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Women’s Basketball Survives Cold Shooting, Beats Tulane 62-53

A balanced attack helps the Bulls win their conference opener in a tricky road test.

NCAA Womens Basketball: South Florida at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

The USF women’s basketball team scored fewer points Wednesday night than they have all season. And only once have they shot a lower percentage from the field. They didn’t let that stop them, though.

Maria Jespersen had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and three other Bulls finished in double figures as USF beat the Tulane Green Wave 62-53 at Fogelman Arena.

USF (12-1, 1-0 American) and Tulane (10-5, 1-1 American) both struggled to score points. The Bulls shot just 37.5% from the field and made only 4 of 18 three-pointers. The Green Wave managed only 35.5% shooting. The Bulls maintained a small lead for the entire first half and led 26-25 at the break.

Early in the third quarter, Tulane briefly took the lead on back-to-back layups by Leslie Vorpahl, who led all scorers with 16 points, and Kolby Morgan. However, a basket by Adriana Pujol and a three by Kitija Laksa restored USF’s advantage, and they never gave it up. Laksa scored 12 points, Pujol added 11, and Laia Flores chipped in 10 points, along with five assists and six steals.

USF put the game away with a 16-4 run stretching between the third and fourth quarters. When Tamara Henshaw made a layup with 7:47 to play, the Bulls’ lead reached 51-37. They kept a double-digit advantage until there were 20 seconds left in the game.

The Bulls broke Tulane’s 11-game home winning streak, surviving maybe their toughest conference road game (non-UConn division) without too much trouble. They return home to face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Saturday night. Tipoff at the Sun Dome is at 7:00 p.m.