The Dons ended their 13-game losing streak against San Diego on Thursday night with a 78-74 victory over the Toreros in War Memorial Gym. USF was outrebounded by the Toreros 49-30, but managed to hang on for the win thanks to a career-high 28 points from sophomore guard Zhané Dikes.
USF started the scoring first with a free throw by junior forward Paige Spietz, but San Diego went on a run to go up 15-8. The Dons bounced back fiercely from there though, taking the lead with a 13-4 run that included three-pointers by both Spietz and junior guard Taj Winston. The scoring went back and forth from that point until two free throws and a layup by Dikes at the end of the half left the score 38-32 in the Dons’ favor.
The Toreros came back in the second half, going on a 16-8 run that included two layups by junior guard Brooke Jelniker to give them the lead at 48-46. USF didn’t let them keep it long, however, and took control of the game, going ahead by as much as 13 heading towards the two-minute mark. San Diego kept pounding on the door as the clock wound down, coming within one point of tying the game, but USF stayed ahead and clinched the victory with three free throws by sophomore forward Taylor Proctor.
The Dons were not rebounding well throughout throughout the game, allowing the Toreros to grab more offensive boards than they grabbed defensive boards. This is what almost sank the Dons, as they allowed 18 second-chance points while only scoring five of their own. When they did rebound the ball, however, they were able to score somewhat efficiently, shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc. The Toreros, on the other hand, shot 35.9 percent from the field and only 28.6 percent from the three-point line.
In addition to her 28 points and 16 made free throws, Dikes tacked on five rebounds. Spietz came in second in scoring for the Dons with 17 points, and led the team in rebounds with eight. Two other Dons, Winston and Proctor, tacked on double-digit points as well with 11 and 12, respectively. For the Toreros, senior guard Amy Kame scored 28 points of her own, in addition to eight rebounds and a game-leading four steals. With this win, the Dons improved their Western Coast Conference record to 4-8.
That record soon became 4-9, however, as the Dons fell to the Brigham Young Cougars 73-66 at home on Sunday. Spietz had her first career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and junior guard Aundrea Gordon scored a career-high 17 points. Despite this, the Cougars were able to pull off the win aided in part by their 20 made free throws compared to just 8 by the Dons, who went 53.3 percent from the foul line.
USF is now 9-15 overall. The Dons’ next game will be on Feb. 15 at 2 a.m. in the War Memorial Gym against the Santa Clara Broncos, who are 3-9 in WCC play and have currently lose seven games in a row.
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