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McDonald goes down in third straight win


After the final buzzer concluded the game between the USF and Temple women’s basketball teams, each player walked in line to exchange postgame handshakes.

USF senior center Akila McDonald had to be helped through the line by two trainers.

“I think she tweaked her ankle,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “I think she went down with an ankle (injury).”

The 6-foot-4 center put no pressure on her ankle as she hopped through the handshakes with the Bulls’ marching band playing in the background.

McDonald, who had 10 rebounds, went down with just more than two minutes left in the game, as the stadium grew silent. Her contribution by the basket helped the Bulls out-rebound the Owls 47-36 on their way to a 64-51 victory.

The rebounds, which helped the Bulls (8-7, 3-1) to 15-second chance points, in addition to defending Temple’s three-point shot ability, were two keys
written by coach Fernandez on the team’s locker room whiteboard.

“The keys today (we told our guys) we really needed to defend (Feyonda) Fitzgerald and (Tyonna) Williams,” Fernandez said. “Temple is a really good three-point shooting team and we need to impose our will in the paint. As far as second and third opportunities, I thought we did that.”

With the Bulls allowing only three of Temple’s 12 attempts behind the three-point line to go in the basket.

The Owls (8-6, 2-2) quickly adjusted to the pressure on their guards early in the game and got off to a 4-0 run by letting their forwards score. The teams traded five leads all night, most of them coming early in the first half.

After the Bulls contained the Owls’ offense, they began to spread the floor with shots and create free throw opportunities. Their effort offensively resulted in 41 percent field goal shooting and 75 percent from the free-throw line.

Once the second half started with a 36-28 Bulls lead, the Owls looked to close in on the single digit deficit. After they pressured the Bulls offensively and allowed only one of their first seven shots to go in the basket, coach Fernandez looked to the depth of his bench.

USF’s bench finished the night with 25 points to Temple’s three.

The spark from USF’s bench would lead to a 15-3 run about four minutes into the second half. Temple didn’t come within 10 points for the remainder of the night.

“The first four minutes of the second half are big,” Fernandez said. “I just think a couple of our shots didn’t fall so we didn’t close out and gave up a couple middle penetrations, but we went to the bench and they responded.”

In addition to the bench
players’ contribution, sophomore forward Alisia Jenkins had a career night.

Her 12 rebounds and career high 18 points made for her
seventh double-double this season and second in three games.

The Bulls will look to extend their three-game winning streak with another conference game against No.7 Louisville on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Sun Dome.