TAMPA ― In this season of mounting misfortune, few things are less affordable to USF’s women than another injury.
But a wretched shooting night is one of them.
Turnover-prone and unable to buy an outside basket, the Bulls ― who again suited up only eight players ― went scoreless over the final 7:20 in a 47-40 loss Wednesday night to Memphis before a Yuengling Center audience of 2,164.
Down by 12 in the first half, USF (11-8, 2-3) rallied with a 22-5 run spanning the second and third periods before its late meltdown. The Bulls shot 31.1 percent for the game (19-for-61) and hit only one of 20 3-point attempts.
“We have a very small room for error,” said Bulls coach Jose Fernandez, ejected after being slapped with two technicals with a second to play.
“We’re playing everybody in the conference with their full, healthy squad, where we can’t have guys play the way they did. That can’t happen.”
Preceding the collapse was one of USF’s best defensive quarters of the season. The Bulls held Memphis (8-10, 2-3) to one third-period point to take a 36-31 lead entering the fourth, and built a 40-33 cushion on freshman Elisa Pinzan’s 3-pointer with 7:21 to go.
Leading the limited offensive charge to that point was 6-foot-1 junior Tamara Henshaw (career-best 16 points, 11 rebounds) and 6-2 sophomore Shae Leverett (eight points, 12 boards). All of their 24 combined points came in the paint.
But after Pinzan’s trey, the Bulls missed their final 10 shots and committed four turnovers.
“(Henshaw) and Shae were great on the glass and finishing around the rim,” Fernandez said. “But you’re 1-for-20 from 3-point land, you’re not gonna win that way.”
The game ended with Fernandez getting tossed after an out-of-bounds call went Memphis' way following Bulls freshman Enna Pehadzic’s off-balance 3-point attempt with two seconds to go.
Memphis' Taylor Barnes hit all four of the ensuing free throws, which were twice as many as USF attempted in the game.
“I finished the game in the locker room for a reason," Fernandez said. "That’s what I think of that.”
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.