 0-0 2; Simmons, Parrisha 1-2 0-0 2; Davis, Peyton 0-0 0-0 0; Tanner, Tyrese 0-2 0-0 0; Hilliard, Chantel 0-0 0-0 0; West, Pascale 0-0 0-0 0; Jennings, Morgan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-66 7-13 61.
Florida State 23 44 67
Auburn 30 31 61
3-point goals--Florida State 5-15 (Natasha Howard 2-3; Alexa Deluzio 2-5; Chasity Clayton 1-2; Christian Hunnicutt 0-1; Courtney Ward 0-4), Auburn 4-10 (Alverson, Blanche 2-3; Greenleaf, Jordan 1-1; Smalley, Alli 1-6). Fouled out--Florida State-None, Auburn-Williams, Jassany. Rebounds--Florida State 47 (Cierra Bravard 10), Auburn 29 (Greenleaf, Jordan 9). Assists--Florida State 10 (Christian Hunnicutt 3), Auburn 12 (Toles, Morgan 7). Total fouls--Florida State 18, Auburn 19. Technical fouls--Florida State-None, Auburn-None. A-2176