The Cougars faltered in their NSIC home opener, falling 74-49 to Concordia-St. Paul at the Stewart Center on Friday night.
The game was tied at 4-4 before Concordia St. Paul (4-4, 2-2 NSIC) ripped off a 19-0 run and the Cougars would never recover.
It is the Cougars’ most lopsided home loss since the 2007-08 season, when they fell to Morningside College by a 92-66 score.
Laura Johnson led the Cougars with 11 points and seven rebounds, as she hit 3-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. The junior was joined in double-figure scoring by Mikenna Greathouse, who recorded 10 points and four rebounds.
Jaicee Ulmer added nine points, three rebounds and two steals for the Cougars, who shot 27.9% (17-61) from the floor and committed a season-high 19 turnovers that Concordia-St. Paul converted into 23 points.
Three Golden Bears tallied a double-figure scoring effort, paced by sophomore Anika Whiting’s 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Junior Carissa Wolyniec added 19 points and torched the Cougars from long distance, connecting on six of nine three-point attempts. Rachel Hansen added 15 points for the Golden Bears.
The teams traded the first three buckets of the game, as USF took a 4-2 lead on a jumper by Alyssa Rushton. The Golden Bears countered with a 19-0 spurt on 6-for-11 shooting and took a 21-4 lead with 13:12 left in the first half. Concordia’s Mandy Poke capped the march with a long trey; one of three that the Golden Bears hit during the scoring spree.
A Greathouse jumper in the paint ended the Cougars’ scoring drought at the 12:09 mark of the first half and she followed with another bucket to cut the deficit to 13 points at 21-8 before the Golden Bears netted 10 straight points to extend the margin to 31-8. USF chipped away to get within 14 points after a Johnson three-pointer with just over four minutes to play, but Concordia St. Paul went on a 9-3 to end the half and take a 44-24 half time advantage.
It was much the same after intermission as Concordia-St. Paul held the Cougars at bay the remainder of the contest. The Golden Bears’ largest lead came in the second half, a 26-point advantage with 1:45 remaining in the game.
The Golden Bears shot 43.4% from the floor and 42.9% from three-point range. They edged the Cougars in rebounds, 41-39. USF is now 0-4 when losing the battle on the boards.
The Cougars return to action tomorrow when they play host to Minnesota State, Mankato (7-0, 4-0 NSIC) in the Stewart Center beginning at 4 p.m.