TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Courtney Ward scored a career-high 31 points, making a career-best seven 3-pointers, to help No. 16 Florida State beat 23rd-ranked Vanderbilt 72-66 on Sunday.
Freshman Natasha Howard added 11 points for FSU, which led 33-25 at the half but fought off a furious second-half charge by Vanderbilt.
"It is early in the season and it was a really good game for both teams," Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb said. "Obviously we got down by 11 and came back and I thought we did a good job, but it was one of those games where I think we wore ourselves out making our comeback."
Vanderbilt trailed for much of the game but gradually chipped away at FSU's lead and went ahead 38-37 with 13:32 left in the second half on Tiffany Clark's inside basket.
The teams traded baskets until the final minutes. Ward made all 6 of her free throws in the game's final minutes, helping seal the win for Florida State (4-0).
"It has been tough. We've had a lot of injuries and haven't had a lot of full court practices and our kids were real tired," Balcomb added. "At this level, that was the most tired I've seen one of my teams. I thought we fought and I was proud of our fight."