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Florida State women fall to No. 8 Maryland 87-77

Friday - 2/21/2014, 7:30am  ET

Maryland's Alyssa Thomas, right, shoots as Florida State's Natasha Howard defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Florida State coach Sue Semrau figured the best way to beat No. 8 Maryland was to smother the Terrapins' inside game and force them to fire away from the outside.

Semrau never expected Katie Rutan to etch her name in the Maryland record book with a brilliant long-range shooting display, and as a result the Seminoles fell 87-77 on Thursday night.

Terps forward Alyssa Thomas had 22 points, a career-high 12 assists and 12 rebounds -- her fourth triple-triple of the season. But the Seminoles were undone by Rutan who scored 24 points and tied a Maryland single-game record with eight 3-pointers (in 10 attempts).

"I'm just so impressed with Maryland," Semrau said. "We wanted to take away their interior. We did a decent job of that, and then Katie went off shooting the 3. That's a hard combination to guard when (they) have so many weapons."

Natasha Howard scored 35 and Morgan Jones added 18 for the Seminoles (17-9, 5-8 Atlantic Coast Conference). It wasn't enough.

"It really doesn't matter how many points I score. I just want to help my team get better," Howard said.

It was the eighth loss in 11 games for the Seminoles.

Coming off an 84-63 loss at Duke on Monday, the Terrapins (21-5, 9-4) never trailed after a 3-pointer by Rutan made it 5-3. The margin quickly reached double figures, swelled to 18 by halftime and passed 20 points in the opening three minutes of the second half.

Rutan scored 18 in the first half, Thomas had 12 points and eight assists and Maryland outrebounded the Seminoles 21-9 in going up 53-35.

Thomas had assists on Maryland's first three baskets and added a jumper off the glass for a 9-6 lead. Minutes later, Rutan and Lexie Brown drilled successive 3-pointers to make it 17-10.

After Jones countered for FSU, Rutan connected from beyond the arc to spark a 9-0 spurt that forced Semrau to burn her second timeout.

At that point, the Terps were 10 for 14 from the floor, including 4 for 4 on 3-point tries.

"I think you have to pick your poison," Semrau said. "Their interior game is go good, and then you've got Alyssa Thomas who can go inside and outside. Then you add someone who can shoot the ball like Katie."

Jones kept the Seminoles within striking distance by making her first four shots, each from beyond the arc.

Maryland led 35-25 before Brown made two baskets and Rutan hit a 3-pointer during a 9-2 run that upped the margin to 17.

Jones started the second half with a 3-pointer, but Maryland answered with a 7-0 spurt that made it 60-38.


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