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Bulls open Big East in overtime loss to Notre Dame

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 01:01


The women’s basketball team started Big East play against No. 2 Notre Dame (13-1, 2-0) in a nail-biting game that eventually ended in a 75–71 overtime loss to the Fighting Irish. 

While standing at 0-1 isn’t a preferred start to conference play, the Bulls impressed as they pushed the No.2 scoring offense and team in the
nation to overtime.

Even Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw couldn’t help but praise USF’s effort.

“They should be ranked in the Top 25,” McGraw said. “They’re a very good basketball team.”

As Notre Dame started to pull away from USF, (11-2, 0-1) late in the game, Andrea Smith sent fans into a frenzy when she hit a jumper to tie the game 63-63 with 54 seconds remaining in regulation after her twin, Andrell, fouled out earlier in the half.

Soon the final buzzer in the second period went off, and the Bulls found themselves in overtime with the Fighting Irish.

With an upset within reach, Andrea Smith stepped up again, going a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line and scoring six points in overtime.

The sisters’ performance throughout the night, along with junior guard Inga Orekhova’s 13 points, was still not enough to take down the Big East powerhouse.

“Our team played hard and fought very hard, we knew coming in we had a chance to win and we never thought we were under dogs. We never thought we were
going to lose the game,”Andrea Smith said. “Our confidence is still there.”

If there were any signs that last night’s matchup was going to be as competitive as it was, the first half of the game provided many. By halftime, USF had two players score into double digits as senior guards Andrea and Andrell were key factors in the Bulls’ offense throughout the night.

Andrea Smith, the lead score on the court, finished her night tying a career-high 33 points
going 13-37 from the floor while having a double-double with 11 rebounds.

“She was feeling it and we went to her,” coach Jose
Fernandez said. “She wants to take shots, she wants the ball in her hands. That’s the type of kid she is.”

With a small 35-32 lead heading out of the locker for the second half of play, after the Irish played catch up for most of the first half, Notre Dame was able to recapture the lead in the last minutes of play.

“This team is confident,” Fernandez said. “They know what we need to do and if we play with this type of energy that we played with today we’ll be fine.”

“I’m really proud of this group; now you have to turn around and get ready for DePaul. You got to have short term memory in this league.” Fernandez said. “We move forward.”

The Bulls next Big East game will have them in Chicago, taking on DePaul this Saturday at 8 p.m.

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