On an evening when Kalyn Simon, Anna Seilund and Michela Rakova were honored pregame for Senior Night, the Dons mounted a second half comeback to pull ahead of the Pacific Tigers and improve to 14-14 on the season.
USF, trying to avoid a three-game losing streak, started rough in the first quarter. The Pacific Tigers were hot on offense, hitting seven of their first nine shots powered by point guard Ameela Li. The Dons were able to close the gap towards the end of the quarter, when Seilund got to the paint for two contested layups and a three from the top of the key. Rakova contributed from the block as well, scoring six points.
The second quarter was where the Tigers caught fire. After a chippy sequence led to double technical fouls on Seilund and Pacific’s Chelsea Lidy, the Tigers went on an offensive run lasting five minutes.They shot eight for eight and held the Dons to a scoring drought. During this time, the Tigers had contributions from seven different scorers, including two three pointers by sophomore Jessica Blakeslee. The Dons brought the lead back to two with a strong post and midrange play from Rakova, but Ameela Li pulled the Tigers back ahead this time, extending the lead to eleven and going into the half with the upper hand.
When the two teams took the floor again after the break, the Dons were able to climb back into the game. Rakova continued to play well, creating offense for her teammate Moa Lundqvist, who had eight points this quarter alone. The Tigers shot a dismal one for seven in this stretch and, after a three from Seilund and a crowd pleasing block by Bay Area native Kalyn Simon, USF was able to score twice on the break and cut the lead to four going into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, junior guard Shannon Powell, who was only shooting one for eight previously, was able to give the Dons a spark. She had eleven points this quarter and led a ten point turnaround, along with Seilund and Rakova, that put the Dons ahead by four. When the Tigers tied the game, San Francisco called a timeout, leaving seven seconds on the clock and a chance to score and take the lead. Guard Kalyn Simon attacked the basket right away and was fouled on a fifteen foot floater in the lane. Simon, playing in her final home game for USF, knocked down the two subsequent free throws and effectively put the game away, sealing a win for the Dons and sending their fans home with a smile.
Featured Photo: Senior Guard Anna Seilund helped to push the Dons to victory in their second-to-last game of the season.