Dickson falls five points short of a record as Bulls sweep through tournament

USF was led by its leading scorer at the Image Depot Shootout, but it wasn’t Jessica Dickson.

Point guard Shantia Grace scored 24 points twice this weekend as the Bulls defeated Texas Southern 89-37 on Saturday and Georgia Southern 94-65 on Sunday.

Not only did Grace lead the way with her scoring, the sophomore also registered four assists during the two game tournament in the Sun Dome.

“I like the way Shantia Grace is shooting the ball, I like the way she’s playing,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “(Along with Dickson) Shanita is another good option out on the perimeter.”

Through three games, Grace is averaging 23 points per game, up from 10.4 points last season.

Coming into the weekend, Dickson needed 37 points to surpass Wanda Guyton’s 17-year-old scoring record.

Dickson scored 16 points during the tournament opener and 17 Sunday, leaving her just five points shy of the record.

Although she finished the games with her usual productivity, Dickson shot 29 percent from the field during the two-game tournament.

“The record’s there, I going to get it and that’s that,” Dickson said. “Jessica Dickson is human too, I came out and didn’t hit some shots; it happens.”

Sunday the Bulls received their first true test of the season as Tiffany Brown hit her third three-pointer in less than two minutes to pull Georgia Southern to 43-40 early in the second half.

Grace then scored nine points during a 15-2 rally putting the Bulls ahead for good.

“Good shooters keep shooting, so I just kept shooting,” Grace said. “I knew I had to step up and be more of an offensive threat than I usually am.”

Dickson finished 5-20 from the field and had trouble getting into rhythm because of early foul trouble.

“The first (foul) I wasn’t even there, I guess they just wanted to say my name,” Dickson said. “I had to go to the bench with that.”

With her usually precise jump shot off, Dickson drove to the basket and drew fouls ending seven of eight from the stripe.

Saturday the Bulls defeated Texas Southern by 52 points, marking the eighth largest margin of victory in team history.

In the first half USF went on a 24-0 run and the Tigers never threatened again. Five players scored in double figures for the Bulls.

Even though the scoreboard was overwhelmingly in favor of USF, Fernandez was still disappointed with the play of his reserves, the group committed seven of nine first half turnovers.

“We got away with a lot of stuff today that we won’t get away with in January and February,” Fernandez said. “When they get opportunites they’re going to have to produce or the (starters) will play (30 plus) minutes in January and February.”

USF is 6-0 all-time at the Image Depot Shootout and Shantia Grace was named MVP of the tournament.

“Shantia is an offensive threat …we needed people to step up and she stepped up,” Dickson said. “She just did a good job.”