CLEMSON, S.C. -- Florida State coach Sue Semrau is happy to get any road win in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
She wasn't thrilled with her Seminoles' (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) poor effort in an 83-73 victory over Clemson on Thursday night. The Lady Tigers have lost 50 straight games to ranked opponents.
"I'm going to get on them. I thought our captains showed up to play and everyone else just came out kind of lackluster," Semrau said.
Florida State (15-4, 3-1 ACC) never trailed. But the Seminoles shot poorly, played bad defense in stretches and let a Lady Tigers team that has lost 16 of its last 17 against them hang around too long, Semrau said.
"We can't do that. We've got big games ahead," Semrau said.
Up next is a showdown Monday with the ACC's surprise team, Miami. The Hurricanes (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) have opened 4-0 in the league.
The Seminoles came into the game ranked 14th in the country in field goal shooting at 45.4 percent. But they shot just 36.5 percent Thursday night, while Clemson shot 44.3 percent.
The difference came on the boards and at the foul line. Florida State made 22-of-34 free throws, while Clemson (8-12, 1-4) only went to the line six times, making five foul shots. The Seminoles also had 12 more offensive rebounds.
"We take those offensive rebounds away and half their free-throw attempts and we're in there," said Lady Tigers first-year coach Itoro Coleman.
Clemson fought back from an early 11-point deficit to tie the game at 51 with 13 minutes to go, but Florida State answered with a 25-10 run in the next 10 minutes, led by three 3-pointers by Courtney Ward, whose finished with a team high 21 points.
"When we scored, we got a little too lazy on the defensive end," Ward said. "They got off a couple of 3s they shouldn't have got off."
Shaniqua Pauldo led Clemson with 21 points. Chancie Dunn added 18.
Alexa Deluzio added 17 points, while Natasha Howard had 16 points and nine rebounds and Cierra Bravard added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Florida State, who bounced back from a 17-point loss last Friday to No. 3 Duke.
The Seminoles jumped out to a 13-2 lead Thursday night as Deluzio scored seven points in the first four minutes of the game. But Florida State could never put the Lady Tigers away.
Pauldo helped Clemson creep back in, and her two free throws with two minutes left in the first half cut Florida State's lead to 29-27.
The Lady Tigers stayed close, finally tying it at 51 on Chancie Dunn's basket with 13:30 to go. They had two chances to take the lead, but both times the shots rolled around the rim before popping out.
Deluzio put Florida State up for good with a driving bucket and free throw. Howard followed with a short jumper, and then Deluzio buried a 3 that put the Seminoles up 59-51 with 10:48 to go.
"I couldn't even be disappointed in how my girls fought tonight. There were times early on in the season that they would hang their heads. But they didn't. They just kept chipping away and chipping away and fighting," said Coleman, a point guard for the Lady Tigers from 1995-99, when they were among the ACC elite, making the NCAA tournament 14 out of 15 seasons.
But Clemson has missed the NCAAs eight years in a row.
The tables have turned for Florida State, which used to be the ACC's doormat. When Semrau took over in 1997, Florida State was coming off an 0-16 season. But the Seminoles have shared the ACC regular-season title the past two years.
"Things cycle, I guess," Semrau said. "I hope we don't cycle back down anytime soon."