Extended game story: USF women fall to Terps
TAMPA -- USF's women embarked on the 2013-14 season hoping to make a little history, but soon found themselves struggling to make a jumper.
Abysmal from the floor (16-for-61) in the first 29 minutes, the Bulls (0-1) rallied down the stretch but failed to overtake No. 8 Maryland in a 78-70 loss before 1,953 at the Sun Dome.
Seeking its initial win against a top-10 program, the Bulls allowed Maryland to end the first half on a 15-2 run for a 43-28 lead at intermission. The entire spurt came with reigning ACC Player of the Year Alyssa Thomas on the bench in foul trouble.
"That was just demoralizing," Bulls coach Jose Fernandez said.
Thomas finished with as many points (four) as fouls, but Maryland got a staggering 64 points from its bench. USF, meantime, put four players in double figures, but watched top returning scorer Inga Orekhova (two points) finish 0-for-11 from the floor.
"I think our shot selection at times wasn't very good," Fernandez said.
"We tried to go one-on-one. We created a lot of lateral help, and we didn't make the extra pass to the corner...and when we did penetrate we went going in there for contact rather than just finishing plays. And that's on us and we've got to make our kids better."
Down by as many as 16 in the second half, the Bulls cut their deficit to six, 72-66, with 2:41 to play, but watched Maryland go 6-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch. USF missed its last four field goals and shot 31.6 percent for the game (25-for-79).
Sophomore guard Courtney Williams had a career-best 21 points off the bench to lead the Bulls. Former Boca Ciega star Tamara Taylor added 14 -- hitting two of the Bulls' four 3-pointers -- in her first Division I game.
USF shot 4-for-20 from long range.
"It was really frustrating, but...you can't just not shoot anymore because it's not falling, you've just got to have the next-shot mentality," Taylor said. "And I think some of the shots in the first half we were rushing instead of letting the game come to us."