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

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

BIG PICTURE

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.

THROWBACK TUESDAY

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

UP NEXT

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
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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.

BIG PICTURE

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.

NOT CHARITABLE

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.

TIP-INS

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.

UP NEXT

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
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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
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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.”

GRATIFICATION DELAYED

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.

BEEN A WHILE

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.

UP NEXT

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

Freshmen aim to make a big impact in women’s NCAA Tournament

Paige Bueckers controls the ball
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Louisville coach Jeff Walz got a preview two years ago of just how good the current national crop of freshmen were going to be once they started their college careers.

Walz coached the United States to a gold medal in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup with an undefeated squad that included included Paige Bueckers (UConn), Caitlin Clark (Iowa), Cameron Brink (Stanford) and Haily Van Lith (Louisville).

“They were all just terrible players until I had a chance to coach them up,” he joked. “But seriously, they competed with each other, against each other. They’ve all had such good experience and international experience and played at a high level that they’ve been able to come into college and be impact players right away.”

A look at some of the freshmen expected to have an impact on March Madness.

PAIGE BUECKERS (UConn)

The the Big East’s player of the year and national player of the year candidate has received the most attention of the talented freshman class, averaging 19.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.3 steals. She is one of only three freshman to be named a first-team AP All-American.

She is shooting 54% from the floor and and 47.4% from 3-point range.

One of three freshmen who see significant playing time for the Huskies (post Aaliyah Edwards and guard Nika Muhl are the others), she’s already has hit game-clinching shots against rival Tennessee and South Carolina.

“Listen, I’m not boasting. But if I talked to every single coach in America and they told you, they’d rather have their freshmen than Paige, I would tell you they’re only saying that to be nice to their own players,” coach Geno Auriemma said. “Because there’s things that they’ve seen Paige do that no other freshmen can do.”

UConn opens against High Point on Sunday.

CAITLIN CLARK (Iowa)

Iowa’s star led the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten title game and led the nation in scoring at 26.7 points per game.

Clark, who has hit 103 shots from 3-point range, said confidence and playing on a big stage have never been a problem.

“I think I’ve always kind of had that,” she said. That’s always been a part of my game. But I think my teammates have definitely helped as well. They’ve kind of given me the keys and shown that they trust me and I trust them as well.”

The Hawkeyes are a No. 5 seed and will take on Central Michigan on Sunday.

HAILEY VAN LITH & OLIVIA COCHRAN (Louisville)

Walz’s freshmen duo are both scoring about 11 points per game.

They each rank in the top six in both scoring and rebounding among freshmen in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Van Lith has three 20-point games this season and Cochran has put up four double-doubles.

“They’ve done a remarkable job of coming in right away and having an immediate impact on our program,” Walz said. “And for us, that was a must. We needed for them to have that kind of impact.”

The No. 2 seed Cardinals take on Marist on Monday.

TE-HINA PAOPAO (Oregon)

In this case, the absence of a freshman may have an impact on the tournament.

The Duck’s point guard, an all Pac-12 selection, averaged 10.2 points and 4.4 assists in her 19 starts, but suffered a right foot injury in late February and has been sidelined since.

“If we can somehow get her back, by the grace of God, what a lift that would be,” coach Kelly Graves said Monday. “But I don’t anticipate it will be this first weekend.”

The sixth-seeded Ducks, who have lost four of their last five games, take on South Dakota on Monday.

CHARLISSE LEGER-WALKER (Washington State)

Leger-Walker led her team to its first NCAA Tournament in 30 years, averaging just under 19 points per game.

The native of New Zealand scored 20 or more points 12 times this season, more than any other player in the league.

“It’s been a great first season, for me personally and for the team,” she said after being named the Pac-12 freshman of the year. “A lot of learning curves and a lot of successes along the way. A lot of history this year as well, and it’s been really cool to be a part of.”

The ninth-seed Cougars face South Florida on Sunday.

CAMERON BRINK (Stanford)

Brink has been a force for the Cardinal in the paint, averaging 10.2 points a game while shooting 58.2% from the field. She’s also blocked 64 shots.

She’s scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots in the team’s Pac-12 semifinal win over Oregon State, helping the Cardinal to a 14th league title.

“She’s a lot better than she was in November,” coach Tara VanDerveer said. ‘Seh didn’t get a summer to be on campus to train and work out. She learned our offense on Zoom. It took her a while to get the flow of things. She’s doing terrific.”

The top-seeded Cardinal take on Utah Valley on Sunday.

No. 12 Houston blows out USF with huge first-half run

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Quentin Grimes scored 22 points, all in the first half, to lead No. 12 Houston to a 98-52 win over South Florida on Sunday.

Grimes scored 16 straight points at one point as the Cougars (20-3, 13-3 American Athletic Conference) put the game away with a huge first-half run. The junior guard, who scored 21 of his 33 points in the first half against Western Kentucky on Thursday, finished 8 of 16 from the field and hit 6 of 12 3-pointers.

“When he gets hot like that, it’s really amazing to watch,” Houston guard DeJon Jarreau said. “I just want him to keep shooting because it’s really a show. I enjoy watching it, and the whole team enjoys watching it. Whoever is hot, we try to keep feeding him.”

Jarreau added 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Justin Gorham and Fabian White Jr. had 10 points apiece for Houston, which won its third straight and reached 20 wins for the sixth consecutive season. The Cougars shot 60% and made 15 of 33 3-pointers.

“We’re 20-3, which tells you a little bit about the program,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “Just the consistency of the program is hard to do. Most people take that for granted because you just assume you’re going to do it because it must be easy. It’s not.”

Houston forced the Bulls (8-10, 4-8) into 15 turnovers and converted those into 22 points.

“Playing defense, we defended well,” Jarreau said. “We made a lot of shots today. Coach Sampson always says that if we make shots and defend well, it will be hard for a team to beat us. With those two things coming together, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Xavier Castaneda scored 11 points and Caleb Murphy added 10 for USF, which has lost five of six. The Bulls shot 37%.

“You got to make every shot you take against them when you’re open,” USF coach Brian Gregory said. “In that first half, we had some good looks at some 3s, just weren’t able to finish. They took advantage of it.”

The Cougars jumped out to a 54-16 lead with four minutes left in the first half by outscoring USF 47-10, including a 26-0 run. Houston led 56-21 at halftime behind 61% shooting, making 10 of 20 3-pointers.

“Over the last probably two weeks, Houston has started to find their groove on the offensive end,” Gregory said. “Grimes is playing at an extremely high level right now. That has been the next phase for them is to be able to score the basketball, move the basketball and get easy baskets.”

BIG PICTURE

South Florida: The Bulls entered ranked 15th in the NCAA in offensive rebounds, averaging 13.2 per game. They had 13 against Houston but managed only nine second-chance points. … USF has lost 32 straight games against ranked opponents, with its last win in February 2012 over then-No. 19 Louisville.

Houston: The Cougars won their 24th straight at home. … Houston won its ninth straight against the Bulls. … The Cougars committed five turnovers while forcing 11 steals. Houston had 27 assists, held a 36-16 advantage in points in the paint and a 31-1 edge in fast-break points.

“The stat that I’m most proud of today – and this shows you the growth of our team this year – was 27 assists and five turnovers,” Sampson said. “To have 27 assists and five turnovers, the unselfishness and moving the ball and finding the open man and that guy shooting with confidence.”

UP NEXT

South Florida: Hosts Memphis on Tuesday.

Houston: Hosts Memphis on Sunday.