Despite a promising first half, the Dons fell to their opponents from San Diego when they were overpowered during the second half, losing by a final score of 74-69. Junior guard Zhane Dikes led the team in scoring with 15 points and also tacked on two assists and one steal.
The Dons jumped ahead quickly at the start of the game off of a three-pointer by junior forward Taylor Proctor. USF kept the pressure on San Diego and managed to never lose the lead for the entire first half. One of the main reasons the Dons were able to stay ahead until the half was their impressive shooting from beyond the arc. Four different Dons managed to score from the three point line, including Dikes, who made all three of her attempts. Overall USF had an incredible three point percentage of 58.3 percent.
An area where the Dons frequently struggle, which was evident in this game, was turnovers. San Diego had just two turnovers during the half, a number that USF tripled when they gave the ball away six different times. Despite going up by 12 at one point, the Dons had too many turnovers to maintain such a large lead, and went into halftime up by just three points.
The second half featured much less three point accuracy from the Dons, with even more turnovers than before. Overall, the Dons gave the ball back to San Diego on seven different occasions, while shooting much worse from beyond the arc at just 33.3 percent. Despite playing worse than the previous half, the Dons still managed to keep the lead for the first 10 minutes until a two-pointer by San Diego’s Sophia Ederaine tied the game at 56 all. Less than a minute later another two-pointer from the same player gave San Diego the lead, which they would never give back. San Diego was soon up by eight and, despite attempts by the Dons to claw away at the lead, they came up five points short, losing by a score of 74-69. This loss brings the Dons overall record to 13-9.
In addition to Dikes’s 15 points there were three other Dons that scored in double digits. Freshman forward Michaela Rakova had 12 points off 75 percent shooting from the field in addition to six rebounds. Senior guard Aundrea Gordon tacked on 11 points of her own as well as three rebounds, two steals, and one assist. The last Don to make it to double digits was freshman guard Anna Seilund with ten points and an impressive six assists. Although she did not make it to double digits in the points category, Proctor had eight, as well as a whopping 10 rebounds.
Just two days earlier, the Dons played BYU in a game that had more or less the same outcome. In this case however, USF only led for a short time at the start of the first half and then never again. Much like the San Diego game, USF came close at the end but still lost by five points. There were some positive things to take away from the game however. Senior guard Taj Winston became the 19th Dons player to reach the 1,000 point mark, and shortly after her, Taylor Proctor became the 20th. Overall, Winston led the Dons with 19 points in addition to three steals and four rebounds. Proctor was close behind her with 16 points as well as nine rebounds and three steals.
The Dons next game will be at Portland on February 5th, the match will kick off at 7pm. Two days later USF will be in Spokane, Washington to face off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 2pm.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dons Athletics