In a halftime speech to the Stanford men’s basketball team last year, Ray Lewis, one of the NFLs most fearsome inside linebackers, coined the phrase, “Be pissed off for greatness.” Some six months later, after a crushing defeat against Fordham, USF’s Mel Khlok looked up some of Mr. Lewis most famous inspirational speeches and on Saturday night, Khlok was indeed pissed off for greatness. The senior guard put the hurt on the visiting Boise State Broncos by dropping 26 points while going 6-13 from behind the arc.
Khlok’s performance highlighted a great team effort as USF bounced back from a surprising loss to Fordham three days prior by beating the Broncos 75-61 on the Hilltop. Khlok nearly tied a school record with her six three-pointers, but that was of little concern to her after the contest. At the outset of the season, the teams goal was not to break records, it was to win games and Khlok epitomized that attitude. From the tip, it was clear that USF was not going to be denied a victory as the Lady Dons scurried out to a 10-0 lead just minutes into the contest, a lead USF would never relinquish.
After the hot start, the Dons kept the pressure on and extended their lead to 20 midway through the first half. Boise, however, never conceded the game to USF as the visitors were able to pull within nine points at the half. Despite their best efforts, Boise was unable to surmount the early lead USF amassed since they were unable to completely shut down the Dons shooting, which was connecting 44.8 percent of the time. When a team falls behind by such a large deficit, their only chance of becoming relevant in the contest is to put a stop to the oppositions scoring entirely. Unfortunately for Boise, Khlok would not be denied from behind the arc and the Dons managed to score enough points in the paint to stave off any serious run by Boise.
Five minutes into the second half, Boise was able to put a dent into the Dons lead and pull within five points. Immediately thereafter, as if senesing some impending doom, Khlok sank her sixth three pointer with an authoritative jumper. Ninety seconds later USF again extended their lead to double-digits when rookie guard Zhane Dikes pick pocketed Boise, went the length of the floor, and layed the ball in for two more USF points.
Boise again pulled close to USF when forward Lauren Lenhardt netted a bucket with 5:29 left to play, making it a 60-54 ballgame. Time, however, was not on Boise’s side and the Broncos had to start fouling USF in the back court, hoping USF would miss their free-throws and allow them to regain possession. The practice is commonplace in basketball but it hinges on one factor: missed free-throws. On a night where USF was scalding hot shooting from the floor with defenders pressing them, they were even hotter from the charity stripe, going 9-11 in the games closing minutes to seal the win.
The Lady Dons tip off their next home game on Dec. 10, as they welcome the Argonauts of Notre Dame De Namur to the Hilltop.