The University of South Florida women’s basketball team was searching for better luck in February after a winless January, but Saturday against UAB proved to be more of the same.
The Bulls had the lead against UAB from the 12:40 mark in the first half until 2:18 remained in the game, but fell to the Blazers for the second time this season, 62-58, Saturday at the Sun Dome.
“It’s like we can’t catch a break,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “If you don’t do the little things, you’re not going to win a ballgame.”
One of the little things the Bulls (5-14, 0-6 in Conference USA) failed to do was grab a rebound in crucial situations.
The Bulls surrendered offensive rebounds several times in the final minutes, most of which came on UAB missed free throws.
“Late in the game (we) gave up seven offensive rebounds,” Fernandez said. “They had one in the first half. The last six they got were at crucial times, the last five or six minutes of the game.
“We played hard enough, and our effort, our intensity and our energy was there, but we’ve got to play harder and with a purpose.”
One of the Bulls who had a very good game was junior center Jameelah Trimble. After missing all but eight minutes the first time the teams met Jan. 12 in Birmingham, Trimble dumped in a career-high 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds Saturday.
But Trimble was outdone by UAB’s Natasha Thomas, who scored a game-high 33 points off 15-of-23 shooting.
The Bulls went to Trimble down the stretch in an attempt to get Thomas to foul out, but Thomas was able to score six more points before she left the game with her fifth foul with 59 seconds to play.
When Thomas fouled out, USF junior Melissa Tape failed to hit the front end of a one-and-one free throw, negating any chance the Bulls had to capitalize with Thomas out of the game.
USF hits the road again this weekend with a chance to pick up its first road and Conference USA wins of the season.
The Bulls play Memphis on Friday and Saint Louis on Sunday.