The South Florida Bulls women’s basketball team survived another scare in the AAC Tournament semifinals in their 51-47 win over Tulane on Wednesday to advance the tournament final for the fifth time in eight year.
Three fourth quarter three’s from Maria Alvarez, and eight clutch made free throws from Sydni Harvey and Elisa Pinzan helped the Bulls escape with another win.
USF got out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter where they didn’t allow a point for the first eight minutes of the game, and took a 10-4 lead into the second quarter. Then the wheels fell off.
USF missed 11 straight shots to end the first quarter, and start the second where they saw their lead quickly evaporate as the Green Wave started to figure out the USF defense and went on 12-2 run to take a 23-17 lead into the half.
Tulane’s lead ballooned to as much as 10 points with 3:33 left in the third quarter before an Alvarez three, and Bethy Mununga layup cut the deficit to five just before the quarter ended.
Maria Alvarez said the Tulane bench called her baby.@mariacamalvarez response: four threes to help #USF claw back and win. pic.twitter.com/JrIYu4DLDl— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) March 11, 2021
Alvarez hit three three’s in the fourth quarter to help propel the Bulls to victory. She finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Harvey, and Pinzan each 12 points of their own. Bethy Mununga had eight points, and 18 rebounds—an AAC Tournament record— before fouling out with less than two minutes to play.
The Bulls shot just 27% from the floor. They have not been the same since the COVID break in mid-January, but have continued to find a way to win. Head coach Jose Fernandez told reporters after the game that they cannot continue to shoot this poorly and have as many turnovers (18) as they had on Wednesday and expect to win in the finals Thursday night.
USF will face the winner of #2 Bay Lake and #3 Houston for the conference title on Thursday night at 10 p.m. on ESPNU.