Nicolle Thomas' 27 Points Not Enough In 82-67 Loss To No. 12 Florida State
Nov. 27, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- An 11-0 run early in the second half put 12th-ranked Florida State up for good as the Seminoles (5-0) pulled out the 82-67 victory over Auburn (3-3) in the Tigers' first game of the 2009 Seminole Classic.
Freshman Nicolle Thomas scored 27 points in the loss, the most of any Auburn player this season, while redshirt junior Jordan Greenleaf neared a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Alli Smalley also scored in double figures for Auburn, tallying 11 points.
The Tigers stayed with the nationally-ranked Seminoles through the first half and even led by nine with 6:50 left to play, but Florida State closed out the period on a 14-4 run to take a 31-30 lead into halftime. Auburn battled in the second half, again taking the lead after a 6-2 start to the period, but Florida State responded with an 11-0 run that put the Seminoles up for good.
"We are a young team, still trying to learn to play together for 40 minutes," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "I liked the fight and I was pleased with the effort they gave tonight. I thought we played hard and competed hard, we just were not able to put a full game together."
Florida State led by as many as 17 points in the second half, taking a 59-42 lead with 10:35 left to play. Auburn was able to cut it down to 11 points at the 6:35 mark thanks to 17-of-22 free throw shooting in the second half, but that would be as close as the Tigers would come.
"We did not shoot the ball well in the second half, but you have to give credit to Florida State's defense," said Fortner. "They played really good pressure, man-to-man defense and we got a cold hand. You have to be able to knock down shots, especially on the road."
Auburn shot 50 percent, 11-of-22, in the first half, but shot only 9-of-32 in the second half for 28.1 percent. Auburn's 3-point shooting, which was a big boost in the first half at 4-of-8, suffered in the second half as the Tigers connected on only two of 11 attempts.
The Tigers did put together their best free throw shooting night of the season, connecting on 21 of 28 attempts for 75 percent.
Thomas went 6-of-6 from the charity stripe, en route to scoring a game-high 27 points. It is the most points scored by an Auburn player since DeWanna Bonner tallied 32 against Ole Miss in the 2009 SEC Tournament. Thomas scored 18 of her 22 points in the first half, marking the second consecutive game she has scored in double figures in the opening half.
"Nicolle was not afraid to shoot the ball tonight," said Fortner. "She came out with the hot hand and really gave us a boost."
Also stepping up was Greenleaf, who was averaging just 4.0 points and 6.2 rebounds coming into the game. She came close to a double-double, coming one point shy of her career high with 16 points while pulling down nine rebounds.
"I thought Jordan had a really nice game, she is such a competitor and tonight she found her groove," said Fortner. "Hopefully she will continue to have that. She is coming off that ACL injury from last year and she was finally able to find her way on the court and we need that to happen with her."
Alysha Harvin led Florida State with 18 points and eight rebounds, followed by Jacinta Monroe with 17. Monroe also tallied eight rebounds and seven blocked shots in the game. Courtney Ward followed with 12 points and nine assists while Alexa Deluzio tallied 11 points off the bench.
The Seminoles shot 49.2 percent from the field, knocking down 53.1 percent in the second half. After going 0-for-6 from beyond the arc in the first half, Florida State got the hot hand in the second half on 6-of-9 shooting. FSU also out-rebounded Auburn 44-33.
Auburn will return to action at 1 p.m. CT, Saturday in its second game of the 2009 Seminole Classic. The Tigers will take on Florida A&M (3-1) at the Tucker Civic Center. The Rattlers played Missouri in its Seminole Classic opener, dropping the 69-65 decision for their first loss of the season.
Fans can follow the action live with GameTracker at AuburnTigers.com. Live audio is also available at AuburnTigers.com and locally on Mix 96.7 with Andy Burcham and Arnika Edwards calling the action.
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