In their first game of the season, the Dons bolted out of the gates and past the Saint Thomas Bobcats in an 87-69 exhibition win. USF had four different players score in dou- ble digits, including sophomore guard Rachel Howard, who led both teams with an impressive 21 points.
In the first half, junior forward Taylor Proctor started the scoring with a layup and the Dons never looked back. With just six minutes into the first half, USF was already up by 13, and was aided by two three pointers and a steal from Howard. The Dons continued their fast start, and with five minutes left in the first half, they had increased their lead to 40-20, which would be their biggest lead of the game.
San Francisco took a 44-31 lead into halftime, and if it wasn’t for St. Thomas’ 22 first-half free throw attempts, the score may have been much more lopsided. In the second half, Saint Thomas fought hard to claw away at the Dons’ lead, but despite their best efforts they were never able to come within more than nine points. Junior guard Zhané Dikes played a big role in helping USF maintain the lead, scoring five points to go with three assists, and one steal in the second half. Senior guard Taj Winston played well logging five points, three steals and two assists in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Dons’ capitalized on Saint Thomas’ miscues all game long, scoring 32 points off of the Bobcats’ 26 turnovers, while Saint Thomas scored just 14 points off of USF’s 24 turnovers. The Dons shot 50.8 per- cent from the floor compared to 40.8 percent for the Bobcats, which helped to offset Saint Thomas’ 34-22 advantage in free throw attempts.
In addition to her 21 points, Howard had six re- bounds, four assists, and two steals while making six of her nine shots. Next up in the scoring department was redshirt junior forward Alicia Scafidi, who had 12 points and tacked on eight rebounds and a block as well. Dikes had 11 points to go with five assists, one block, and two steals on the game, and the final double digit scorer was Proctor, who had ten points in addition to six rebounds.
The Dons will kick off the 2014-15 regular sea- son with their home opener on Nov. 14 against Columbia at 7:00 p.m. In the 2013-14 campaign, Columbia was 6-22 overall with an away record of 4-11, and the Dons defeated them 83-69 at the be- ginning of last season.