<
>

Florida State's Cierra Bravard fuels late rally vs. NC State

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Cierra Bravard was having a day filled with frustration. She credited her teammates for helping her turn it into one with a postgame celebration.

Bravard scored eight of her 14 points in the final four minutes to help Florida State (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) beat North Carolina State 76-69 on Sunday.

"When I kind of lose confidence, my whole team is behind me and they're kind of picking me up," Bravard said. "I've missed five shots in a row, and they're still throwing me the ball, so obviously they think I can do something with it."

Chasity Clayton scored 16 points for the Seminoles (18-4, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won for the ninth time in 10 games. Natasha Howard added 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Christian Hunnicutt had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Florida State.

The Seminoles, who scored the game's first 10 points, watched a 15-point lead disappear early in the second half before rallying for their fourth consecutive victory over N.C. State.

"The way that they came back, they're physical, they fight, they never quit," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "You always know you're going to get that kind of game when you come up here."

Bonae Holston scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Wolfpack (9-12, 1-6). Kody Burke added 13 points for N.C. State.

Holston made 14 of 23 shots from the field. Her teammates combined to make just 13 of 53 shots as the Wolfpack dropped their fifth game in a row.

That stretch features four losses by 10 points or fewer to ranked teams, including a 65-64 defeat at the hands of No. 3 Duke, the nation's lone unbeaten team.

"I told the kids downstairs that I'm proud of them. I thought they played well," N.C. State coach Kellie Harper said. "Again, we're just not finishing. Give us 35 minutes, and in our last few games we're playing well. Unfortunately, it's a 40-minute game."

Bravard hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to put the Seminoles ahead 66-64 with 3:38 remaining. She succeeded with the same move on Florida State's next possession to extend the lead to four.

After N.C. State cut the lead to 69-67 on a free throw by Holston with 1:50 remaining, Bravard responded with a layup and two free throws to put the Seminoles ahead 73-67 with 49.8 seconds to play.

Bravard, a 6-4 post player who leads Florida State in scoring, had made just 2 of 7 shots from the field before her late spurt.

"Having people out there that want to go to me and need me and want me out there kind of helps," she said. "That's really all you need."

N.C. State, which trailed 29-14 with 7:15 remaining in the first half, erased that deficit soon after halftime. The Wolfpack put together a 12-2 run early in the second half to take their first lead at 45-44 after a three-point play by Amber White with 15:45 remaining.

The teams exchanged the lead four more times before Florida State went ahead 58-57 on a jumper by Clayton with 9:36 remaining.

N.C. State fought back behind Holston, who scored seven consecutive points for her team down the stretch. After hitting a jumper and a layup, Holston made a floater in the lane to tie the score at 64 with 3:59 to play.

The game was part of the sixth-annual Hoops 4 Hope event at N.C. State to raise awareness for breast cancer. The Wolfpack wore special pink uniforms and pink shoes, and Florida State's players wore pink shoes and socks with their black uniforms.

The event raised more than $50,000 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, named for the Wolfpack's Hall of Fame coach who died in January 2009 after a long battle with the disease.