UNCASVILLE, CONN., MARCH 9, 2014 – The USF women’s basketball team’s run in the American Athletic Conference Tournament ended in a matter of 12 seconds.
The Bulls lost late to No. 3/4 Louisville in the semifinals Sunday afternoon, as Cardinals star Shoni Schimmel turned a defensive rebound into a fast-break jumper, breaking a 56-56 tie and sending Louisville past USF, 60-56 in Uncasville, Conn.
USF (19-12) led through most of the first and second halves, getting strong offensive efforts from guards Inga Orekhova (Sevastapol, Ukraine) and Courtney Williams (Folkston, Ga.). Orekhova knocked down a game-high six three-pointers, and paced Williams as the duo scored 19 points apiece in the loss. Orekhova’s sixth three of the day put USF up 51-45 with 8:24 left, but the Cards held the Bulls to just one field goal after that, closing the gap and advancing past USF.
The Bulls’ offense slowed late in the first half as well, after getting out to a strong start.
Orekhova found space early, hitting three 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the game to help the Bulls out to a 20-10 lead. USF was hot early from the field, but cooled off in the last 11 minutes, scoring just nine as Louisville climbed ahead for a 33-29 halftime lead.
Cardinals guard Shoni Schimmel knocked down four 3-pointers in the final seven minutes of the half, and Louisville capitalized on three offensive rebounds off missed free throws to nullify a strong 12-point half from Williams.
Williams’ 19-point game pushed the sophomore past the 500-point barrier this season as she became the sixth Bull to score at least 500 in a single season. Orekhova meanwhile pushed her career points total to 996, while Akila McDonald tied Tiffany Conner and Jessica Dickson in second place for most games played in a USF career (125).
The Bulls await the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, March 17 to learn their postseason fate. Stay tuned to gousfbulls.com for up-to-date information.