San Francisco Basketball Teams Finish Season and Focus on the Future

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The WCC  Tournament 

The San Francisco men’s basketball team lost a nail-biter in overtime to the Loyola Marymount Lions in the second round of the West Coast Conference tournament on March 7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. San Francisco had a first round bye. LMU was able to pull off the win even under the pressure of 23 points and 18 rebounds from Dons junior forward Cole Dickerson. Dickerson was the lone bright spot for the Dons – redshirt freshman forward Mark Tollefsen was the only other Don to reach double digits in scoring.

“Cole was fantastic…it was fun to watch. He’s an all-league player and if he has a great spring and summer, he can be the player of the year in this conference next year,” Head Coach Rex Walters said to usfdons.com.

The Dons shot just 38% from the field and were ice cold from the free throw line, shooting a mere 8-19 from the charity stripe. The Dons were out-rebounded 42-36 and managed to score only four points in overtime. Overall, the Dons were out-hustled and couldn’t match the intensity or effort of the Lions.

“I thought Loyola Marymount wanted it a little more than we did. You have to go through the battles. They made more plays down the stretch,” Walters said to usfdons.com.

 

The Final Game

The Dons were able to quickly rebound and build some momentum for next season as they defeated the Northern Kentucky Norse 73-68 in the final scheduled game of the season March 14 at War Memorial Gym. Dickerson starred once again as he posted his 13th double-double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Tollefsen led the team in scoring with 22 points and chipped in six rebounds. The Dons were red hot from the field, shooting 49% from the field and 40% from three-point land. With ten three pointers, USF set a new school record for three pointers made in a single season with 249. The Dons struggled from the free throw line once again, making only 13 of 21 attempts, but they beat the Norse on the glass, out-rebounding them 36-25.

The Dons finished the season winning four out of their last five games and finished fifth in a highly competitive West Coast Conference that featured Gonzaga, the number-one ranked team in the nation.

The Dons started the season strong back in November and December, winning five of their first six games including a big win over St. John’s, a traditional basketball powerhouse from the Big East Conference.  However, the team lacked senior leadership and struggled with inexperience, leading them to lose their next five in a row. San Francisco recovered later in the season and ended strong. The team did not feature a single senior and has a bright future with junior stars Dickerson and guard Cody Doolin returning for their final seasons next year. The team also has a plethora of talented young players returning next year such as Tollefsen and sophomore guard Chris Adams. The Dons hope to build off of their more impressive play at the end of the season and carry it over into the 2013-14 season.

 

On the Women’s Side

The San Francisco women’s basketball team had a strong showing at the West Coast Conference tournament with a win in the first round over Pepperdine, while falling just short to Loyola Marymount in the second round. The win was the first postseason victory for the Dons since 2007. The team has made strides over the past couple seasons and is hoping to carry momentum into next year. The Dons finished 4-12 in conference play, with many of the losses coming from very close games that could have gone their way with some minor adjustments. Senior guard Mel Khlok and senior forwards Bailey Barbour and Whitney Daniels are graduating this spring, leaving open spots for the young talent that is ready and waiting to step in to fill new roles. San Francisco will definitely miss Khlok, the Dons’ current leading scorer. However, freshman guard Zhané Dikes has made strides in her first season and has even led the team in scoring in a few games. The team will also return their leading rebounder, sophomore forward Alicia Scafidi. Overall, the Dons will continue to strive toward being a competitive team in the West Coast Conference next season and in seasons to come.

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