Crippled by a large number of turnovers, the Dons dropped their sixth straight West Coast Conference game to the San Diego Toreros in a 76-58 loss this Saturday. Five USF players turned the ball over three or more times, leading to 27 total turnovers and 21 points for the opposition.
Redshirt junior forward Paige Spietz opened the game with two free throws, kicking off an 8-0 run to start the game for the Dons (7-13, 2-7 WCC). However, USF’s lead would get no larger than eight. The Toreros missed their first eight shot attempts but went on a 13-3 run after hitting their first basket, a three-pointer. After the run, San Diego and San Francisco traded baskets until the seventh minute of the first half, when San Diego hit another three-pointer to put them two baskets ahead.
Still, the Dons were able to keep pace with San Diego for most of the first half, and found themselves down by just two points with two minutes left in the half thanks to trips to the free-throw line by freshman guard Rachel Howard and sophomore guard Zhané Dikes. After that, a six-point run by the Toreros solidified their lead, and they finished the half up 35-27.
The Dons kept the game close in the start of the second half with Spietz again scoring the first points. With 16:34 left in the second half, a layup by junior guard Taj Winston cut San Diego’s lead to just three. San Diego’s offense then took control of the game, scoring 11 of the next 14 points, and putting San Francisco in a position that they could not recover from. Dikes and Howard led the Dons in scoring, tallying 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Two days earlier, USF was dealt a demoralizing 81-47 loss to the Brigham Young Cougars at the Marriott Center. The Dons were outmatched from the opening tip, falling behind 11-0 to start, and trailing 34-15 by halftime. Dikes led the team with 13 points, and was the only Don to reach double figures.
San Francisco hopes for a better outcome on Thursday, Jan. 30 when they face the 12-8 Portland Pilots in Oregon at 7:00 p.m.