BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of South Florida women's basketball team knew coming into today's game with Alabama-Birmingham that things would never be easy. Despite the fact that the Bulls have won their last four games coming into today's match-up with their former Conference USA rival, the Blazers held a commanding lead in the all-time series that dates back to the 1978-79 season.
And today would be no different. USF, however, would pull away in the second half for a commanding 59-38 win over UAB.
The Bulls would find themselves in another dogfight not leading by more than four points over the first 10 minutes of the game.
USF would seemingly look like it was going to pull away when it took an eight-point advantage, 20-12, when Akila McDonald hit the first of a one-and-one opportunity.
The Blazers, however, would use an 8-0 run to tie the game at 20-all on two made free throws by Amanda Peterson with 2:22 left in the half.
Neither team would do much after that as the Bulls would take a four-point, 24-20 edge into the locker room at the half.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first 20 minutes of play as USF was just 8-26 from the floor (30.8 percent) and UAB just 8-22 (36.4 percent).
The Bulls, however would come out in the second half and take control of the game pushing their lead to double figures for the first time on the afternoon, 33-23, on a lay-up by Andrea Smith with 14:46 left in the game.
USF would then use a 16-4 run to blow the game open on a three-point shot by Tiffany Conner with 6:01 left in the game, giving the Bulls a 49-27 lead.
USF would finally hit its stride offensively in the second half shooting 46.4 percent (13-28) from the field in the final 20 minute of play. For the game, the Bulls would shoot at a 38.9 percent (21-54) clip.
In addition, USF also forced the Blazers into 24 turnovers on the day with 16 points coming off the UAB miscues. The Bulls also dominated in points off the bench (19-5), second chance points (15-6) and points in the paint (22-10).
Smith would lead USF with 11 points in the win while Kaneisha Saunders chipped in with 10 points and five assists.
Porche Grant grabbed a team-high eight rebounds giving her 597 for her career. She is now just three rebounds shy of becoming the 11th player in school history to grab 600 career rebounds.
USF will close out the Samford Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday at 4 p.m. (ET) when it faces the host Bulldogs.
The Bulls will return home on Tuesday, Nov. 30 to face in-state foe Florida Atlantic (7 p.m.) and then tip-off BIG EAST Conference play on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. against defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Connecticut.