In what was the biggest win of the season, and probably the most important game left for thewomens basketball team, the Bulls upset the powerhouseCardinals squad, 73-62.
The team squared off against No.12 ranked Louisville(21-6, 9-4) on Wednesday nightwhen USF (18-7, 7-5)entered Louisville withmomentum after an 11-pointvictory over Seton Hall and was looking for its first win over a ranked opponent this season.
Boasting a Top 25 ranking,Louisville certainly looked to be the favorite.
Hence the term upset.
It took the Bulls a mere five minutes into the first half to grab a double-digit lead over Louisville.
Senior guard Andrea Smith led the charge for most of the half, scoring 16 points on an impressive 6-for-9 shooting spree.
Smith made threethree-pointers in the first fiveminutes of play, swingingmomentum over to USFs side.
Junior center Akila McDonald also chipped in a strongperformance of her own, recording seven rebounds and two steals.
However, Louisville proved why theyre ranked No. 12 in thenation, quickly bouncing back from their slow start.
After Smiths play gave USF a 24-12 lead with seven minutes left in the half, the Cardinals went on a 10-0 run to close out the half and make it a two-point game.
USFs poor ball handlingresulted in 11 first-half turnovers,helping Louisvilles run become much easier.
But coming out of the locker room after halftime, the Bullsoutshot the Cardinals and regained their lead.
In two minutes, USF had stretched their lead back to eight and it proved to be a lead they would never again relinquish.
Six turnovers by senior guard Andrell Smith almost proved to be costly as it allowed Louisville to reach within four points, butshooting performances by junior forward Inga Orekhova and Andrea Smith kept the Cardinals at bay.
The Cardinals struggled to find their shot for most of the game, but heated up in the final minutes, making for a more respectable score.
The Cardinals came within five in the final two minutes thanks to their free-throw shooting and key stops of USF.
Despite Louisvilles strong push at the end, USF responded with clutch free-throw shooting and two layups to ensure their victory.
Andrea Smith had one of her best games of the year,finishing with 35 points andshooting 69 percent from the field. Louisvilles Shoni Schimmel had a gamesimilar to that of Smiths the last time these two teams played, when she put up 38 in points in the Sun Dome.
Revenge may have tasted good for Smith, and the defense wascertainly to thank for it.
Schimmel was contained well, only making six of 20 attempts this time around and her poor shooting was a big reason as to why the Cardinals couldnt piece together a sustainable run in the second half.
The Cardinals also boasted good defense and forced USF into23 turnovers.
But they couldnt overcome their poor shooting in the upsetting loss.
USF surprised many people by defeating the No.12 ranked team in the country on the road and if the good play holds up Saturday against No. 21 ranked Syracuse, it could propel the Bulls even further as they enter the final four games of the season.