MEMPHIS, Tenn., FEB. 5, 2017 – The University of South Florida women’s basketball team ran out of time Sunday in a 62-57 loss at Memphis. The Bulls outscored the Tigers in the fourth quarter at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, but couldn’t overcome a nine-point deficit in the last eight minutes of the game.
USF (18-4, 7-2 The American) turned in 19 points in the final quarter, outscoring Memphis 19-16. Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) turned in seven of her 16 points in the final ten minutes. Junior Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) led the Bulls in scoring with 20 points and missed a double-double with eight rebounds.
Memphis (11-12, 4-6 The American) had three players in double figures, led by Cheyenne Creighton with 22 points. The Tigers jumped to a quick 7-0 start at the start of the contest, but the Bulls rallied back and came within 3 at the end of the first 10 minutes. The Bulls slowed the Tigers in the second quarter and took their first lead of the game with eight minutes until the break. Memphis bounced back and took a 33-29 lead into the locker room.
Jespersen powered a five-point swing to start the third quarter to give USF a 36-35 lead, but the Bulls went cold and didn’t make a field goal for the final eight minutes of the third quarter. USF shot 16 percent (2-of-12) in the third quarter. The momentum shifted to the Bulls in the fourth quarter, and the Bulls cut a nine-point deficit to one point with 2 minutes left in the game. USF stayed within two until the final 20 seconds and free throws pushed the Tigers to their ninth win at home this season.
36 – Memphis scored 36 points in the paint, compared to USF’s 20.
Jespersen turned in her eighth 20-point outing this season, her fifth against a conference opponent. The junior averages 17.3 points per game against conference opponents.
USF is 4-3 this season when trailing at the break.
USF remains on the road for their fourth game away from Sun Dome Arena in its last five outings. The Bulls will face East Carolina for the second time this year on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN3.
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The Bulls return eight players from last season, and have signed six newcomers to the roster. American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Kitija Laksa will lead a squad full of international flavor that boasts nine players from around the world. USF will look to extend its postseason streak to five consecutive seasons and return to the conference championship for the third time in as many years.
USF has made 12 postseason tournament appearances and had four NCAA Tournament berths in Head Coach Jose Fernandez’s 16 seasons. The all-time winningest coach in program history, Fernandez has guided USF to seven 20-win seasons, two WNIT final four appearances, the 2009 WNIT championship and won more than 280 games.
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