Julian E.J. Sorapuru
For the first time in four years, USF’s women’s basketball team beat Bay Area rivals St. Mary’s College. The win capped the Dons’ regular season, ending a rocky year on a high. “We started out 0-9 in conference, and then we tried to talk about learning from our experiences but not being defined by our experiences,” said Dons head coach Molly Goodenbour. “I think this team really grasped that concept, because then we finished the last nine games 5-4, and that’s a huge turnaround for us.”
The contest started better for the Gaels than it did for the Dons; St. Mary’s jumped out to an early five-point lead by the end of the first quarter. But this trend would not continue; the Dons outscored their opponents 58-39 in the remaining three quarters.
The Dons’ comeback was anchored by some stout team defense which saw USF hold the Gaels to just eight points in the second quarter. Sophomore Leilah Vigil’s scoring touch, 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds, led the way for the Dons. Junior Lucie Hoskova and graduate student Mikayla Williams also padded the stats, with both women reaching double digits in points during the afternoon.
This win is certainly a momentum-booster for the Dons, who are going into the West Coast Conference Conference Championship ranked second-to-last at No. 9 after finishing the season with a 5-13 conference record. The Dons will take on their arch-rivals, No. 8 Santa Clara University Broncos. The Dons and the Broncos will face off in Las Vegas on March 5, with the winner advancing to the next round of the tournament and the loser having their season end.