South Florida women rally to beat Marquette 67-65 in OT

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu scored 22 points and Elena Tsineke’s jumper with 31.2 seconds left in overtime put South Florida ahead for good in a 67-65 victory over No. 9 seed Marquette to start the women’s NCAA Tournament on Friday.

The Golden Eagles (22-11) had a final look to win, but Mackenzie Hare’s 3-pointer went inside the rim and rolled out with a second to play.

“What a way to start the NCAA Tournament,” South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said.

The Bulls (27-6), who didn’t lead for the game’s first 38 minutes, rallied several times including from 47-36 down in regulation to tie their mark for wins in a season.

Breaking the record this year won’t be so easy as South Florida will face the No. 1 overall seed and defending champion South Carolina, undefeated on the year at 33-0 after a 72-40 winner over No. 16 seed Norfolk State.

“We have one day to prepare for them, they have one day to prepare for us,” Fernandez said. “So we’ll see.”

The Bulls appeared to have the game won at the end of the fourth quarter, ahead 59-55 after Tsineke’s 3-pointer with 31.7 to play. But Hare’s two foul shots after a South Florida turnover tied things and forced the extra session.

The lead changed hands six times in overtime, the last on Tsineke’s basket.

“This game says we just simply don’t give up,” said Tsineke, the senior who made just one of her first nine shots before heating up.

She finished with 13 points, 11 of those coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Fankam Mendjiadeu finished with 16 rebounds for her 24th double-double this season and 56th of her career.

It was a disappointing finish for the Golden Eagles (22-11), who built a double-digit lead as Chloe Marotta scored a team-high 25 points. But the 6-foot-1 senior, an all-Big East first-team selection, fouled out with 2:56 to play in OT.

“It’s the hardest day of the year,” Marquette coach Megan Duffy said.

South Florida entered with a mindset on a different ending than in this building a year ago when the Bulls lost the eight-nine match up to No. 8 seed Miami in the NCAA opener of last season’s Columbia pod.


Marquette: The Golden Eagles have gone to two NCAA Tournaments in coach Megan Duffy’s four seasons. They have a strong base of young players to build with going forward including Hare and freshman Emily La Chapell. “We’re in the dance and we earned every piece of it,” Duffy said.

South Florida: The Bulls won the AAC’s regular-season title and have a strong one-two combo in Fankam Mendjiadeu and Tsineke that should keep them close against anyone – maybe even the nation’s No. 1 team.


Fankam Mendjiadeu acknowledged some nerves as she stood at the foul line in overtime, her team ahead by one and facing a pair of free throws. “I was scared,” she said with a laugh. Fankam Mendjiadeu made one of two, enough to keep the Bulls out front, “so it turned out OK.”

USF fires head coach Brian Gregory after 6 seasons

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. – South Florida basketball coach Brian Gregory was fired one day after the Bulls lost 73-58 to East Carolina in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Gregory went 79-107 over six seasons at USF. The Bulls were 14-18 this season.

“Brian has been a true ambassador for the University of South Florida,” Director of Athletics Michael Kelly said in a statement. “Ultimately, our head coaches and programs are judged by on-court success, and we have not lived up to our expectations for men’s basketball.”

Kelly said the school has started a national search for a new coach and that USF assistant coach Larry Dixon will be interim head coach.

Edwards leads No. 10 Houston over USF for 8th straight win

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON – Kyler Edwards had 23 points and seven rebounds, Fabian White Jr added 16 points and five rebounds, and No. 10 Houston won its eighth straight by beating South Florida 74-55 on Tuesday night.

Edwards, who scored a career-high 29 points with seven 3-pointers on Saturday night, had six 3-pointers against the Bulls and 17 first-half points. Josh Carlton finished with 15 points and five rebounds, and Taze Moore scored 13 points for the Cougars (16-2, 5-0 American Athletic Conference).

Houston, which shot 45%, won its 35th straight home game – the third-longest active home-winning streak in the nation behind Gonzaga and Liberty.

DJ Patrick scored 19 points, and Caleb Murphy added 12 points for the Bulls (6-11, 1-4), which lost their fourth in the last five games.

South Florida shot 35%, went seven of 22 on 3-pointers and were forced into 17 turnovers, which Houston turned into 17 points.

