USF struggled to do the little things such as rebounding, defense and taking care of the ball in the women’s basketball team’s 78-71 loss to No. 25 St. John’s on Sunday.
Despite four players scoring in double figures, the Bulls (15-8, 5-5) couldn’t get enough stops in the second half and the Red Storm (18-4, 8-3) made their free throws to wrap up the game.
Junior guard Jessica Dickson scored 18 points and had eight rebounds. Freshman Shantia Grace added 15 points, including going seven for seven from the free throw line. Rachael Sheats added 13 points, and junior Nalini Miller had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Miller had problems most of the game, from turnovers to missing open lay-ups.
“She has to put the ball in the basket,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “She’s only two feet from the basket.”
The women’s team had no answer for St. John’s guard Greeba Barlow, who led the Red Storm with 20 points. Kia Wright and Angela Clark chipped in with 16 points apiece, and Tara Walker added 10 points.
“Barlow had a good game offensively,” Fernandez said. “They also had a couple of other players step up and make some plays.”
Trailing by eight late in the second half, the Bulls started fouling to make a comeback, but St. John’s made seven of 10 free throws in the final minute. The Red Storm jumped to a seven-point lead early in the second half after Barlow hit a lay-up and made a free throw to complete the three-point play.
The Bulls, however, answered with a 6-0 run with baskets from Sheats, Dickson and Miller to cut the lead to 48-47. The one-point deficit was the closest the Bulls got to the lead in the second half as St. John’s increased the lead back to seven with an 8-2 run.
“We were just beating ourselves,” Fernandez said. “We didn’t get enough stops in the second half.”
St. John’s outrebounded the Bulls 41-38 and had 19 offensive rebounds, in addition to forcing 11 turnovers.
“The offensive rebounding was a factor in the game,” Fernandez said. “We didn’t rebound, and we let their guards get too much dribble penetration. They were much more aggressive.”
The first half was a sequence of runs as both teams went back and forth to keep the momentum. USF opened the game cold from the floor, going zero for five early in the first half until senior Ezria Parsons made the first field goal, but left the game due to a head injury.
After St. John’s took a 7-1 lead, the Bulls went on a 15-4 run, which included being six of eight from the field, to take a 16-11 advantage. USF held a 31-29 lead late in the first half, but the Red Storm ended the half with a 6-1 run to take a 35-32 halftime lead.