President G.W. Bush watches Howard, Griner battle
Florida State and junior forward Natasha Howard (Waite) knew it was in for the challenge of all challenges in their second-round NCAA Tournament game and Brittney Griner and defending national champion Baylor lived up to the hype in the Seminoles' season-ending 85-47 loss.
Howard wrapped up her third collegiate season in Waco, Texas, as the eighth-seeded Seminoles fell to the defending national champions and first-seeded Baylor Bears on their home court in the NCAA Tournament second round.
|Florida State junior forward Natasha Howard
(Waite) scores against top-ranked Baylor.
(Photo by Rod Aydelotte/FSU SID)
Two days earlier, Howard’s spectacular defensive effort led FSU past No. 9 seed Princeton in the tournament’s opening round on Sunday at the Ferrell Center. The Toledo native tied an FSU postseason record with five blocks as the Noles held the Tigers to a season-low 44 points.
Howard had one of the finest all-around seasons in Florida State history in 2012-13, leading the Seminoles to a 23-10 record and a Top 25 ranking throughout the season with averages of 12.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.8 steals, while shooting 49 percent from the floor. She was named to the All-ACC First Team and will enter her senior campaign already ranked ninth in FSU history in rebounds (740) and fifth in blocks (110).
And while the No. 1-seeded Baylor Bears (34-1) were "as advertised" in their 32nd consecutive victory this season and 57th consecutive triumph on their home floor at the Ferrell Center, the No. 8-seed Seminoles (23-10) deserve credit of their own.
"Fight" was the team's buzzword throughout the season and FSU did just that in its last contest of the year despite Griner's larger-than-life play (the 6-foot-8 center dunked three times in her final home game) and the presence of a sold out crowd intent on loudly sending her out in style.
"We don't play for personal achievement," FSU senior guard Alexa Deluzio said. "We play for each other so you can't really stop fighting if that's what you're fighting for."
Howard posted eight points and a team-leading six rebounds. Griner finished the game with 33 points, 22 rebounds and four assists before checking out for good with 6:06 left.
Florida State did force Baylor into committing 19 turnovers but couldn't find the shooting touch on the opposite end. The 'Noles were 26 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range and Baylor was able to shoot 56 percent from the field and 44 percent from long distance.
The Bears also won the rebounding battle, 56-25, and scored 64 of their 85 points in the paint.
"I thought we got great looks, we just didn't knock them down," FSU coach Sue Semrau said. "And I thought that because we are an offensive-oriented team that we struggled mentally and maybe a little bit emotionally with our lack of production offensively and it played into our transition defense."
Baylor never trailed in the game after building an early 11-0 lead.
The contest was watched by former United States President George W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who met with and spoke with Howard and the Seminoles in the locker room before the game started.
Glass City Marathon
As spring arrives in the Toledo area, interest in participating in one of the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon events on April 28 is increasing, according to Race Director Clint McCormick. March 31 is the deadline for receiving a free marathon t-shirt with your registration.
“We are averaging about 75 to 100 registrations per day right now,” McCormick said. “We have passed the 5,000 registrant mark, and expect about 1,500 more runners to register by race day.” The 2012 events had a total of 6,000 runners.
Considered one of the fastest marathon courses in the Midwest and one of the top 25 marathons in the country, the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon begins and ends at the University of Toledo, winding through Old Orchard, Ottawa Hills and Sylvania Township neighborhoods before finishing in Glass Bowl Stadium. It features little elevation change, smooth roads, metropark running, a stadium finish and a great post race party. The RRCA has designated this marathon as the Regional Championship race, and it is an excellent Boston qualifier.
The Owens Corning Half Marathon has sold out, and tickets are selling quickly for the five-person Marathon Relay, the 5K run and the Findley Davies Kids Marathon.
The event’s official charities include the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, the Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, Kids Unlimited, Family House, Catholic Charities, Girls on the Run and Research Down Syndrome. Sponsors of the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon include Medical Mutual, Owens Corning, YARK Subaru, The University of Toledo, The Toledo Blade, WNWO-TV, Cumulus Broadcasting, The Andersons, Subway, Metroparks of Toledo, Dave's Running, Michelob Ultra, Findley Davies and Great Black Swamp Brewery.
For more information or to register, visit www.glasscitymarathon.org.
The Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon is produced by the Toledo Roadrunners Club, a private non-profit organization that organizes several local running events each year and supports camaraderie through friends who share a lifestyle of fitness enthusiasm. Visit www.toledoroadrunners.org.
Florida State junior forward Natasha Howard (Waite) scores against Princeton in a first-round NCAA tournament game. (Photo by Rod Aydelotte/FSU SID)
Florida State junior forward Natasha Howard (Waite) scores against top-ranked Baylor. (Photo by Rod Aydelotte/FSU SID)