After South Florida scored the first four points of the game, Houston used a 17-2 run over a six-minute span to open up an 11-point lead. Houston upped its lead to as much as 23 in the first half and led 38-18 at the half.


South Florida: The Bulls have not beaten a ranked team since Feb. 29, 2012, at Louisville. . South Florida struggled shooting in the first half, making 28% of its shots and going 1 for 10 on 3-pointers. . The Bulls outrebounded Houston, 39-36.

Houston: The Cougars have won 11 straight against South Florida. . Houston guard Jamal Shead, who sprained his right ankle early in the game Saturday night and missed the rest of it, came off the bench on Tuesday and played 20 minutes. He played with a sleeve on his right leg.


Houston donned the uniforms worn by the team from the late 1950s until the 1985-86 season.


South Florida: Hosts Temple on Saturday.

Houston: Hosts East Carolina on Saturday.

Harvey, No. 18 South Florida top No. 7 Stanford 57-54

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

NASSAU, Bahamas – South Florida coach Jose Fernandez had total faith that Sydni Harvey would hit the game-winning shot when he drew up the final play in a timeout.

The junior guard hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 2.8 seconds left, sending No. 18 South Florida to a 57-54 win over seventh-ranked Stanford in the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Championship tournament on Friday.

“Coach called the play and I hit the shot and we had a couple of defensive stops and that was that,” Harvey said. “It was a very exciting game to play in.”

With a flight home shortly after the game, Fernandez was going for the victory instead of trying to force overtime.

“We had to catch our flight out of here,” Fernandez said laughing.

Led by Harvey’s 15 points, South Florida posted its second victory over a top-10 opponent this week and only the third overall for the program.

“It gives us confidence we can hang with anybody in the country,” Harvey said.

South Florida’s Bethy Mununga matched a career high with 23 rebounds, to go along with six points.

Trailing by two in the final seconds, Harvey caught a pass from the corner and swished the 3-pointer in front of her coach.

Stanford (4-2) couldn’t recover.

The Bulls (5-2) completed a difficult stretch, playing four ranked teams in their last five games. Before coming to the Bahamas, South Florida lost at Tennessee. Fernandez’s team then played UConn tough before losing and beat then-No. 9 Oregon.

“That five-game stretch was difficult on us,” Fernandez said. “We were tied up in the fourth quarter against Connecticut and rebounded against Oregon. This was good for us. We had two days to get ready for them. We defended. We got the stops when we needed to especially at the end of the game.”

Cameron Brink had 23 points and 11 rebounds for Stanford.

Stanford rallied from 12 down and took a 53-52 lead on Lacey Hull’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with 14.1 seconds left. After a miss by South Florida, Brooke Demetre hit one of two free throws to make it a two-point game and set up Harvey’s big shot.

Elisa Pinzan added two free throws for the final margin as Stanford couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer.

“Always tough to lose a game like that,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We made some real big plays. Really proud of our team and how we battled in the second half. Credit South Florida, they made a real big shot when they needed to. We’ve made shots like that before.”

South Florida led 28-19 at halftime and increased its advantage to 12 before Stanford started to rally behind its 3-point shooting. The Cardinal tied it at 42 early in the fourth quarter before South Florida scored five straight. Stanford rallied and took its first lead of the game with 4:18 left on Demetre’s 3-pointer from the wing.

Neither team scored again until Elena Tsineke’s floater in the lane with 2:05 remaining. After more misses, Mununga grabbed her 23rd rebound with 27.8 seconds left and was fouled. She hit the second of two free throws to make it 52-50.

Stanford wanted to play a third game while on this trip east so the contest against South Florida was added. The Bulls played in the other tournament on the island, finishing third at the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis event.

The game was played at the Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas in a converted ballroom complete with a low ceiling and a raised stage right off midcourt that held up the scoreboard. There were bleachers behind the two benches for fans to sit on.


South Florida: Another big win for the Bulls should position them well in March to get a higher seed and move up the rankings

Stanford: The Cardinal got a chance to play some of the team’s younger players and will have plenty of opportunities to get big wins during the rest of the season.


Stanford was just 4 for 12 from the free-throw line.

“You’re never going to win close games like this shooting 4 for 12 from the free-throw line,” VanDerveer said.


Brink’s 20-point, 20-rebound game on Thursday was the school’s first since Chiney Ogwumike did it in 2014. … Friday’s game marked the first meeting between the schools in women’s basketball.


