In the first half of one of the toughest two-game stretches any team in the country will face this season, the Cincinnati Bearcats were routed 72-52 by No. 20 USF on the road Wednesday night.
Ana Owens scored 11 points and handed out eight assists, but she needed 17 shots to get to that point total. Shanice Johnson also struggled to find an offensive rhythm, scoring eight points on 3-of-11 shooting while turning the ball over five times. UC (14-8, 5-4 American Athletic Conference) connected on only 33.3 percent of its shots from the floor although seven players scored at least five points. The Bearcats have now lost three-straight. That’s not really the kind of momentum building needed when No. 1 UConn is next on the schedule.
USF (18-3, 7-1) was powered by an incredible performance from Maria Jespersen, who scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Ariadna Pujol chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds and Kitija Laksa managed 11 points, although on just 4-of-18 shooting. In all, the Bulls didn’t exactly scorch the nets off, but shooting 42.2 percent when your opponent is hovering near 30 usually does the trick.
With Jespersen’s help and Johnson’s struggles, the Bearcats were outscored 30-16 in the paint and on the wrong end of a rather hefty rebounding differential (53-30).
As mentioned above, UC will take on the undefeated Huskies next, hosting them next Tuesday. Its a frightening proposition for any team, particularly the sliding Bearcats, who lost last year’s contests with UConn by 54 and 62 points, respectively.