Despite rallying from a 12-point deficit, the USF women’s basketball team went scoreless for the final 7:21 of the fourth quarter and fell 47-40 to Memphis in front of 2,164 at the Yuengling Center on Wednesday night.
“We have a very small room for error”, head coach Jose Fernandez said. “We’re playing everybody in the conference with their full, healthy squad, where we can’t have guys play the way they did. That can’t happen.”
Trailing by six at halftime, the Bulls (11-8, 2-3 AAC) exploded for a 22-5 run and held Memphis to just one point in the third quarter to take a 36-31 lead into the final period.
Junior Tamara Henshaw finished with a double-double, scoring a career-high 16 points, hauling in 11 rebounds and dishing off two assists while sophomore Shae Leverett added eight points and 12 boards.
Following an Elisa Pinzan three-pointer that pushed the USF lead to 40-33 with 7:21 remaining, the Bulls missed their final 10 shots, committed four turnovers and allowed Memphis to end the game on a 14-0 run to seal it away.
As a team, USF shot only 31% (19-for-61) from the floor and a season-worst 5% (1-for-20) from three-point range.
“Henshaw and Shae were great on the glass and finishing around the rim,” Fernandez added. “But you’re 1-for-20 from three-point land, you’re not gonna win that way.”
The contest ended in ugly fashion when Enna Pehadzic flung up a potential game-tying three-ball that missed with two seconds left. Fernandez was given a technical foul and ejected after a ball out-of-bounds was rewarded to Memphis.
The Tigers (8-10, 3-2 AAC) drained all four of the ensuing free throws to secure the victory, while the Bulls attempted only TWO free throws the entire game.
“I finished the game in the locker room for a reason,” Fernandez said. “That’s what I think of that.”
USF returns to action on Saturday in Dallas against SMU at 1 p.m.