The Press Newspaper
Florida State women’s basketball senior forward Natasha Howard (Waite) has been named an all-region nominee for the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association All-America Team, the WBCA announced.
Howard is among 52 candidates across Division I women’s basketball who are now eligible for selection to the 10-member WBCA Division I Coaches’ All-America Team that will be announced on Saturday, April 5, during the NCAA Women’s Final Four Super Saturday festivities in Nashville, Tenn.
The Toledo native is one of seven candidates from Region 2, joining Duke’s Tricia Liston, Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas, NC State’s Markeisha Gatling, Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd and Wake Forest’s Dearica Hamby.
Howard is trying to become the 14th All-American at Florida State, with the last being former player Cierra Bravard who was honored as a 2011 State Farm/WBCA Honorable Mention All-American.
Howard’s senior season was one of the best in program history. She became the third player at Florida State to average over 20 points, finishing the 2013-14 season averaging 20.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and shooting 59.4 percent from the floor. Her 675 total points this year is the second-most at FSU, only behind legendary player Sue Galkantas’ 710 points scored in 1981-82.
Highlighting Howard’s super year were her performances against arguably the nation’s top conference in the ACC. She averaged 23.9 points and 9.7 rebounds in 18 games against ACC competition, posting five 30-point games including a school-record 40 points at Syracuse on Feb. 13. No one in school history had posted as many 30-point performances in a season.
She established a school-record 15 double-doubles in 2013-14, and holds the FSU mark with 41 for her career. Howard also recorded 14 made field goals in four ACC games against Syracuse, Duke, Virginia and Miami – that is the most of any player in conference play and she owns the top four marks.
The No. 10 seeded Florida State women’s basketball team bowed out of its ninth NCAA Tournament in the last 10 seasons after falling to No. 2 seed Stanford, 63-44, on Monday evening in the NCAA Second Round at the Hilton Coliseum.
Making their 11th straight appearance in the second round of the Big Dance, the Seminoles (21-12) fell behind on a 26-2 run by the No. 6-ranked Cardinals that ended the first half and were never able to catch up. After Florida State jumped out to a 14-6 lead by forcing turnovers and converting them into points, Stanford began to work the ball around and get good offensive possessions to ignite its big run that changed the outcome of the game.
Howard ended her career with nine points and seven rebounds against the Cardinal (31-3). Fellow senior point guard Cheetah Delgado added six points, three assists and three boards as well as three steals. Redshirt sophomore guard Morgan Jones chipped in with eight points.
The Cardinal shot 48.9 percent for the game, but was out-rebounded by FSU, 35-32.
“I give credit to Stanford, they played a great game and we just weren’t able to make shots,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “But I’m proud of what this team was able to accomplish this season, and we were led by two great seniors in Natasha Howard and Cheetah Delgado. Those two were special for us throughout their careers. I’m proud of our entire team for how hard they worked and the character they showed.”
A three-point play by Howard in the lane gave Florida State some momentum as it trailed 41-26 with 13 minutes remaining in the game. However, the Cardinal responded with an immediate 3-pointer by Bonnie Samuelson and a fastbreak layup by Lili Thompson to extend the Stanford lead back to 46-26 with just under 12 minutes left.
In the NCAA opener, a gritty defensive effort by Florida State limited No. 7 Iowa State offensively as it earned a 55-44 win over ISU in front of a boisterous Cyclone crowd of 6,759 on Saturday night in the NCAA First Round at the Hilton Coliseum.
The victory gave Florida State its 11th consecutive opening-round win in the NCAA Tournament.
“Iowa State does so many nice things, but they don’t play against a zone much as most teams,” Semrau said. “We couldn’t just match up and hope to beat them. I’m very proud of our team for the way they handled themselves tonight in front of a great crowd.”
A balanced scoring effort was the highlight for Florida State on the offensive end. Seniors Natasha Howard and Cheetah Delgado led the way with 10 points apiece, while Lauren Coleman and Morgan Jones each posted nine. Seven of Jones’ nine points came at the free-throw line when FSU was in need of free points down the stretch to help close out the game.
Howard shot 5-of-9 from the field as the Cyclones closed in hard on her. She added 13 rebounds, a game high, to mark her 41st career double-double and her 44th career double-digit rebounding effort. Her offensive board and put-back with 8:37 remaining in the first half made her FSU’s all-time leading rebounder, passing Seminole legend Cherry Rivers (1976-80). Howard now has 1,043 career boards.
“We know that Iowa State is a good shooting team, and we knew we needed to rebound,” Howard said following the game. “So I think everyone made sure they boxed out. That was our main focus with Iowa State because they are a really good rebounding team.”
For more information on Florida State women's basketball throughout the offseason, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).