The Dons outscored the Columbia Lions 83-69 on Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Big Apple Bonanza Tournament in New York, N.Y. after suffering an 80-66 loss to the Fordham Rams in their opening game of the season on Friday.
Against Columbia, San Francisco played a grueling game that included 56 fouls, riddling the game with clock stoppages. There was little rhythm to the game, but the Dons were able to capture the victory thanks to the play of freshman guard Rachel Howard and junior guard Taj Winston. They scored 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Howard opened the game by scoring on a long three-pointer, and from there the contest remained a back and forth battle until the end of the first half. Winston, taking advantage of the closely called game by the refs, scored six points in a row from the free throw line, giving the Dons a 34-30 lead. San Francisco ended the first half with a slim 37-34 lead.
“We went to the locker room and Coach Azzi told us that we needed to pick it up, everyone had to be mentally present and that we needed to come out here and do what
we needed to do to get the win” Winston told USFDons.com.
Just as she did in the beginning of the game, Howard opened the second half with a three-pointer in the first minute. However, this time the Dons continued to pick up the pace, putting Columbia away.
A basket by junior guard Aundrea Gordon marked the beginning of the run that separated the Dons from Columbia. Gordon received the ball on an inbounds play and scored a difficult shot after getting fouled by a Lion. She converted her three-point play at the foul line, kicking off a 7-0 run for San Francisco.
USF shined in the second half, shooting 47.5 percent from the field to score a total of 83 points and earn their first win of the young season.
The Dons were coming off of a loss in their opening game of the season in which they struggled to score baskets, losing to the Fordham Rams 80-66. Fordham’s stellar
shooting was unmatched by San Francisco, despite the offensive effort from Winston and Howard, who combined to score 35 points, over half of the Dons’ total scoring.
Fordham shot 45 percent from the three-point line and out-rebounded the Dons 44-32. Although the Rams controlled the game throughout, San Francisco would not go down easily, and ended the first half trailing by a manageable nine points. However, the
second half mirrored the first half with the Rams again shooting a high percentage from behind the three-point line, allowing them to extend their lead.
The Rams, who were 26-9 last year and are predicted to finish third in the Atlantic-10 Conference for the 2013-14 season, were a difficult first matchup for USF.
The score of San Francisco’s home exhibition game against Dominican University on Wednesday, Nov. 13 was not available at press time. The Dons now prepare to face Long Beach State on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2:00 p.m. at War Memorial Gym.