The cost of a last-second tie

Junior Jasmine Gayles (#11) tallied a total of 21 points in the Nugget Classic Tournament hosted by the University of Nevada. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS ATHLETICS 

Playing their first set of away games this season, the USF women’s basketball team headed to the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada this past weekend to face off against the Drake University Bulldogs, the University of Idaho Vandals, and the University of Nevada, Reno Wolfpack in the Nugget Classic Tournament, an event which was hosted by the Wolfpack.

The Dons’ weekend tipped off Nov. 26 with a match against the Vandals. Both sides opened the contest with a run in the first quarter, but the Vandals took the lead by four points going into halftime. USF outscored the Wolfpack in the third quarter 25-15, shooting 63% from the field and going 3-4 in 3-pointers. In the end, the Dons held on to their lead and won by a score of 77-70. 

Saturday told a different story as the Bulldogs routed the Dons on the way to a 24-point victory. USF found themselves trailing by 14 points at the end of the first quarter, but they trimmed their deficit down to 9 points as both sides headed back to their locker rooms for halftime. Feeling refreshed and recharged, the Dons came swinging out of the gates in the third quarter, whittling their deficit down to five points. The Bulldogs were not shaken by the Dons’ comeback, and USF was not able to regain the lead. They lost by a score of 60-84.  

The Dons’ time at the Nugget Classic drew to a close Nov. 28 with an afternoon matchup against the Wolfpack. The Dons kept it close in the first quarter, with a nine point contribution from redshirt sophomore guard Ioanna Krimili and five points from senior guard/forward Abby Rathbun ensuring that the game stayed within striking distance. The greatest deficit of the game came when the Dons were down by six points, but a quick 3-pointer from Krimili and a layup from sophomore forward Kennedy Dickie trimmed the Wolfpack’s lead down to a single point. 

Krimili tied up the game at 18 points a piece in the second quarter, 18-18 but the Wolfpack quickly answered back with two jumpers. Rathbun grabbed a defensive rebound and assisted senior guard Kia Vaalavirta for a fast break bucket, and before they knew it, the Dons were up by a score of 25-23 with the help of two free throws from Krimili. 

The score remained tight in the third quarter until redshirt junior guard Amalie Langer drained two back-to-back 3-pointers in the left corner, giving the Dons their greatest lead at 46-39.

The Wolfpack held a 5-0 run over the Dons in the fourth quarter, but Krimili put up six consecutive points to keep the team up by a score of 55-48. In the fourth quarter, the Dons went 6-7 in free throws and brought the deficit down to a single point. Two successful trips to the charity stripe from Krimili put the Dons up by three points, but a last-second Wolfpack 3-pointer forced the game into overtime. 

Though Langer and Krimili put up a total of six points, mostly through free throws in overtime, the Wolfpack’s 12 points pushed them to victory, and the Dons fell by a score of 67-73. 

The Dons now hold an overall win-loss record of 4-3 and will return to the court Dec. 2 to face the Washington State University Cougars.

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