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USF unable to close out No. 12 Louisville

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 01:01

One shot.

A three-pointer with four seconds on the clock was all the Bulls (14-5, 3-4) needed to take down the No. 12 team in the nation.

But Louisville escaped the Sun Dome with a victory last night in a game that came down to seconds in what was a disappointing 78-75 loss for the USF women’s basketball team.

“It’s definitely a tough, heartbreaking loss,” coach Jose Fernandez said.

With the Cardinals (18-5,6-2) also being the fast-paced, hard-nosed team the Bulls are, fans in attendance may have been expecting a nail biter, and that’s exactly what they got until the very end.

“It is frustrating for us and our upperclassmen,” senior guard
Andrea Smith said. “Tomorrow we’re going to re-group, we’re
going to get focused and we’re going to be able to close these games out.”

Down by six points with a minute to play, things were not looking good for the Bulls as they watched a Cardinal team go on a 10-0 run to take the 72-66 lead.

The Bulls began to foul in a desperate attempt to get the upset over Louisville.

The attempt paid off when USF senior guard Andrell Smith led the surge for the Bulls, as she helped cut the deficit to one point with four seconds on the clock.

Smith sprinted down the court as the clock wound down and up went her deep three-ball.

As the shot banked off the backboard and missed, the buzzer went off, eliminating any hope the Bulls might have had at an upset.

“I was proud for our kids fighting to the end giving us the opportunity to win the basketball game,” Fernandez said.

The final missed three corresponded with USF’s attempts from beyond the arch throughout the second half, only hitting one of their eight attempts.

Louisville junior guard Shoni Schimmel, however, was lights out from everywhere on the court.

The Cardinals leaned on Schimmel who tied a Big East high with
38 points total, 24 points coming from three-point range. The Bulls put up 34 in the second half alone.

While Schimmel was the lone star on offense for the Cardinals, the Bulls shared the wealth throughout the night.

“(Schimmel)’s good. She’s a player,” Andrea Smith said. “A lot of those shots were contested and we didn’t communicate, but she’s a good player.”

Andrell Smith set a career high in assists with 11 in the game, helping her and three other players to score into double digits.

Andrell also finished as the leading scorer with 18 points, one more than Andrea.

Though Andrell tied her career-high in the first half with 8 assists, a first half that ended with the Bulls down 42-41, she said she is “tired” of the end result.

“I think we need to communicate a lot better,” she said. “There’s going to come a time where we’re going to get tired of losing close games like this, I think tonight was the night we got tired of that.”

To start the game, it was clear that USF’s shooting from
outside to Schimmel simply couldn’t be stopped.

The Bulls shot a stunning 66.7 percent from three-point range as junior guard Inga Orekhova went 3-4 from beyond the arch.

Louisville, while unable to out-rebound USF in total, dominated the glass on offense allowing them to score 20 second-chance points.

Perhaps the biggest issue for the Bulls though was the 22 turnovers, giving Louisville seven more possessions than the Bulls had.

“You give any team seven more possessions, especially the
No.12 team in the country. That’s not good,” Fernandez said.

Though he said the loss is upsetting for USF, moving forward is the only option for the team that will play Pittsburgh on the road on
Sunday at 1 p.m.

“We have to put it behind us, get back to work tomorrow, and get ready for Pittsburgh,” Fernandez said.


 

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