Free throws costly as No. 4 Louisville stunned by No. 17 Florida State 68-63



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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The deficit kept getting deeper and deeper. Louisville coach Jeff Walz hadn't seen anything quite like it.

As Florida State made 8 of 9 shots to open the game, the Cardinals misfired and fell behind 21-1. And even though Louisville battled back and led by six points with six minutes left in the game, he was frustrated with the Cardinals' sloppy start.

"It's 21-1," Walz said. "It was an embarrassment. Florida State came out and played harder than we did."

The fourth-ranked Cardinals couldn't recover falling 68-63 to the No. 17 Seminoles on Thursday night.

Louisville (17-2, 5-1) was down big but not for very long. Jude Schimmel had 10 first-half points as the Cardinals gradually clawed back into the game and trailed just 35-32 at halftime.

The Cardinals took their first lead with 18:44 left in the game on a Sara Hammond layup. Louisville and Florida State traded the lead throughout the second half, and the Cardinals pulled ahead 60-54 with 6 minutes left on a Mariya Moore 3-pointer.

But Florida State (18-2, 5-1) tied the game at 63 with 1:34 left on a free throw by Leticia Romero. Neither team scored for a minute until Shakayla Thomas' driving layup with 33 seconds left put the Seminoles ahead for good, 65-63.

Louisville's Megan Deines missed a 3-pointer with 1 second left that could have sent the game to overtime. The Cardinals fouled, and Thomas made two free throws to seal the victory.

Sara Hammond had 14 of her 19 points in the second half for Louisville, knocking down 9 of 14 shots from the floor. Schimmel added 14 points and eight rebounds.

Neither team shot well from the free-throw line, leaving behind plenty of missed opportunities. Florida State made just 10 of 24 (41.7 percent), while Louisville made 14 of 25 (56 percent).

"We're a bad free-throw shooting team," Walz said. "It's a really hard concept to sit there with nobody guarding you and step up and make free throws. I've got to do a better job of coaching it and trying to figure out a way to get our kids to step up with confidence and make them.

"I have been telling them, 'We're going to lose a game because we don't shoot free throws.' "

Walz was right as Florida State's biggest win since a victory in January 2009 over No. 3 Texas A&M.

Florida State coach Sue Semrau hopes that the win over Louisville, coupled with a previous win over No. 15 Duke, can help the Seminoles achieve their goal of getting back to hosting first- and second-round games of the NCAA tournament.

"Any time you can beat a team with a high RPI, that definitely helps your case," Semrau said. "I love this team's heart, I love their character. I love their fight."

While Maegan Conwright led Florida State with 17 points, Thomas had some of the biggest baskets in the second half and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Hammond had a big night with 19 points on 9 of 14 shooting, but Louisville's other stars struggled. Moore had seven points, while Hines-Allen had four points and Smith added two points.

TIP-INS:

Louisville: The Cardinals struggled behind the arc, making just 3 of 13 3-pointers.

Florida State: Adut Bulgak returned to the court after missing two games with a concussion. She had seven points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: Neither team shot well from the free-throw line, leaving behind plenty of missed opportunities. Florida State made just 10 of 24 (41.7 percent), while Louisville made 14 of 25 (56 percent).

"We're a bad free-throw shooting team," Walz said. "It's a really hard concept to sit there with nobody guarding you and step up and make free throws. I've got to do a better job of coaching it and trying to figure out a way to get our kids to step up with confidence and make them.

"I have been telling them, 'We're going to lose a game because we don't shoot free throws.' "

Florida State won despite making just 8 of 17 free-throw attempts in the second half.

UP NEXT:

Louisville: host Miami on Sunday

Florida State: host Wake Forest on Sunday

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