TAMPA — As coach Jose Fernandez’s University of South Florida women’s basketball team tends to do, the Bulls put a scare into a nationally ranked opponent Sunday afternoon at the Sun Dome.
Shoni Schimmel and No. 5 Louisville were just too much for the Bulls, though, pulling away late in the second half for a 62-54 win.
The Bulls fell to 8-8, 3-2 in the American Athletic Conference; Louisville improved to 16-1, 4-0.
Last season, the Bulls took No. 2 Notre Dame to overtime before losing, lost 78-75 to No. 12 Louisville and upset No. 18 Syracuse on its home floor .
Led by Courtney Williams’ dynamic first half, the Bulls threatened to add another upset to their list.
Williams led all scorers at halftime with 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting as the Bulls went to the locker room down 33-27.
The Cardinals surged out of the break, building a 47-30 lead with 14:41 to play before USF rallied via a 17-2 run.
A pair of Alisia Jenkins free throws cut USF’s deficit to 49-47 with 7:08 to play before the Cardinals pulled away again and cruised to the finish.
“(I thought) that we could beat this team,” Jenkins said. “I had all the confidence in the world and I still do. We are capable of beating Louisville.”
Schimmel finished with a game-high 25 points, including 17 in the second half. Williams led the Bulls with 19.
“I think Schimmel exerted herself and said, ‘It’s a two-possession game and I’m the best player in the arena and I’m going to take over,’ ” Fernandez said. “That’s what she did.”