By Alexander Segovia
The USF women’s basketball team earned a fifth place finish in the inaugural Greater Victoria International tournament from Nov. 28-30 with convincing wins over both Bowling Green and Houston. The tournament was held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada with the Dons entering after suffering a tough loss at the hands of the University of California, Davis Aggies on Nov. 22 and coming in with an overall record of 2-3.
The tournament opened with a matchup against one of the better teams in all of women’s college basketball in Mississippi State, who came into play as the No. 10 team in the nation. The Dons fought hard to hang with the Bulldogs through the first quarter. Mikayla Williams and Ioanna Krimili lead the opening attack, scoring the first few points for the Dons and jumping in front with an early 7-4 advantage. After a first quarter that ended in a 16-16 tie, Mississippi State buckled down defensively, holding the Dons to a combined 12 points over the next two quarters, including only three points in the third quarter. The Bulldogs kept their offensive onslaught going with 17 points from Jordan Danberry and 12 points from Andra Espinoza-Hunte, with the game ending at 73-38 for the opposition.
The Dons were quick to respond the next day with a convincing 64-56 victory over Bowling Green. The Dons were able to establish their offense early and rode a dominant performance from Williams, who racked up 17 points and pulled in a season-high 18 rebounds. The Dons did not shoot impressively from the field, only mustering about a 38% field goal percentage, but benefitted from Bowling Green struggling equally, shooting just 30.5% from the field.
That victory set the Dons up for a match with Houston in the fifth-place game. The team entered with momentum and marched to a 80-57 victory over the Cougars. Lucie Hoskova lead the way throughout for the Dons, posting 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. She shot 11-16 from the field, including 3-5 from behind the arc. Leilah Vigil also had a strong game, collecting 18 points, 12 rebound double-double in the victory. The Dons shot better in game 3, up to almost 45%, and managed to contain Houston’s shooters to 20% shooting from 3-point range.