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FSU keeps it close early, but UConn's depth proves too much in a 70-52 loss.
Published March 23, 2005
STORRS, Conn. - Connecticut's depth and defense carried the three-time defending national champions again.
Ann Strother scored 19 to lead the third-seeded Huskies to a 70-52 victory over Florida State on Tuesday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
UConn, in the Sweet 16 for the 12th consecutive year, has won its past 20 NCAA games since falling to Notre Dame in the 2001 national semifinals and faces Stanford on Sunday.
The sixth-seeded Seminoles were trying to advance past the second round for the first time and for the first 10 minutes matched UConn basket for basket. Senior Roneeka Hodges, who finished with 28 points, provided most of the FSU's offense.
"I just came out and played my game," Hodges said. "I scored 28 points.
"But we lost the game, so it really didn't matter."
Huskies coach Geno Auriemma went to his deep bench early and quickly wore down the Seminoles after they led 14-12.
The first wave of substitutes, which included freshmen Mel Thomas, Ketia Swanier and Charde Houston, turned up the tempo. In their first sequence, Houston hit a driving layup, Thomas came up with a loose ball and Swanier took a charge.
"Defensively, we covered everything we wanted to cover. Offensively, we were really in synch with each other," Auriemma said. "When we put in a whole new group, I think it took its toll on Florida State because I think they were already a little bit winded."
The Huskies' transition game wore down the Seminoles, and the Huskies closed the half with a 28-5 run for a 40-19 lead.
FSU made just two field goals during the final 11:23 of the half, both by Hodges. She had all five of FSU's field goals in the half. The Huskies slowed the tempo in the second half, but the cushion was too large for the Seminoles to overcome despite 16 more points from Hodges.
"We felt like we could come out and put up a great fight," said FSU coach Sue Semrau, whose team won 20 games for the first time since 1990-91.
"If we did the things that we do well, then we had a shot at it. Their strength really hurt us."