It has been an eventful couple of weeks for USF athletics. Third-year Ruby Smee competed in the cross country national championship this past Saturday along with the women’s and men’s basketball teams each accomplishing comeback victories on Monday.
Smee, competing in the championship for the second consecutive year, finished in 58th place out of the 254 runners in the 6k. Smee was only in 136th place 1.11k into the race but was making great pace. By the 4k mark, Smee moved up all the way to 77th, passing 32 runners in under three minutes. She continued to race hard till the end, passing another nine runners in the final 1.07k of the race to reach 58th.
Two days later, the women’s basketball team put on a show against University of Pennsylvania at home. Despite being down 37-27 at halftime, the Dons, led by third-year Ioanna Krimili, came back to defeat the Quakers 73-65. Krimili dominated the game, scoring 35 points and hitting eight three-point shots. If that was not impressive enough, Krimili’s three point barrage earned herself a place in the record book, becoming the USF women’s all-time leader in career three-pointers with 206. Four of her three-point shots came in four straight possessions in the third quarter, cutting Penn’s lead from 13 to only three. Krimili hit another three-pointer with a minute left in the third quarter to take the lead for the Dons. After a made jumper by Penn on the last possession of the quarter, the Dons went into the fourth quarter up 50-49. From there, the Dons continued to apply the pressure, never letting go of the lead.
Fourth-year Jasmine Gayles played a pivotal role in holding the lead, scoring 10 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter. Another key contributor to the Dons’ win was fourth-year Kennedy Dickie. Dickie dominated in the paint for the entire game, collecting a career-high 19 rebounds. She also scored 10 points, finishing the game with an outstanding double-double. The win puts USF at 3-2 for the season.
The men’s basketball team secured a comeback win of their own earlier the same day in the first round of the 2022 Hall of Fame Classic. USF beat the Panthers of University of Northern Iowa 75-69.
The Dons had a difficult time scoring in the first half, shooting only 37% overall from the field and 27% from three-point range. To make matters worse, USF struggled on the defensive end too. Northern Iowa’s second-year guard Bowen Born was able to drive into the paint with relative ease and finished the half with a made three point shot. The Panthers’ halftime lead was also thanks to third-year forward James Betz who found open space behind the arch, hitting two catch-and-shoot threes in the half. Overall, the Panthers’ offensive looked dominant in the first half, shooting an impressive 63% from the field. USF’s poor shooting performance and defensive struggles caused them to be down 43-32 at the half.
Fortunately for the Dons, things completely turned around in the second half. Led by graduate student Khalil Shabazz, USF shot nine for 18 from three point range in the second and played hard defense. Shabazz was all over the court, diving for loose balls and stole the ball three times from the Panthers. He also performed exceptionally on offense, leading the Dons in scoring with 24 points on an efficient 8-16 from the field.
Northern Iowa was unable to keep up with the Dons’ high paced scoring in the second half. Their field goal percentage dropped down to 37% and they had a terrible performance at the free throw line, making only 2-7. Missed opportunities at the line and poor perimeter defense caused the Panthers to choke the lead away late in the second half. A clutch-and-one fastbreak layup by Shabazz put the Dons up three with less than two minutes remaining. From there, USF was able to take control of the game and prevent Northern Iowa from scoring again. The win puts the Dons at 5-0 for the season.
The women’s and men’s basketball teams will both play tomorrow. The women’s team will be at home against South Carolina State while the men’s team will be in Davidson, North Carolina to face off against Davidson College.
Students can attend all campus games for free with the use of their One Card.