USF women fall short to No. 2 Notre Dame in OT
TAMPA -- One shot away from the biggest win in school history, USF's women's basketball team took No. 2 Notre Dame to overtime in the Sun Dome on Tuesday night, but the Fighting Irish escaped with a 75-71 victory.
USF (11-3, 0-1) got a huge night from senior guard Andrea Smith, who matched a career high with 33 points, including a 3-pointer and basket in the final three minutes to force overtime. Smith had a chance to win in regulation, but her layup with nine seconds left was blocked by All-American guard Skylar Diggins.
"I thought South Florida was fantastic. They did everything they needed to do," said Irish coach Muffet McGraw, whose team knocked off then-No. 1 Connecticut on Saturday. "We came out a little flat and they jumped on us early ... They are a really good team. They should be ranked in the top 25. They're a very, very good basketball team."
USF led briefly in overtime, but the Bulls went 1-for-7 in the extra period and Notre Dame (13-1, 2-0) went 8-for-10 at the line. Senior guard Andrell Smith, who had 15 points, fouled out with 4:27 left, and McGraw said she thought the Bulls would have won had she stayed in the game. The announced attendance was a season-high 2,077.
Diggins had 19 points, six assists and five blocks, with forward Natalie Achonwa scoring a team-high 20 points and guard Jewell Loyd finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Andrea Smith finished 13-for-37 from the field, with 11 rebounds.
"We had the ball with 12, 13 seconds left in front of our bench and a shot to win it. What more can you ask for against the No. 2 team in the counttry," coach Jose Fernandez said. "I'm really proud of this group. You're playing in the best league in the country."