Florida State women lose to No. 6 Miami, 67-60

STEVEN WINE AP Sports Writer Published:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- Point guard Morgan Toles has played four games this season for Florida State. On Sunday against No. 6 Miami, that wasn't enough.

Ball-handling woes doomed the Seminoles, who outshot and outrebounded Miami but lost 67-60.

Toles, whose season began when her eligibility was granted less than two weeks ago, committed only one turnover herself. But the Seminoles totaled 24, and Miami's defensive pressure left them out of synch.

"It's kind of an odd time to have a point guard enter the fold," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "I can live with that. We just have to keep getting better as she grows into our team."

The Hurricanes' full-court press repeatedly created offensive chances. They outscored the Seminoles 13-0 on fast breaks, and also outscored them by 15 points from 3-point range, where Florida State went 0 for 5.

"We had a lot of costly turnovers, and that was the difference," Semrau said. "They did a great job of keeping us busy on the perimeter."

Florida State (13-15, 5-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) has lost four games in a row for the first time since 2003-04.

The Hurricanes (24-3, 13-1) pulled into a tie for the league lead with No. 5 Duke, which lost at Maryland. Miami plays at Duke on Friday.

"If we want what we want, we were going to have to win at Duke whether they won or lost today," coach Katie Meier said.

The Blue Devils' defeat makes it likely Miami will move into the top five for the first time ever.

Florida State shot 49 percent to 39 for Miami and had 10 more rebounds. But the Hurricanes scored 21 points off turnovers to four for the Seminoles.

"That has to happen for us to win," said Shenise Johnson, who had 23 points and 10 rebounds. "We have to create turnovers and push the tempo. Seventy-five feet of the court has to be ours, because from 15 feet in -- we're a lot smaller than everybody else. So we want to try to speed the game up. That's what we do. That's Miami basketball."

Riquna Williams scored 24 points for the Hurricanes, combining with Johnson to give them a potent one-two punch, as usual.

"We were both aggressive," Johnson said. "We were looking for each other. We did a great job of knowing where each other was."

The Hurricanes earned their 39th consecutive home victory. They swept the season series and earned their 13th consecutive victory. Meier collected her 200th win.

"It feels old," she said with a smile.

FSU's Natasha Howard had her 11th double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds, but she committed six turnovers. Cierra Bravard had 12 points and Chelsea Davis 11 for the Seminoles, who never led in the second half.

Alexa Deluzio's basket capped an 8-0 run that allowed Florida State to briefly tie it at 57 with 5:20 left, but that was their final basket. Miami regained the lead for good with 4:10 to go on a follow shot by Williams, and the Hurricanes sealed the win by sinking five of six free throws in the final 35 seconds.

"If you have a season like we're having, you're going to win in a lot of different ways," Meier said.

Miami raced to an 8-2 lead then fell behind 19-16. Williams and Johnson sank 3-pointers in the final 70 seconds of the first half to give the Hurricanes a 36-31 halftime advantage.

Williams converted a three-point play and sank a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to make it 50-39 -- Miami's biggest lead.