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Bulls lose late in Pittsburgh

The USF women’s basketball team let another second-half lead slip away, losing 70-66 to Pittsburgh, Saturday.

It was the Bulls’ fourth consecutive defeat.

The Bulls (10-15, 1-10) were clinging to a 32-31 lead as the second half began. They dominated the majority of the second and were up by 11 points with 14:28 remaining in the game.

But the Panthers (12-12, 4-7) didn’t give up.

Pittsburgh guard Taneisha Harrison cut the USF lead to just five points after a 3-pointer with 12 minutes remaining. An Akila McDonald foul on Harrison gave the Panther’s leading scorer two free throws. She hit both to make the score 48-45, to USF’s advantage, and put the Panthers within striking distance of the lead with 11:17 remaining.

Harrison scored 27 points in the game.

The two teams exchanged the lead three times within the next eight minutes, but USF allowed the Panthers to take the lead for good at the three-minute mark when freshman guard Sasha Bernard sent Panther guard Jania Sims for two free-throws, which she hit.

USF wouldn’t regain the lead but continued to play until the last moment. They were down by four with five seconds on the clock when Bernard missed a layup, and then McDonald fouled Yasmin Fuller. Fuller put the Pitt lead out of reach at six points. McDonald made one last layup with one second on the clock, but it wasn’t enough.

The two teams exchanged the lead 12 times over the course of the game and were tied on 10 different occasions.

The top scorers for the Bulls were junior guard Andrell Smith and forward McDonald, who each put up 15 points. It was a career high for McDonald, who also brought in seven rebounds. Senior forward Leondra Doomes-Stephens added 11 points for the Bulls.

USF managed to keep the game close, despite making only 33 percent of its shots from the floor. Pittsburgh shot 57 percent for the game.

USF will try to break its four-game losing streak when it returns home Wednesday for a game against St. Johns. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome.