Coming off a four-game losing skid, the USF women’s basketball team (9-8, 0-3 Big East) will look to notch its first conference win of the season against the DePaul Blue Demons (15-2, 3-0) in Chicago tonight.
The Bulls have struggled defensively during their longest losingstreak of the season. In the last four games, the Bulls have allowed 70.5 points per game, a significant rise from the 58.8 points per game average for the season.
The Bulls nearly ended the streak against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Sun Dome Wednesday, trailing by only one point and in possession of the ball with 6.2 seconds on the clock after a pair of free throws by junior guard Bjonee Reaves gave the Bearcats the lead. The Bulls were able to inbound the ball and drive the length of the floor, but as senior forward Leondra Doomes-Stephens attempteda spin move in the lane, Reaves was there for the steal and time expired.
Doomes-Stephens posted a season-high 13 points and was supported by eight points and 12 rebounds from senior centerPorche Grant, but the Bulls lost 57-56.
On Sunday afternoon in Providence, the Bulls were able to build a lead against the Friars, but let a sizable second-half lead slip away as they lost in Providence for the first time in the team’s history. With 17:34 left to play, USF had scored the first six points of the half and taken a 10-point lead over the Friars at 35-25. Over the next seven minutes, Providence would go on a 14-4 run to tie the game at 39-39.
Providence steals on consecutive possessions and a layup by sophomore guard Symone Roberts gave the Friars the lead for good with 8:35 left to play. USF made a late run to shrink an 11-point deficit into a five-point deficit, but still lost 62-57.
Junior guard Andrea Smith, in her first season with the Bulls after transferring from Florida Gulf Coast University, scored 20 points in 31 minutes on the floor.
The Bulls have a difficult test awaiting them as they finish up a short road trip at the McGrath Arena in Chicago tonight. The Blue Demons, ranked eighth in the Ratings Percentage Index standings, are an undefeated 8-0 at home in the McGrath Center this season, including a dominating 91-71 victory over then No. 2 Stanford on Dec. 16.
The Blue Demons enter the game having won 12 of their last 13 games and are off to a 3-0 start in the Big East, their best since joining the league in the 2005-06 season. DePaul averages 78.6 points per game. Junior forward Keisha Hampton leads the Blue Demons offensively,averaging nearly 16 points and five rebounds per game.
The game will be televised on CBS College Sports with tip-off scheduled for 9 p.m.