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AAC Women’s Basketball Tournament: No. 5 USF Vs. #1 UConn

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A familiar foe for the Bulls, just a round earlier than normal.

Anthony Vito / The Daily Stampede

The USF women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament for the sixth-straight year after they used a 21-6 third quarter to blow out the Houston Cougars 72-55 yesterday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Area in Uncasville, Conn.

Down by one at halftime, the Bulls used an early 13-2 run out of the break to take the lead. The trio of redshirt sophomore Enna Pehadzic and freshmen guards Elisa Pinzan and Sydni Harvey propelled USF to an easy win.

Pehadzic followed up her 23-point performance in the opening round win over Tulane with a 16 point, five rebound game versus the fifth-seeded Cougars. Harvey, who has come off the bench since returning from concussion, led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting and added six rebounds and four assists.

Pinzan, coming off her most complete game as a Bull, registered 13 points, four assists, and three rebounds. The play of Pinzan and Harvey so far in the tournament have been nothing short of spectacular. They’ve run the offense well, and haven’t panicked when teams have tried to press them and force them to speed up the game.

A scary moment early occurred in the first half when Tamara Henshaw appeared to hyperextend her right knee on a fall, but she stayed in the game. After halftime though, she was wearing a knee brace to help give support. Late in the contest, she injured the same knee again and walked off gingerly. It remains to be seen what her status is for UConn, but knowing USF women’s basketball this season, she’s likely out (full conjecture).

Third ( 28th) Time’s A Charm?

USF will face UConn in the tournament again. Just earlier than ever before. For the last four seasons, the Bulls and Huskies have faced off in the tournament title game, with each game going to UConn.

Even though the Bulls have been severely depleted by injury, they’ve played the Huskies well in both games this season. In the first contest, the Bulls were trailing only by six at halftime before a poor third quarter put the game out of reach.

Most recently, USF actually led the Huskies by five at halftime before succumbing again to a poor third quarter, albeit the Huskies were without Katie Lou Samuelson.

Huskies star center Napheesa Collier’s 37 points and 13 rebounds helped UConn destroy ECU 92-65 in the quarterfinals. With Henshaw potentially out, or at the very least limited, Shae Leverett, Alyssa Rader, and Luize Septe are going to have their hands full trying to contain the all-American.

Tip is at 4 p.m. on ESPN 2 and can be heard on Bulls Unlimited on iHeartRadio.