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USF women’s basketball squanders strong start against No. 1 Huskies


A red-hot start had the Bulls 30 minutes away from handing the three-time defending national champions their first loss in 15 months.

But a lackluster shooting performance thereafter, including a second quarter in which they only scored six points, allowed the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies to pull away from USF with a 79-59 victory Monday night in Storrs, Connecticut.

The Bulls (21-8,14-4)  started the game with a 7-2 run and managed to hold onto that lead going into the second quarter while the Huskies (29-0, 18-0) fought off early foul trouble.

Guards Moriah Jefferson and Katie Lou Samuelson played with three fouls apiece in the first half and the normally dominant Huskies only scored nine points in the second quarter.

However, the Bulls could not capitalize on the opportunity to extend their lead, scoring only six points in the quarter after going 1-of-14 from the field.

Even after one of its worst shooting performances of the season, USF still led at halftime 25-24. This was the first time the Huskies trailed going into the half since Nov. 17, 2014, when they lost in overtime at Stanford.

The Huskies scored a minute into the third quarter when All-American senior forward Breanna Stewart hit a jumper to give UConn the lead. From there, the Huskies were able to go on a 13-3 run to take a double-digit lead from which the Bulls were not able to recover.

USF essentially played five players with junior center Katelyn Weber playing only five minutes. The Bulls were once again without sharp-shooting freshman forward Kitija Laksa (ankle).

Before the injury, Laksa helped the Bulls become one of the best shooting teams in the country (25th), averaging 35.9 percent from beyond the arc.

After the Bulls went 5-of-17 from three Monday night, USF seemed to miss Laksa more than ever.

The Bulls are now 0-43 all-time against top-10 opponents and will remain in Connecticut to begin the AAC tournament that begins Friday.