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Notre Dame comeback fuels win over Bulls

The South Florida women’s basketball team fought but fell short to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 86-79 at the Sun Dome on Tuesday.

Despite first-half momentum and a 52-44 lead at halftime, the Irish mounted an 11-5 run in the final five minutes to finish off the Bulls.

Senior Jessica Lawson said it was disappointing to see the team struggle down the stretch.

“When we hit adversity, we have to learn how to fight through that,” she said. “We hit adversity in the second half and we didn’t know how to counter back.”

The Bulls (18-8, 5-7) had 46 total rebounds and five players with 10 or more points. Coach Jose Fernandez said he was proud of his players’ effort.

“Emotionally and physically, they played hard,” Fernandez said. “Offensively I thought a couple of our guys had a few good possessions, but I don’t think anyone had a great offensive game.”

With 3:28 remaining, Bulls forward Porche Grant committed a foul under Notre Dame’s basket and committed a technical foul on Becca Bruszewski. The Irish (18-6, 7-5) went to the line and hit four straight free throws, bringing the score to 79-75. The Bulls never recovered from the deficit.

“There’s so many plays in a basketball game on both sides of the ball,” Fernandez said. “You can’t blame losing the game on that play.”

After the game, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said she saw good things out of USF.

“Grace, Stokes  and  Sepulveda are so talented,” McGraw said. “I think South Florida is a great team, and I think they are an NCAAtournament team.”

The Bulls will play three of their final four regular season games on the road, starting Saturday night at West Virginia.