- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida State coach Sue Semrau didn’t attempt to hide her frustration.

Her Seminoles had just been rolled 81-60 by No. 2 Notre Dame and the play on the floor Thursday night was ugly at times.

Outside of a 16-5 run to close the first half, the Fighting Irish had their way for much of the night and Semrau was not amused.

“We came out and had too many mental errors in the second half,” Semrau said. “This is a young team and we have a choice to make whether or not we grow up and stop worrying about the things that go wrong and were not perfect, or we’re just going to continue and be a mediocre basketball team.

“We’ve challenged them with that and going forward we’ll see the result.”

Cheetah Delgado scored a career-high 18 points and Natasha Howard finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for Florida State (15-7, 3-6 Atlantic Coast Conference). Delgado entered the game averaging 7.5 points per game. Brittany Brown scored 10 points while Morgan Jones added eight points and 10 rebounds.

The Seminoles have lost 6 of 7 after starting the season 14-1.

“This was a basketball game that we came out with every intention of trying to win,” Semrau said. “Now it’s on to the next. We’ve got to learn from something from this. Not, ‘Oh we can play with people.’ That’s not what it’s about anymore.”

Natalie Achonwa scored 24 points and Jewell Loyd added 18 to keep Notre Dame (22-0, 9-0) unbeaten. Kayla McBride chipped in 14 points.

The Fighting Irish used a zone to pack the paint and hold Howard seven points below her season average. A 24-5 run in the second half allowed Notre Dame to run away after the Seminoles cut it to 34-33 shortly after halftime.

“We can score,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “I don’t want us to just be a team that tries to outscore people. I want us to be a team that really likes to defend.”

Notre Dame jumped out to a 27-13 lead thanks to a 15-2 run sparked by Achonwa, who scored 15 first-half points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field. The Fighting Irish zone forced the Seminoles into shooting perimeter jump shots. Florida State adjusted and was able to work the ball to Howard from the wings as the Seminoles closed the half with a 16-5 run. Howard scored eight consecutive points during the spurt.

The Seminoles trailed 32-29 at halftime after Delgado hit a runner with 6 seconds remaining. A jumper by Delgado brought Florida State within one point early in the second half, but the Fighting Irish ran away with a heavy dose Loyd, who scored 14 of her 18 after the break. The 24-5 run that put the Seminoles away was highlighted by an alley-oop from Michaela Mabrey to Loyd.

“I think it was all mental,” Delgado said. “When we did things wrong, we didn’t pick up from it and keep our momentum. We didn’t stay together and pick each other up.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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