Loss clinches losing season

Mathematically, making the postseason was still possible, but a loss to St. John’s all but ended USF’s hopes of making the either the NIT or NCAA Tournament.

With an 80-60 loss to St. John’s in the Sun Dome Wednesday night, USF (10-16, 1-11) has just four games remaining and will finish with a sub-.500 record, even if it wins out.

“With four games left, and us having 10 wins, it’s going to be very difficult to make postseason play. We know that,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “The turnovers and the free throws, that’s stuff that we can control. We have to do better with that.”

Eleven first-half turnovers led to 10 Red Storm points and left the Bulls with a nine-point deficit at the break.

Baskets by Porche Grant and Andrea Smith cut the lead to five, but 18 points from Red Storm guard Shenneika Smith helped No. 22 St. John’s (18-7, 7-5) put the Bulls away.

Smith again carried the Bulls on her back in a losing effort. She scored 27 points on 10-23 shooting from the field.

Andrea’s twin sister Andrell Smith added another 12 for USF, but it was not nearly enough and the Bulls were handed their third 20-point loss in five games.

The Smith twins accounted for 39 of USF’s 60 points. St. John’s put five players into double figures.

“We had two kids score (39) points out of 60. They got no help from either of our (centers) or the other perimeter players,” Fernandez said. “So what does that tell you? They need to get better.

“We need to get better. We have to recruit better players. The new facilities will help us, but the players we have here are the players that are going to be a part of this program, so they need to continue to fight and compete.”

USF will next host Louisville at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Sun Dome.