Men’s Team Struggles While the Women Soar

John Holton
Staff Writer

After losing two of their best players to graduation and a transfer to another school, the Dons have had a much harder path to traverse this season, and it shows clearly in their regular season record, which currently sits at 9-14.

USF has not lost all of their stars, junior forward Mark Tollefsen is still dunking for the Dons. Courtesy of Dons Athletics
USF has not lost all of their stars, junior forward Mark Tollefsen is still dunking for the Dons. Courtesy of Dons Athletics

One of the Dons’ best players, Cole Dickerson, graduated and lost his eligibility to play on the team. In addition, starting guard Avry Holmes made the decision to transfer to Clemson after the end of last season. Dickerson and Holmes were the Dons top two scorers during the season and each player added to the team in other areas as well. Dickerson was second in three pointers made, first in rebounds, fourth in assists, third in steals, and third in blocks. Holmes was first in three pointers made, second in assists, and second in steals.

The Dons have had trouble replacing the massive amount of talent they lost, and the result has been dramatic. The team is currently 23 games into the season and sit with a lackluster record of 9-14. At this point in the previous season, the Dons’ record was the exact opposite, a much more respectable 14-9.

At this point, the team has been all but eliminated from NCAA contention. Their record already eliminates them from selection to the March Madness tournament, so the only other way they could get in would be to win the West Coast Conference Championship. This is unlikely considering their play so far this season, and the fact that they would more than likely have to face Gonzaga at some point, who are currently ranked as the third best team in the nation.

The women’s team has had a much better time so far this season, especially when you consider their record last year. The Dons currently sit at 13-9 after 22 games. At the same point in the previous season they held a regrettable record of 9-13.

The Dons improved record is thanks in part to the stellar play of junior forward Taylor Proctor who is leading the Dons in scoring with an impressive average of 15.4 points per game. Proctor is also making waves in a number of other categories as well. She is leading the team in field goal percentage at .481, as well as in field goals made and three pointers made. Her 8.2 rebounds a game is the highest for the team and she is second in blocks, third in assists, and third in steals.

In addition to Proctor, the Dons have two other players averaging double digits in the points category, senior guard Taj Winston with 10.8, and junior guard Zhane Dikes with 10.4. Each player is in the top five for rebounds as well and the top two for both assists and steals. Though she is not averaging double digits in points sophomore guard Rachel Howard is only slightly below at 9.3 per game is still a great contributor to the team in other areas as well.

Despite their positive regular season record the Dons are still only ranked sixth in the West Coast Conference. This is due in part to their conference record being below average at 4-7. Although it is unlikely they make the NCAA tournament, the Dons team this season is already a vast improvement over the one from last year.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dons Athletics

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