Bravard's double-double helps coach to milestone victory

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- If Florida State's not the hottest team in the country, they're close to it.

Freshman Cierra Bravard had 16 points and 10 rebounds Friday night, leading the Seminoles (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) to their 12th win in 13 games with a 77-70 victory over North Carolina (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) 77-70 that gave coach Sue Semrau's her 200th victory.

The Seminoles have defeated five ranked teams, including three in the Top 10, since Jan. 3, losing just once since dropping a 73-62 game to top-ranked UConn on Dec. 21.

And they did it this time with leading scorer Jacinta Monroe getting only five points.

"Our preseason schedule prepared us for this," Semrau said. "We're not finished yet. We've got a lot of work to do."

But Bravard, who was playing high school ball in Ohio at this time a year ago, shook off some early butterflies and dominated inside despite being in foul trouble most of the night.

"It took me awhile to get my confidence," Bravard said. "Coming to college and playing this good a team in this conference, it's different, but I think I'm finally starting to get into my groove."

One of three Seminoles to foul out, Bravard put up her double-double in just 20 minutes on the court.

Florida State (21-5, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) built a 15-point lead in the first half and led by as many as 17 late in the game, defeating the Tar Heels for the first time in four years and just the second time in this decade.

"We made them play our game tonight and that made them uncomfortable," Florida State's Mara Freshour said. "We got back and played our pressure defense. They're not used to doing that very often."

North Carolina (20-4, 6-3) dropped two games behind the Seminoles, who remain alone in first place in the ACC. Rashanda McCants 18 points and 13 rebounds, Cetera DeGraffenreid added 16 points and Jessica Breland 11 for the Tar Heels, who shot just 32 percent.

"They're coming together," McCants said. "For anybody out there who has watched them, they're underrated."

Freshour and Tanae Davis-Cain scored 15 points apiece for Florida State, and Angel Gray added a career-best 14.

The Seminoles led 72-55 with 5:42 left, but didn't score another field goal and poor free throw shooting allowed the Tar Heels to whittle the lead down.

"Things have fallen into place for them," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "They've got leadership, they've got experience. They were much, much more physical and intense."

Florida State had a 32-24 lead after a sloppy first half when the two teams combined for 27 turnovers and shot poorly. The Seminoles led despite shooting just 26.3 percent from the floor, but North Carolina made only 24.1 percent of its shots.

The Seminoles used an 25-5 run midway through the first half to build a 28-13 lead with 7:20 left in the half.

Bravard, who had her second double-double, had eight points and eight rebounds in the opening half. She had 13 points and 12 rebounds during a win at Northern Colorado on Dec. 18.

Monroe, Florida State's leading scorer, didn't get her first basket until 16:51 left in the game and finished with just five points.

Friday's crowd of 6,309 fans nearly doubled the previous record to watch a Florida State women's game.