The University of South Florida women’s basketball team ended its two-game losing streak with a 86-62 win over Providence Tuesday night at Alumni Hall. USF improves its record to 15-5 and 2-4 in the BIG EAST.
The Bulls fell behind in the early going as the Friars took a quick 7-0 lead capped by a three-point shot by Chelsea Marandola just 1:14 into the game. USF would then get back into the contest when Porche Grant cut the Providence lead to three points, 10-7 with 15:29 left in the half. On its next possession, Jazmine Sepulveda would tie the game with a three-point shot with 13:43 left on the clock. Sepulveda would then hit two more trey’s, in two consecutive possessions down the floor, to give the Bulls their first lead of the game, 16-14 with 12:23 left in the first stanza and capping an 11-4 run. Providence however would come out after the 12 minute timeout to score seven unanswered points to regain the lead 21-16 with 11:17 left in the half on a jumper by Marandola.
The Bulls would take the lead back for the remainder of the first game on a lay-up by Jessica Lawson off an assist from Shantia Grace with 7:39 left. USF would eventually extend its lead to as many as six points, 37-31, in the first half on Sepulveda’s final three-pointer of the half with 1:19 left before the intermission. The Bulls came out in the second half and took advantage of their athleticism and defensive intensity. USF took control of the game right out of the locker room with three of its first five field goals coming from behind the arc, with one coming from Janae Stokes and two from Grace, to give the Bulls a 50-39 lead with 16:13 left in the game.
The Bulls also forced the Friars into seven turnovers in the first nine minutes after recording eight in the entire first half. USF would eventually push its lead to as many as 26 points, 86-60 with 1:23 left in the game, on a lay-up by Grant. The Bulls would shoot 45.7 percent in the second stanza, including 50 percent (6-12) from behind the three-point arc en route to the win. On the night, USF would place five players in double figures led by Sepulveda with 25 points, one shy of her career-high of 26. In addition to Sepulveda, Grace would chip in with 18 points while Stokes and Lawson had 12 points and Brittany Denson chipped in with 10 points. The Bulls remain without leading scorer Starzynski, who still has 3 games left in her suspension.
USF also paced three players in double-digits on the glass hauling down 13 rebounds. Lawson and Denson had 12 and 11 respectively. It was Lawson’s third double-double of the season and was Denson’s first of the year.The Bulls will return home on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. when they face Georgetown in the second game of a day-night doubleheader. The USF men’s team will face Villanova at Noon.