Buffs Claim Third At San Juan Shootout, Fall To USF 72-59
GUAYNABO, P.R. - South Florida junior Jessica Dixon had 24 points to lead the Bulls to a 72-59 win over Colorado in the final game of the San Juan Shootout, Wednesday night at the Mario Morales Coliseum.
Dixon earned MVP honors as South Florida won the tournament title and moves to 9-2 overall. Colorado, which finished third with a 1-2 mark in round robin play, falls to 4-6 overall. CU was led by junior Jasmina Ilic's 20 points while sophomore Jackie McFarland had 17. McFarland was CU's lone member of the San Juan Shootout All-Tournament team.
A pair of South Florida runs at the beginning of each half proved to be the difference in the ball game. The Bulls led by five at halftime, 39-34, and opened the second half on a 10-0 run. Ezria Parsons hit a pair of buckets and Dixon and ChiChi Okpaleke each hit two foul shots as CU was held scoreless until an Ilic field goal at 15:59 of the second half.
Colorado whittled the lead down to 62-54 with 4:33 left but could get no closer. The Buffaloes hit only one field goal ? a McFarland 3-point field goal with :39 left in the game ? in the final 5:59 of the contest.
South Florida's defense held Colorado to just 30 percent from the floor in the second half as the Buffs made only 6-of-30 attempts. CU stayed close thanks in part to its success at the foul line, hitting on 88 percent for the game (22-of-25).
South Florida used a 13-0 run over 5:01 span in the first half to open a 21-6 lead. The Bulls limited the early CU offense to just McFarland as she scored the first eight points of the game for the Buffs. Colorado's first points from a player other than McFarland was a Whitney Law free throw with 10:21 remaining in the half.
Colorado shot well early, hitting on 52.4 percent from the field (11-of-21), but it was the turnover bug that hurt the Buffaloes in the first half. CU had 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, resulting in 18 South Florida points. Overall the Bulls scored 27 points on 19 CU turnovers.
Colorado finally got some offense going in the latter part of the second half cutting into the USF lead. Ilic scored all 10 of her first half points in a 2:42 span late in the period. Ilic's 3-pointer with 2:39 left in the half closed out a 12-2 CU run that brought the Buffs back to within four at 33-29. CU also helped itself at the foul line hitting 10-of-11 attempts. McFarland hit all five of her attempts in the first half, and led CU into the locker room with 13 points.
Law finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds. USF had four players score in double figures including Okpaleke and Nalini Miller each with 14.
Colorado will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 28, and host South Dakota State University at the Coors Events/Conference Center at 7 p.m.