Despite trailing by 11 entering the fourth-quarter, the #22 USF Bulls rallied for a 93-87 comeback win in overtime over Dayton on Wednesday night in the first game of the New Orleans Shootout.
The Bulls trailed from the start as the Flyers jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, knocking down nearly every three-ball and forcing USF into an early hole. The Bulls would go on to trail by double digits for the majority of the game.
Sharpshooter Kitija Laksa, named National Player of the Week, was held quiet ... until the fourth quarter. Laksa, who scored just two points in the first half, exploded in the final quarter and overtime. Laksa had just four points with a little over five minutes left in the fourth quarter and finished with 29 points despite shooting 3-of-12 from three-point range. USF shot just 32% as a team from behind the arc.
USF grabbed its largest lead of the game, 76-72, with just 27 seconds remaining after an extended fourth quarter run. A steal, a turnover and a few baskets later, the Flyers tied the game 76-76 to force the extra period.
Powered by Laksa, the Bulls scored 46 points in the final 20 minutes of the game to swat off the defending Atlantic-10 Conference Champs and improve to 10-2.
Senior Laura Ferreira finished with a season-high 22 points, and added 10 rebounds despite a slow start.
Sophomore transfer Alyssa Rader again saw plenty of action, finishing third in scoring with 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. Rader was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
Senior forward Maria Jespersen also put together a solid night with 14 points and 6 rebounds but fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
A “big” resume win, but it certainly wasn’t “easy” for USF. (I hope you caught that cheesy New Orleans reference) The Bulls continue the tough non-conference slate Thursday night in the second game of the New Orleans Shootout against Michigan State at 8:30 p.m.