One trip to the Lone Star State for two games added up to two losses for the women’s basketball team, as the Bulls fell to TCU 67-55 on Friday and 65-45 to Houston on Sunday.
Facing two good Conference USA teams – the Horned Frogs and the Cougars – on the road, USF fell behind early in both games. Without sophomore center Nalini Miller, who has been sidelined with a strained hamstring, the Bulls were out rebounded by both teams under the basket. The Bulls (12-6, 2-2 C-USA) committed a season-high 23 turnovers leading to 20 points against TCU (13-5, 4-0 C-USA). They trailed by 14 at the half and cut the lead to five late in the game but got no closer.
USF lost the rebound battle on the boards 48-34, as this year’s game was completely different than last year’s, which included a last-second half-court shot by Jessica Dickson in overtime to help beat the Horned Frogs 89-84 on Feb. 2.
Junior center Sharon Cambridge, Miller’s replacement, had a season-high 10 points, while senior point guard Anedra Gilmore scored the team-high 12 points.
On Sunday against Houston (13-3, 4-0 C-USA), it was much of the same for the Bulls. Like the TCU game, USF fell behind early, only to cut into the lead late, but failed to get over the top. The Bulls were out-rebounded 54-28 and shot only 27 percent from the field.
Sophomore forward Jessica Dickson had 15 points against the Cougars. Gilmore had eight total points and went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line but was unable to hit any 3-point shots on six attempts. Houston’s Sancho Lyttle led the Cougars with 33 points and 20 rebounds. Lyttle continued her dominance inside, notching her 13th double-double of the season and extended her streak of games with a double-double to eight.
“Not having Miller makes us very thin inside,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “We had too many mistakes and need to box out a lot better on the boards.”
The Bulls aren’t panicking though, after this long weekend. Even though USF lost two tough games on the road, the Bulls still have a winning record and stand at .500 in conference play. Fernandez is turning his attention to the Saint Louis Billikens, whom USF hosts Friday night at the Sun Dome.
“We have to worry about Saint Louis. They should be all we think about this week,” Fernandez said.