Florida State uses physical play to unsettle MU women's basketball

Sunday, January 2, 2011 | 7:37 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — On paper, they were good matchups.

On the court, they turned out to be a little bit more challenging than the Missouri women's basketball team expected.

Just minutes into the game, Christine Flores went up for a rebound, only to get an elbow to the back from her defender Florida State's Natasha Howard. The contact sent Flores to the floor.

On the ensuing offensive possession for the Tigers, Missouri guard Sydney Crafton dished the ball to a streaking Flores. As the ball reached Flores' hands, Howard and Seminole guard Alexa Deluzio sandwiched Flores, once again putting her on the court. The call: out of bounds on Flores, Florida State's ball.

"That's just something that you have to work through, that's part of the game," Flores said. "Coach (Pingeton) always talks about how you have to push through that for your teammates. When anybody gets picked or falls down, everybody else just comes to pick them up."

Flores did well to contend with Florida State's physical play, scoring a team-high 16 points, but the problem for Missouri proved to be the matchups inside. 

Florida State's Cierra Bravard, a 6-foot-4 forward, fought through a rough first half performance, in which she played only seven minutes because of two quick fouls, to lead the Seminoles with 17 points. 

Bravard's 13 second-half minutes gave the edge to the Seminoles on the inside. She was able to use her size to get close and easy baskets. She scored 15 points and grabbed all five of her rebounds in the second half.

"I thought Cierra came out really sluggish," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "I didn't even start her out in the second half. I thought she might pick up her third foul, and I didn't want that to happen."

Chelsea Davis, a 6-foot-2 forward, who filled in for Bravard, provided the Seminoles with nine points and seven rebounds. Although Florida State's post presence proved to be too much for Missouri, Semrau knew Missouri was going to be physical coming into Sunday's contest.

"Preparing for this game, I was scared to death," Semrau said. "I think Robin's (Pingeton) done a good job of putting good players in a position to be the most successful. The kids fight so hard, they're physical. They'll just keep getting better and better."

Missouri has one game left before conference play begins. But the competition will not be any easier. The Tigers will play No. 4 Xavier on Wednesday in Cincinnati. 

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