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Florida St. women top cold-shooting Cyclones 55-44

AMES, Iowa – Natasha Howard had her school-record 15th double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds, and 10th-seeded Florida State defeated cold-shooting Iowa State 55-44 in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament on Saturday.

The Seminoles (21-11) won their 11th straight tournament opener since 1991, prevailing in a game in which turnovers outnumbered field goals 44-36. They’ll play No. 2 seeded Stanford or No. 15 South Dakota on Monday night.

Cheetah Delgado had 10 points and six assists and Ivey Slaughter grabbed 13 rebounds for the Seminoles.

Hallie Christofferson scored 13 points, Brynn Williamson added 12 on four 3-pointers, and Jadda Buckey had 10 for the Cyclones (20-11).

Howard came in averaging 29.2 points in her previous nine games but didn’t crack double figures until less than 4 minutes were left.

The seventh-seeded Cyclones, playing on their home court, had their worst shooting performance of the season. Their 15 field goals were a season low, as was their 25.4-percent accuracy. They were just 7 of 38 on 3-pointers (18.4 percent).

The Seminoles led 30-18 at half, and Brittany Brown scored six straight points to push it to 38-23.

Williamson got Iowa State within 10 points with a 3-pointer that swirled around the cylinder before dropping, bringing some life to the Hilton Coliseum crowd. Neither team scored for almost four minutes before Williamson hit another 3 to cut it to 40-33 with 9 minutes left.

The Cyclones had a chance to make it a two-possession game with under 3 minutes left, but Buckley barreled into Slaughter along the baseline for an offensive foul.

Slaughter left a couple minutes later, needing to be helped off the court after she landed hard trying to get a rebound against Christofferson. The nature of her injury wasn’t known.

Florida State’s 18-point halftime lead could have been greater had it not been for its 14 turnovers. The Seminoles finished with 25.

The Cyclones’ 17.9-percent shooting (5 of 28) was their worst in a first half this season. So were their 18 points.

Lauren Coleman made her first three 3-pointers, matching her career high less than five minutes into the game, as the Seminoles got out to a 14-2 lead. The Cyclones missed 15 of their first 16 shots against FSU’s 2-3 zone defense.

Williamson’s consecutive 3s pulled the Cyclones to 22-16, but Delado made a steal and scored six points during the Seminoles’ 8-2 run to end the half.

The Cyclones mostly held Howard in check early, with Christofferson the primary defender on the 6-3 senior forward. Howard was scoreless the first nine minutes, and she ended the half with six points and six rebounds.