TAMPA - For those in attendance at Monday night's University of South Florida women's basketball's 67-49 win over Auburn, they witnessed a star being born.
Junior college transfer - and reigning national junior college player of the year - Andrea Smith lit up the Tiger defense for a career-high 33 points on 12-22 shooting. It was the first 30-point performance since Jessica Lawson scored 33 points on Rutgers last season. Smith also added eight threes on the night (8-13), equaling the second highest total in program history.
The Bulls shot 53.1 percent (26-49) from the field, including 61.9 percent (13-21) shooting in the opening half, while Auburn shot just 29 percent (18-62) on the night. USF also shot 52 percent from beyond the arc on 10-19 shooting, compared to the Tigers 15.4 percent (2-13) from long range.
USF got off to a blistering start behind Smith, who opening the game with 16 points in the first eight minutes of play on an outstanding shooting performance early on. Smith opened on 6-7 shooting and 4-4 from long range.
Smith led the Bulls to a commanding 16-0 lead to begin the game, holding Auburn scoreless through the first 5:47 of the contest, a team that kept games close earlier in the year against top-25 powers Duke and Florida State.
The Bulls pushed their first half lead to as many as 19 points, 22-3, but the Tigers would not quit.
After the Bulls led by 12 at the break, 36-24, Auburn cut the USF lead to just four, three minutes into the second half, 36-32 on a jumper by Jordan Greenleaf which capped an 8-0 run.
The Bulls then went back to their bread-and-butter in Smith and Daleisha Carn, who combined for 21 of USF's 31 final points, to push their lead back up to as many as 13 with under five minutes to play, and the Bulls' defense shut down the Tigers for the final 4:59 to win 67-49.
In addition to Smith, Carn added 10 points and Porche Grant chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds.
Chantel Hilliard led Auburn with 16 points while Jordan Greenleaf had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
The Bulls will now travel to Birmingham, Ala. to take part in the Samford Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 26-27. USF will take on UAB on the first day at 5 p.m. (ET) and then the host Bulldogs on Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. (ET).
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.