On Sunday the USF women’s basketball team played their first game in the 2009 Basketball Travelers Tip-off Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. The Dons at 3-3 entering the game were matched up against Texas-Arlington with a 2-3 record. USF started the game great, jumping out to a six-point lead, and they wound up leading the entire first half. The Don’s defense was stifling as it held Texas-Arlington to eleven points until there were seven minutes left in the half. The Dons led for they entire half and at one point they were able to push that lead to fourteen points. Everything was going right for the Dons in the first half, especially when sophomore Vania Singleterry hit a buzzer-beater to give the Dons a 31-22 lead going into halftime.
The Dons were playing very well in the first half and they were clearly the better team early on. USF did a great job defensively, especially in forcing turnovers that led to easy baskets. The Dons dominated Texas-Arlington in points off turnovers 14-2. USF also got good play out of its bench players in the first half as the unit outscored Texas-Arlington’s bench 13-7. USF looked good on all ends going into half but there was still a half left to play and Texas-Arlington was not ready to call it quits.
The second half started off with both teams exchanging baskets back and forth. But USF held the lead for most of the second half despite Texas-Arlington’s efforts to quickly get back into the game. Texas-Arlington kept chipping away at the lead until they final tied the ballgame with one minute left in the game. Texas-Arlington was trailing by three until freshman Veronica Mergerson connected on an “and one” play hitting a jumper while getting fouled then sinking the ensuing free throw. They then took the lead on their next possession with a lay-up and then hitting a free throw their next possession to put Texas- Arlington up by three. The Dons answered back with a jumper to cut the lead to one. Texas-Arlington was able to secure their victory by hitting free throws down the stretch as the Dons tried to get the win they were seeking. With five seconds left in the game the Dons hit a jumper to pull within one but Texas-Arlington put the game away when they hit two free throws after an intentional foul. Texas-Arlington pulled away with the win 70-67 in a hard fought game.
Texas-Arlington was able to dominate points off turnovers in the second half outscoring USF 15-4. Whatever team was able to dominate that stat held the lead in this game as you saw with USF leading at half after winning that category in the first half. The loss puts the Dons record at 3-4 as they look to bounce back against Hawaii on Dec. 3. USF sophomore Rheina Ale led all players in scoring with 21 points on the night.