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No. 3 Duke holds on for 85-77 OT win at Florida St

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm •  Published: January 23, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State senior Natasha Howard was virtually unstoppable for 20 minutes against Duke. She bounced back from a choppy first half to put up career numbers after halftime.

The Seminoles needed five more minutes of invincibility from their Superwoman.

No. 24-ranked Florida State narrowly missed out on an upset of No. 3 Duke in an 85-77 overtime loss Thursday night.

"It's very frustrating," Florida State guard Morgan Jones said. "We're always that team that it's almost there, we're almost there. So, going out there today, we really wanted to beat them bad.

"We just needed one more tank of gas and we would have been there.

Duke took the best punch Florida State had and seemed to be in trouble midway through the second half. The Blue Devils trailed by eight and Howard was in the midst of a career-night.

The Seminoles (14-5, 2-4) couldn't capitalize on Howard's 28 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks. The 20-20 game was the first for a Florida State player since 2006.

Florida State seemed poised for the upset after taking a 59-51 lead with 10:55 left as Howard dominated. She was 3 for 8 from the field in the first half and went 11 for 13 after halftime.

Jones scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Brittany Brown added 12 points in the loss points.

"I had to get in a rhythm in the first half for a minute," Howard said. "Next thing you know the second half came and I just picked it up a little more for my team and tried to get the victory.

"But I'm proud of this team. ... We're young and we battled with the No. 3-ranked team."

Tricia Liston and Elizabeth Williams, however, wouldn't allow Duke to suffer its second loss of the season.

Liston scored 25 points and Williams had 20 as the Blue Devils needed overtime to beat the Seminoles.

The Blue Devils (19-1, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) used an 11-0 run to rally from a four-point deficit in regulation and score the first seven points in overtime. Alexis Jones hit a step-back jumper to tie the game at 73 and force overtime.

Liston finished with four 3-pointers after scoring just four points in the first half. Williams added seven rebounds and six blocks.

"I love this team, this team fights," Duke coach Joanne McCallie said. "For a while there I'm not sure we were totally into it but we felt we should've been doing better.

"But then all of sudden you could see it, this is what it is."

But as Howard rebounded from a rough first half, so did Liston. The Blue Devils' leader went 6 for 9 from the field after the opening 20 minutes and scored 21 points.

Florida State outrebounded Duke 51-42, but the Blue Devils had plenty of second chances with 21 offensive boards.

Jones tied a Duke record with 15 assists in the school's first overtime game since 2009.

"I think today was really great for us," Liston said. "There was a point where we all looked at each other and said we got to get going we have to come together right now and start getting our stops and took it down on offense and momentum was there."

The Seminoles shot just two free throws all game while the Blue Devils shot 49.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from long-range. This was the second overtime game for Florida State this season, the other came against then fourth-ranked Louisville.

"You put your heart out there and you let the chips fall," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said.


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