Before spring break, the women’s basketball team competed in the WCC title game against No.1 seeded Brigham Young University. The instant classic kept the crowd on the edge and engaged the entire four quarters. USF won the thriller 70-68. With that win, the Dons were able to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. However, San Francisco was unable to get the best of No.4 seed Stanford in the big dance and fell 58-85.
USF’s appearance in the NCAA tournament was short-lived but memorable none-the-less. This was San Francisco’s fourth appearance in the tournament in history and just the first in the past two decades. Seniors Zhane Dikes and Taylor Proctor had one final ovation from the Dons crowd who made the trip down to Palo Alto to watch the game. The Cardinal game planned for Dikes and Proctor and held them to six and thirteen points respectively. One of the best defenses in the nation stifled USF and suppressed their offense to a pedestrian 32.8% from the field. Though the season ended in blowout fashion, this was one of the program’s best seasons to date and is definitely one that will be looked upon as a successful and historic campaign.
The journey to the tourney first had to go through BYU and the WCC. At the end of the first quarter in the championship game, USF was on the wrong side of 14-26 scoreline. BYU’s lead slowly dissipated as San Francisco chipped away. At the break, the Dons looked up to a manageable five-point deficit. The single-digit difference remained until the closing seconds of the game. San Francisco was able to take their first lead of the game thanks to a pair of free-throws made by Dikes, 69-68. A missed three by BYU led to giving up a transition foul and sending Proctor to the foul line. She made one of two giving USF a 70-68 lead, enough to close the game. Proctor recorded 27 points and 10 rebounds, Dikes put up 21 points and junior Rachel Howard recorded ten points and four rebounds.
The Dons are on break until next season but they’ll be training and looking to improve on a dream run for the ages.
Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics