No. 25 Florida St. 60, Princeton 44
WACO, Texas (AP)
Princeton's first NCAA tournament win will have to come without four-year standout Niveen Rasheed.
Leonor Rodriguez and Morgan Toles scored 12 points apiece, and Florida State won its 10th straight first-round NCAA tournament game with a 60-44 win Sunday, denying the Tigers their first victory in four straight NCAA tries as Ivy League champion.
The ninth-seeded Tigers had more turnovers (19) than field goals (17) and shot just 25 percent. Rasheed, just a 36 percent shooter in two previous NCAA games, had nine points on 3 of 15 shooting.
''They did a great job,'' Rasheed said. ''But we didn't make our shots and took ourselves out of the game. It's kind of unfortunate letting ourselves down.''
Florida State guard Cheetah Delgado doesn't shoot often, but didn't hesitate for a moment when Princeton tried to rally in the second half. Just 18 seconds after the Tigers pulled within a point at the end of a 10-0 run, Delgado hit a jumper to steady the eighth-seeded Seminoles (23-9), who haven't lost a first-round game since 1990.
Florida State will play top-seeded Baylor on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-2 Delgado made just her sixth 3-pointer of the season to give the Seminoles a 13-point lead late in the first half and ended up with 11 points - seven above her average - in just her third double-digit game of the season.
''I asked the kids back there what their favorite part of the game was,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. ''That little punk down there Cheetah said, `When they cut it to one.' Then she came back to hit the bucket that put us up three. I'm excited that she thrives on that.''
The ninth-seeded Tigers (22-7) faced a double-digit deficit because they were having such a hard time making shots. But Princeton erased almost all of an 11-point Florida State lead with a 10-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Blake Dietrick to cut the deficit to 38-37 midway through the second half.
Delgado, who spent a lot of time dribbling and looking for teammates while defenders sagged off her, had the ball on the left wing about 15 feet out and made the quick decision to score. After Rasheed missed the rim on a shot near the free throw line, Toles hit the first of back-to-back jumpers to push the lead back to five.
The second basket by Toles started a 12-0 run by the Seminoles to take control for good. Rodriguez, Florida State's leading scorer, had a 3-pointer during the spurt and ended it with a three-point play and a 54-39 lead when she stole a pass and made a layup by flipping the ball in as she was falling to the floor after getting fouled.
''If it helped the team, I'm happy for it,'' Rodriguez said. ''I think we had to get us some momentum to finish. I'm just happy with the win.''
The Seminoles scored 22 points off Princeton giveaways, many of them unforced errors on passes or traveling violations with nobody defending a long way from the basket.
''To be honest, even at halftime, we were only down by 12,'' Princeton coach Courtney Banghart said. ''If felt like the way we were playing we should have been down by 112. I truly didn't think over a 40-minute game we could shoot that poorly that long.''
The Seminoles took control in the first half by pressuring Princeton's perimeter players, knowing their inside players would make it tough around the rim for the shorter Tigers.
Those taller Florida State players were scoring from the outside, too. Chasity Clayton, a 6-foot forward, hit three perimeter shots and 6-3 Natasha Howard hit two more from outside in the first half. Clayton and Howard both finished with six points and six rebounds, and Howard added five blocks.
The Tigers had shown progress in their first three NCAA trips as Ivy League champions and were hopeful of getting that first win in the final seasons for Rasheed and backcourt mate and close friend Lauren Polansky.
Instead, their latest loss was a lot like their first two tournament games - double-digit defeats to teams from an East Coast power conference.
Rasheed tried to do other things - tying teammate Kristen Helmstetter with a game-high nine rebounds while adding three assists and three steals. But she was never comfortable with her shooting, not even able to make free throws. She missed her first three and finished 3 of 7 from the line.
''It would be an understatement to say a really special senior class is gone,'' Banghart said. ''Also disappointing is the way they went out. This obviously wasn't our best performance.''