Carter's last stand

Losers of four in a row, much remains at stake for the USF women’s basketball team as it hosts its last homestand of the season, beginning today against St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Gymnasium.

But the final two home games offer fans something else — a last chance to view dominant Dons forward Dominique Carter.

The spectacular senior seems destined for her fourth straight All-West Coast Conference first-team honor, leading USF in scoring (18.9 points per game) and rebounds (6.8), and will say goodbye to the campus as the program’s second-highest career scorer, behind only Mary Hile, who would later coach the Dons.

Of course, the struggling Dons (13-12, 4-6 West Coast Conference) have a chance in the remainder of the regular season to gain a winning league record, together with the favorable conference tournament seed that comes with it, and confirm a winning season for the first time since 2002.

“To me, it doesn’t really mean much if I’m the second-leading scorer and we still have a losing season,” Carter said. “I hope we get a couple of wins and get some momentum and get into the NCAA Tournament.”

Like any team player, Carter is reluctant to overshadow the team’s travails. But without Carter’s success, it becomes hard to imagine the Dons anywhere close to where they now stand.

The 5-foot-11 forward has been the leading scorer in 16 of USF’s 25 games, including 10 of its 13 wins, and high rebounder nine times.

“Someone of Dom’s talent, you always don’t want to see someone like that graduate,” second-year coach Tanya Haave said. “She’s come a long way in expanding her game.”

But graduate Carter will and afterward she plans to take her game overseas, hoping to play ball aslong as she can. When that runs out, Carter expects to take a certification exam to become an accounting professional.

The former Merrill West High School of Tracy star said she knows relatives and former prep track coaches who were accountants, so the occupation made sense — and she knows it can make a few dollars, too. Carter may need her accounting experience to add up all her scoring totals when everything is done.

In addition to her place in school history, Carter’s 1,735 points is good already for fifth in WCC history and she is within reach of third in the conference record book.

“She was able to get some individual accolades, but I think she’d give those away in a heartbeat if we were able to do better conference-wise,” Haave said.

Haave said the program does not plan any special ceremony for Carter’s exodus this weekend but will honor all the seniors, including center Lisa Olden and guard Nykia Peace, as normal. Saturday’s Senior Night is against Santa Clara, 7 p.m. at War Memorial.

“They’re our Bay Area rivals and they’re very beatable,” Carter said. “We beat St. Mary’s on their home court and came very close against Santa Clara when we played there, so hopefully we come away with some wins.”

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