What happens in Vegas

Forward Lucija Kostic grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds in the win against Loyola Marymount University. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS ATHLETICS

James Salazar 

Staff Writer

The USF men’s and women’s basketball teams traveled to Las Vegas to compete in their respective West Coast Conference (WCC) basketball tournaments. Play began March 4 for the men’s team and March 6 for the women’s team. The winners of each bracket were guaranteed a berth in the “March Madness” NCAA Division I basketball tournament. 

USF men’s basketball routed the University of San Diego Toreros in the first round, winning by a score of 67-51. The Dons led their opposition for much of the first half and headed into the locker room with a 30-17 lead. They continued pulling away in the second half, leading by as much as 27 points. 

Senior Jamaree Bouyea led the Dons in scoring with 18 points; he also finished the game with six rebounds and six assists. Junior Dzmitry Ryuny amassed 13 points and nine rebounds, and senior Taavi Jurkatamm rounded out the double-digit scoring trio with 11 points and five rebounds. 

USF was eliminated in the second round by one of their oldest rivals, the Loyola Marymount University Lions, in a 66-70 loss. The first half was tightly contested with three ties and 10 lead changes taking place. The second half provided more nail-biting action as the two teams swapped the lead eleven times. With 14 seconds left in the game, a costly USF turnover put the game on ice. 

Ryuny led the team in scoring with 19 points, shooting 75% from beyond the arc. Bouyea and sophomore Josh Kunen joined Ryuny in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. 

USF women’s basketball earned two byes in the WCC women’s basketball tournament and faced the Saint Mary’s College of California Gaels in the quarterfinals. After 30 minutes of back and forth action, the Dons extended their lead to 11 points in the fourth quarter and ultimately won by a score of 69-63. 

Four Dons finished the game in double digits with senior Lucie Hoskova leading the team with 18 points. Redshirt freshman Ioana Krimili had 15 points and shot 60% beyond the arc. Krimili has now made 84 3-pointers and is tied for 11th most in a single season in WCC history. 

Redshirt sophomore Lucija Kostic earned a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds while also accumulating eight assists, six steals, and three blocks. Junior Jessica McDowell-White posted 10 points. 

USF women’s basketball’s WCC Championship dreams were dashed on March 8 by the Brigham Young University Cougars as the Dons lost in the semifinals by a score of 55-85. The Dons led the Cougars by four points at the end of the first quarter. However, the second quarter was not fruitful for USF, as the team shot 1-for-19 from the field, mustering a grand total of three points. The Cougars took control from there and never looked back. 

Krimili was the lone Don to score in double-digits, finishing the game with 21 points. Hoskova and Kostic led the team in rebounds with five apiece. 

With their elimination, USF women’s basketball will put their playoff hopes in the NCAA Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), a college basketball tournament for teams who did not receive a berth in the main NCAA tournament. The NCAA will reveal their tournament picks March 14 on ESPN2 and ESPNU. 

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