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Cold shooting hurts USF women on road

4

January

We wrote in Saturday's preview capsule that USF's women's basketball game at Marquette was the kind the Bulls need to win if they're going to make the NCAA Tournament -- no Big East road game is easy, but the Bulls won there last season, and Marquette was just 5-4 at home, with recent home losses to Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

A horrid shooting night from USF's top three scorers doomed the Bulls on Saturday in a 68-60 loss that takes some of the intrigue away from Tuesday's home game against No. 1 Connecticut. Had USF come in with a 10-game win streak, it'd be easier to pitch the game as a battle of the top two scoring teams in the country, but a loss like this makes it harder to think USF could play close with the undefeated Huskies.

What went wrong at Marquette? The Bulls went 2-for-18 on 3-pointers, and guards Shantia Grace, Jazmine Sepulveda and Janae Stokes went a combined 9-for-40 overall. Grace had 17 points, but the Bulls weren't the defensive presence they've been, forcing just 13 turnovers, less than half their average. What's more, the Bulls were outrebounded 46-39, and with post players Jessica Lawson, Brittany Denson and Porche Grant going 12-for-17, it's curious why they didn't get the ball more inside. Starting forward Alexis Givands, who missed a game for personal reasons last week, was missing from the lineup again.

This opening loss could dig quite a hole for USF, which now faces the Huskies, then St. John's and Louisville at home. St. John's is 13-1, and Louisville is 14-1 and ranked 13th nationally. Then they're at No. 22 Pittsburgh, so USF easily could be 1-4 or even 0-5 in the Big East before their next "easy" game, which is Jan. 20 at last-place Providence, the only league team with a losing record. If you figure the Bulls need a .500 league record to make the NCAA cut, that's a lot to overcome ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 1:35pm]

    

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