South Florida: The Bulls have a few days off before visiting UT Arlington on Dec. 2.

Stanford: The Cardinal close out their tournament with a game against No. 2 Maryland on Saturday.

Top seed NC State beats South Florida with big third quarter

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

SAN ANTONIO — Jakia Brown-Turner scored 19 points and top-seeded North Carolina State shrugged off a challenge from No. 8 South Florida with a big third quarter, advancing to the Sweet 16 of the women’s NCAA Tournament with a 79-67 victory on Tuesday.

Jada Boyd added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (22-2), who reached their third straight regional semifinal and 14th overall. They will face fourth-seeded Indiana or 12th-seeded Belmont.

USF (19-4) led by a point early in the third quarter before N.C. State used two big runs to pull away and take a 12-point lead into the fourth.

The Bulls pulled within eight points with 3 1/2 minutes to go. But the Wolfpack scored the next five points, capped by a 3 from Brown-Turner that made it 73-60 with 90 seconds to go.

The game was played at the Alamodome in front of a handful of people, including NCAA President Mark Emmert, who has been on the defensive since players took to social media to point out inequities in the NCAA’s treatment of women’s teams.

Elena Tsineke had 22 points to lead the Bulls, who were in the tournament for the seventh time. They made six 3-pointers in the first half to spark hope of an upset, but hit just three more after halftime.

N.C. State overcame the absence of Kayla Jones, who injured her left knee on Sunday, and an off day by star center Elissa Cunane, who went 3 for 15 from the field. Cunane was 6 of 7 at the free-throw line and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds as all five Wolfpack starters scored in double figures.

The Wolfpack used a 10-2 spurt, with four points from Boyd, to take a 47-40 lead midway through the third quarter. USF got within two before N.C. State erupted for a 12-0 run that made it 59-45 late in the quarter.

The Wolfpack took advantage of three turnovers in that stretch and USF coach Jose Fernandez received a technical foul to help them add to the lead.

Tsineke leads South Florida past Washington State 57-53

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas — Elena Tsineke scored 18 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:32 remaining, to help South Florida to a 57-53 win over Washington State in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.

Tsineke’s driving shot, which came soon after a 3-pointer by Washington State’s Charlisse Leger-Walker, gave the eighth-seeded Bulls (19-3) a 54-53 lead.

“The season is about to end,” Tsineke said. “You have to get something out of it.”

The ninth-seeded Cougars (12-12) had several chances to overtake South Florida, but Leger-Walker missed two driving shots and was called for traveling, all during the final 1:07. The Bulls hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

“They just made a couple more game winning plays at the end,” Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge said. “We didn’t quite make enough shots tonight to get ourselves a win.”

Leger-Walker, an all-Pac-12 selection and the league’s freshman of the year, matched Tsineke’s 18 points but converted only 4 of 18 field goal attempts, including 2 of 10 3-pointers.

Johanna Teder supported Leger-Walker with 16 points.

South Florida converted 11 of 16 shots in the second quarter – including its first six – to take a 38-29 halftime lead. The Bulls needed that boost because they hit 5 of 21 shots in the first quarter.

Tsineke finished the half with 12 points. Leger-Walker scored 11 in the half but was less efficient than Tsineke.

Leger-Walker, well guarded by South Florida, hit 2 of 8 shots but made all six of her free throws.

Washington State pulled even by the end of the third quarter, not by shooting well but by limiting South Florida to three baskets and seven points.

“You’re up nine and we knew they weren’t going to go away,” South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said. “That team right there has had some really good wins in Pac-12 play. They’ve been in wars.”


South Florida extended a season that included a long delay. The Bulls earned their NCAA invitation by winning the American Athletic Conference tournament for the first time in the school’s history. The Bulls were on pause for the coronavirus for a month spanning January and early February.


Washington State didn’t last long in the tournament after waiting 30 years between trips. The Cougars made it with a pedestrian 12-11 record. But that record included four big Pac-12 wins over UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State twice, elevating Washington State to the No. 45 spot in the NCAA Net ratings. The four wins were by a total of 14 points.


South Florida faces North Carolina State, seeded No. 1 in the region on Tuesday. The Wolfpack defeated North Carolina A&T Sunday 79-58.