USF Wins A Thriller, 59-58, Over Villanova
PHILADELPHIA - The University of South Florida women's basketball team closed out its regular season road schedule on Saturday afternoon at Villanova and did so in thrilling fashion getting a much needed win heading into their regular season finale on Monday night against Georgetown at home as they handed the Wildcats a 59-58 loss at The Pavilion.
The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Bulls.
Leondra Doomes-Stephens scored a game-high 19 points and Tiffany Conner added 13 points for the Bulls in the win. The duo also shared team-high rebounding honors with seven boards apiece.
But it was Andrea Smith who hit the game winner with six seconds left on the clock to ice the victory.
The Wildcats (10-18, 2-13 BIG EAST) jumped out on top from the opening tip, but couldn't get the lead past four points for the majority of the first nine minutes.
The Wildcats, however, would push their lead to five points, 20-15, on a lay-up by Laura Sweeney with 10:28 left in the first half and then extend the advantage to a 14 points, 33-19, when Lindsay Kimmel hit a three-pointer with 4:21 left in the first stanza to cap a 13-4 Villanova run.
The Wildcats would use a 50 percent (13-26) first half shooting performance to take a 35-33 lead into the locker room at the break.
Both teams would come out cold to start the second half, however the Bulls would eventually start to use its defense to create offense.
USF (11-18, 2-13 BIG EAST) would force the Wildcats into five turnovers in the first nine minutes of the second stanza after Villanova had just four in the first 20 minutes - to spearhead a 17-7 run and cut the Wildcats lead to three - 42-39, on a three-pointer by Andrell Smith.
After exchanging baskets the Bulls would get the lead to one point, 45-44, on an Andrea Smith three with 9:55 remaining in the game.
Villanova would take the edge back and go up by as many as five points, 51-46, on two free throws by Amanda Swiezynski with 6:50 left on the clock, but USF would keep the game within reach.
After Conner tied the game for just the second time, 55-55, on a three-pointer with 2:05 left, the Bulls would take advantage of a Doomes-Stephens steal and lay-up two possessions later to take its biggest lead of the game, 57-55, with 1:06 left.
Villanova's Kimmel, however, would strike the next time down court draining a deep trey to give the Wildcats the lead back, 58-57, with 15 seconds left.
USF coach Jose Fernandez would call his last time out of the contest, and used it to his advantage. The Bulls would inbound the ball in front of their bench and get it to Andrea Smith for her to drive baseline for the game winner.
The Wildcats would have one last shot for the win; however, their shot would go off the backboard.
USF will now close out its regular season on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. when it butts heads with No. 18/19 Georgetown.
The Bulls will then travel to the BIG EAST Conference Tournament at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. where they will play their first round game on Friday, March 4 at a time and against an opponent to be announced. First round game will be streamed live on BIGEAST.tv.