No. 18 Florida St. 89, Alabama St. 39
It was a long, hot summer for Florida State’s Cierra
The burly, 6-foot-4 junior stayed in Florida to concentrate on
her conditioning instead of going back home to Ohio. It appears to
have paid off.
Bravard scored 15 points and grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds,
and highly touted freshman Natasha Howard scored 20 points despite
sitting out most of the first half in foul trouble as the
18th-ranked Seminoles trounced Alabama State 89-39 on Friday in the
season opener for both schools.
”It was hard, a lot of hard work,” said Bravard, who says she
dropped 20 pounds. ”I want to be able to play more minutes. The
hard work makes me better and that’s more fun.”
The Seminoles, coming off a school-best 29-6 record last season,
raced to an 18-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game. They built
their advantage to 64-20 early in the second half with another 18-0
run as Alabama State went scoreless for 6:17 after coming out of
the locker room.
”They’re loaded,” Alabama State coach Freda Freeman-Jackson
said. ”They were just too good, too big. (Howard) is big-time. Big
Bravard already had her double-double by halftime with 11 points
and 11 rebounds.
”I’ve never seen her rebound like that,” Florida State coach
Sue Semrau said. ”She could’ve played 30, 35 minutes. I’d never
have believed it.”
Alexa Deluzio added 16 points for Florida State. Tanika Jackson
led Alabama State with 13 points.
”Alabama State was overmatched and really scrappy as a
result,” Semrau said.
Howard, a former Ms. Ohio Basketball during her Toledo prep
career, made eight of 10 shots from the floor but played just 5
minutes in the first half because of two early fouls.
Florida State, which has shared the last two regular-season
Atlantic Coast Conference titles, was too much for the overmatched
Hornets, a Southwestern Athletic Conference member that finished
13-17 a season ago.
The Seminoles’ biggest lead came with 2:12 left at 87-31. They
shot 46.7 percent while Alabama State made only 12 of 60 shots for
20 percent in its season opener against the taller Seminoles.
Led by Bravard, Florida State dominated on the boards by a 59-40
margin. The Hornets managed only two assists and committed 29
Florida State led by 28 points on two occasions in the first
half and began the second half on a 20-1 run.
Alabama State plays its home opener Tuesday against the
University of Mobile, while Florida State’s schedule quickly gets
tougher with a Monday date at Auburn.