TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jacinta Monroe was sure she'd drawn a charge. Shanavia Dowdell was sure it was a blocking foul.
Monroe got the call. Florida State got the break.And thanks largely to that one play, the Seminoles advanced in the NCAA women's tournament.Monroe and Courtney Ward each scored 16 points, and third-seeded Florida State clamped down defensively in the second half to escape with a 75-61 win over 14th-seeded Louisiana Tech on Saturday."I wish it wasn't this compelling," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said.Chasity Clayton and Alexa Deluzio each added 10 points for Florida State (27-5), which will play St. John's in the second round of the Dayton Regional on Monday night.Dowdell scored 22 of her 28 points in the first half, and Jasmine Bendolph added 11 for Louisiana Tech (23-9), which was back in the NCAAs for the first time since 2006 and led by nine after 15 minutes.The highlights stopped there for Teresa Weatherspoon's club, which shot 5 for 30 after halftime."This group of ladies have battled all year long, have battled many adversities that no one would ever imagine that this team has gone through behind closed doors, but yet still went between the four lines and performed," Weatherspoon said. "You can't ask for more than that."Dowdell was 10 for 10 from inside the arc in the first half -- her only miss was a 3-pointer -- despite playing much of the opening period with two fouls. If they stopped keeping score after 11 minutes, Dowdell alone would have beaten Florida State, 17-16. When she scored with 6:03 remaining until halftime, she had 22 of Louisiana Tech's 32 points, and the Lady Techsters held a seven-point lead.Foul No. 3 changed everything.With 4:31 left, she made yet another shot from the right block that got waved off, after Monroe was deemed to have beaten her to the spot. Florida State was down seven when Dowdell had to go to the bench; a 13-6 run to end the half tied the game at 40 at halftime."I really don't think it was a foul," Dowdell said. "I think it was just they had the momentum going and it played into their hands."Florida State kept the momentum in the second half, mostly because it kept the ball out of Dowdell's hands.Two, sometimes three, players were around Dowdell -- the two-time WAC player of the year -- at all times in the final 20 minutes, as the Seminoles dared Louisiana Tech to have someone else step up and make shots.No one did.Dowdell didn't get her first shot of the second half until missing a jumper with 11:45 left, and didn't get a field goal after halftime until making a jumper with 3:15 remaining."I think I was kind of being too passive," Dowdell said. "When they put two people on me, I still should have been aggressive. I let them slow me down."Florida State was up by 10 before that score by Dowdell gave the Lady Techsters one last spark. They scored the next six points, getting within 65-61 on a 3-pointer by Bendolph with 1:57 left.Dowdell fouled out on the ensuing Florida State possession, Deluzio made two free throws to push the lead back to six, and the Seminoles ended the game on a 10-0 run.With Dowdell on the floor, Louisiana Tech outscored Florida State 55-52.Without her, the Lady Techsters were outscored 23-6."Dowdell is a handful," Semrau said. "She is going to be a great player in the pros."Just like her coach was.Weatherspoon, much like during her playing days at Louisiana Tech and in the WNBA, was fiery throughout, shaking her fist, giving high-fives and even kicking the side of the scorer's table once.It gave her team a boost. Just not enough of one to hold off the deeper Seminoles."I am super-proud of the way we performed, how we represented Louisiana Tech and the Lady Techster program, getting back in the NCAA tournament," Weatherspoon said. "A place where we belong."