In a match-up of star forwards, South Florida’s Jessica Dickson and Georgetown’s Kieraah Marlow were very nearly equals, scoring 24 and 21 points, respectively. But aside from those two stars going head-to-head, it was advantage Bulls.

South Florida (16-5, 6-2 Big East) scored fast and early en route to a 79-51 win Tuesday night in Tampa, Fla., handing Georgetown (11-11, 1-8) its sixth straight conference loss. The Bulls made their first six baskets to take a 23-7 lead just six minutes into the game. They had assists on all six of those field goals and assisted on 15 of their 16 first-half field goals while turning the ball over just five times.

Sophomore guard Shantia Grace directed the South Florida attack and hit two critical three-pointers during the early run that buried Georgetown’s hopes for a win.

“Once again, we were down by 20 points at halftime,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “And we’re not going to win games like that.”

While Marlow and Georgetown needed the half-court offense to score points, South Florida came out early, scoring in transition and on quick possessions, often catching a slow-to-adjust Georgetown defense off guard with backdoor cuts to the basket.

“We didn’t play good defense,” Williams-Flournoy said. “The rotation was wrong in our 1 defense.”

During South Florida’s tremendous run, the Hoyas were in a 3-2 zone with sophomore center Katrina Wheeler patrolling the top of the key and leaving the baseline open for attack.

Dickson made four three-point shots in the first half, and Grace scored eight points. In all, seven South Florida players scored in the first half on 16-of-27 shooting.

For every crisp cut South Florida executed to perfection, Georgetown clanked a shot off the rim. While Marlow put in 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the first half, ¬¬¬¬¬the rest of the Hoya squad shot a dismal 3-of-17 from the floor.

After South Florida’s initial 23-7 opening run, Georgetown’s offense flashed a quick 10-5 burst before shutting down. The Hoyas have not been able to find the bottom of the net this year, and it showed against the Bulls’ pressure defense – Georgetown scored just four points in the final 7.5 minutes of the first half.

For the fourth straight game Georgetown entered halftime trailing by double figures. With a slow-moving offense and poor outside shooting, the Hoyas were not equipped to play catch-up.

South Florida cruised in the second half, allowing its reserves to gain playing time, including freshman center Stephanie Sarosi, who played the entire half. At 6-foot-5, Sarosi proved a force to be reckoned with for Georgetown. As one of the tallest players on the court, the Sunshine State local lived up to the comparisons analysts have drawn between her and Dallas Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki. Soon after entering the game, she stepped behind the arc and drained a long three-point shot.

Sarosi, equally proficient at maneuvering under the basket as she is at handling a mid-range jumper, had no match on the Georgetown squad. But that was the least of the Hoyas’ problems given South Florida’s domination with more conventional players.

South Florida’s guards were quicker, better shooters, and freshman guard Shanice Fuller and junior guard Kristin Heidloff could not hold their own against their counterparts in green and white.

Georgetown guards shot 2-of-16, while South Florida’s starting backcourt was 7-of-13.

The Hoyas play host to the Villanova Wildcats tomorrow at 3 p.m. in McDonough Gymnasium. The Wildcats (7-14, 1-7) are one spot above Georgetown in the standings but the only team in the Big East that scores less often than Georgetown.

With seven games remaining on their schedule, the last-place Hoyas can still make the Big East tournament but cannot afford to lose more, with 12th-place Cincinnati (12-9, 3-6) holding the last tournament spot.

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