TAMPA, Fla. – Sophomore Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) posted a career-high 23 points to lead the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team in a 72-56 loss to the University of South Florida as part of the South Florida Shootout at the Sun Dome. The Wildcats suffer their first defeat of the season and even out at 1-1, while the Bulls improve to 2-1.
The Wildcats, who were down by 14 points (20-6) with 8:53 remaining in the first half, battled back to even the score at 24-24 with 3:56. In the 18-4 run, senior guard Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.) sunk two free-throws to close the gap at 24 apiece. Cerniglia finished the game with eight points for the Wildcats. The Bulls closed out the half with a 12-4 run to take an eight-point (36-28) advantage into the locker room
South Florida continued to hold the momentum at the start of the second half, taking a 20-point lead (54-34), the Bulls largest lead of the game, with 13:34 remaining. Simpson got the Wildcats on a roll, sinking three straight 3-pointers and hitting a jumper to cut the lead in half, 56-45 with 10:26 left in the game. The Bulls pulled ahead, but Simpson, who went 4-4 from the charity stripe, hit two free-throws to cut the lead to nine points (61-52) with 4:43 remaining. South Florida’s clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch allowed the Bulls to hold on to the lead and the win.
South Florida, led by Melissa Dalembert with 19 points, had three players scoring in double figures. Dalembert dominated with a team-high 12 rebounds, leading the Bulls to a 46-26 advantage in boards. Simpson was New Hampshire’s leading rebounder with six, four of which came in the first half.
Tomorrow the Wildcats will face the University of Tennessee-Martin at noon. In earlier action today, the UTM Skyhawks were defeated by Illinois State, 60-50.