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Staying alive

It’s not just another game. It’s another chance.

It’s also not just another — not too mention one of the last — Conference match-up.

It’s a game the USF women’s basketball team has wanted since Jan. 14. They have been waiting patiently, biding their time like a predator in tall grass for 48 days, or almost 70,000 minutes, or 12 games since the 67-55 loss to TCU, for revenge.

It’s been a long wait just for a little payback.

For a little taste of what your momma should have given ya.

And don’t think that the Bulls are going to take this team full of lily-pad dwellers lightly.

Not a chance.

The Bulls — with their 20 wins and 36 forced turnovers against Southern Miss. in the first round of the C-USA tournament, which is the new record — have received another chance.

A second chance.

“We got down on ourselves (after the loss to TCU),” senior guard Anedra Gilmore said. “Now, we’ve played through that and know we’ve got to play through spots like that.”

The second chance — the final chance that really matters — comes today at 3:30 at the Dale F. Halton Arena against the team that the Bulls just shouldn’t haven’t lost to.

“Yeah, we shouldn’t had that (game),” Gilmore said. “But like I told you back home, we weren’t all there. Nalini (Miller) wasn’t there. Sharon (Cambridge) wasn’t all there. Now we got everybody full force and I don’t see just anybody stepping in our way.”

Miller was missing in action due to a hamstring injury. But were they also sluggish from jet lag? Were they blown away from the foreign land of Texas, with its confusing stretches of flat land that is extremely different from Florida?

Was it a blown chance?


Now it’s different. It’s the second time around.

The Horned Frogs got the day off Thursday. They sat around in their hotel, they didn’t show up to the arena and were content with putting USF aside like the women’s team put Southern Miss on the shelf to collect dust.

Meanwhile, the Bulls sent the Golden Eagles home, stripped of their feathers and ready to be thrown back on the endangered species list.

The chances have changed.

Different shots are being called. The look of the team is morphing and what the Bulls, the players and the coaches and even the trainers want to let everyone know, especially those darn Horny Toads, is that this is your last warning.

Your last chance.

The emergency broadcast system has been activated.

USF didn’t get a warning, but Gilmore wants to give one, because like the back of her T-shirt says, she knows still knows what it takes.

Whatever chances it may take.

“We got out there (against Southern Miss) and you kind of knew you were going to win,” Gilmore said. “We wanted to take it easy, but they wanted to play for real, you know?

“We just go out there and set the tone and keep the tone and let them know they can’t play with us. That’s what were are going to do to TCU (today). Let them know, from the top, that they can’t play with us.”

Good luck, TCU, you leaping lizards, you altruistic amphibians.

You’re going to need it, because if you think this team — this team that will do whatever it takes — will give you a second warning.

Fat chance.