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Southeast women put up resistance in 64-50 loss to Florida State
The Redhawks outrebounded their ACC opponent and stayed close until the closing minutes.
Southeast Missouri State made one of the highest-profile women's basketball teams to ever visit the Show Me Center work hard most of the way.
But in the end, Florida State showed why it ranks among the better squads in one of the nation's top conferences.
The Seminoles withstood everything Southeast threw at them Friday night and pulled away from a one-point halftime lead to win 64-50 in front of an announced crowd of 2,183.
FSU, which finished fourth last year in the Atlantic Coast Conference -- the league sent three teams to the Final Four, including national champion Maryland -- improved to 3-0.
"We played really hard and gave an outstanding effort," said Southeast acting head coach John Ishee, whose squad fell to 1-2. "They just outexecuted us, and they made shots. They showed why they're a very good team."
FSU coach Sue Semrau, whose team made it to the second round of last season's NCAA tournament, heaped plenty of praise on the Redhawks, who continue to play without fifth-year head coach B.J. Smith.
Smith was placed on paid administrative leave by the university prior to the first game of the season.
"I was very impressed with the way they played," Semrau said. "After all they've been through, to be able to pull together ... they lost a lot of players from last year, and to lose their coach before the season, I was very impressed."
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the game was that the Redhawks outrebounded the taller Seminoles -- who started a pair of 6-foot-4 players -- 42-32, including 19-12 on the offensive glass.
The Seminoles had pummeled their first two opponents on the glass 105-41.
"I thought Southeast Missouri did a good job boxing us out," Semrau said. "We've been real good on the offensive boards the first two games."
But shooting just 35 percent and committing 21 turnovers ultimately foiled the Redhawks' upset bid.
"I thought our effort was really good. We competed really well," Southeast sophomore point guard Tarina Nixon said. "But I thought our execution could have been better."
Nixon scored 10 points and dished out six assists. She was the only Southeast player to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, hitting four of seven, including both of her 3-point attempts.
Junior college transfer guard Ashley Lovelady led the Redhawks in scoring for the second straight game with 12 points.
Junior college transfer forward Missy Whitney scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Senior center Lachelle Lyles pulled down 15 rebounds -- eight on the offensive end -- and added six points.
"We came out with a lot of intensity and played hard," Lyles said. "We just have to execute better."
Lyles epitomized Southeast's effort against the taller Seminoles, battling FSU hard on the boards all night.
Lyles even had to leave the game early in the second half after she took a shot to her nose during a collision underneath the basket.
Afterward, Lyles said she believed she had broken her nose but didn't expect to miss any future action.
FSU got a big performance from sophomore guard Tanae Davis-Cain, who hit five of six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 21 points.
Britany Miller, a 6-4 sophomore center who made last year's ACC all-freshmen team, added 18 points.
The Seminoles shot 45.6 percent and made six of 10 3-pointers.
"It was kind of pick your poison," said Ishee of the dilemma in trying to guard the Seminoles. "I'm going to pick it from 22 feet away.
"We mixed and matched defenses and tried doubling down. They made shots."
The Redhawks led just twice all night but never lost contact with the Seminoles until late.
Nixon scored the first basket of the second half to put the Redhawks ahead 29-28 and mark their first lead since 3-2 in the game's opening moments.
FSU answered with an 8-0 run to go ahead 36-29. The Seminoles built a 46-34 advantage midway through the half but saw it cut to 46-41.
Southeast still was within striking distance at 52-45 on a Lyles follow shot with about five minutes left, but FSU scored the next five points and the Redhawks got no closer than nine points thereafter.
"To hang with a team like Florida State ... coach told us not to hang our heads," Nixon said. "We're going to keep getting better."
Ishee had nothing but praise for the large, enthusiastic crowd that seemed to appreciate the Redhawks' effort.
"The crowd was outstanding," Ishee said. "It was really a nice atmosphere for a women's college basketball game."