The University of South Florida women’s basketball team placed three players in double figures Saturday afternoon en route to an 84-78 win over Cincinnati in the regular season home finale for the Bulls at the Sun Dome. The win improved USF’s record to 20-9 (7-8 BIG EAST) and marks the third time in the past five years that it has reached the 20-win plateau. The Bearcats dropped to 13-15 on the year and 3-12 in the BIG EAST.
Danielle Starzynski paced the way for the Bulls, scoring 53 points, the seventh consecutive game where she has scored 40 or more points, while Shantia Grace and Janae Stokes had 12 and 11 points respectively.
Lawson, Grace, Denson and Sepulveda – are seniors and accomplished their scoring feats on a packed Senior Day.
The Bulls jumped out of the gate quickly taking a 6-0 lead just 42 seconds into the game on back-to-back three-pointers by Starzynski.
USF seemingly took control of the game keeping the margin in double figures for the majority of the first half including a game-high 25-point lead, 39-14, reached on the second of two free throws by Sepulveda with 6:13 left before the intermission.
The Bearcats, however, cut into the Bulls’ lead using a 16-5 run to cut the USF edge to 12 points, 44-32 with 54 seconds left before the break on two made free throws by Shanassa Sanders. Cincinnati would trail by 8 at the half, 49-41.
The Bulls got their lead back to 18, 52-34, starting the second half just like the first half, on a 6-0 run, when Denson converted a lay-up off a Grace assist just two minutes into the final stanza.
After exchanging baskets for the next six minutes, the Bearcats finally cut the lead to single digits, 62-53, with two free throws by Angel Morgan with 12:04 left in the game.
Cincinnati kept its run going, getting as close as four points, 62-58, on a free throw by Sanders.
USF would get its margin back up to double digits leading by as many as 12 points twice in the final six minutes of the game, before the Bearcats made things real interesting.
After trailing 75-63 with 5:26 left, Cincinnati put together an 11-1 run to cut the Bulls’ lead to just two points, 76-74, on a three-point shot by Jill Stephens with 2:58 left in the contest. The Bearcats, however, would not get any closer.
In addition to her 53 points Starzynski recorded an impressive 16th double-double of the season recording a career-high 11 steals. That total is tied for the single most double-doubles in one season and one off equaling the school record. Starzynski has broken 2 school records so far in just her first year here but it is confirmed that she will not be returning next season.
Kahla Roudebush tallied a game-high 22 points while Sanders added 18 points in a losing effort. Angel Morgan and Stephens chipped in with 12 and 11 points respectively.
On the afternoon, USF shot 55.2 percent (32-58) from the field, including 42.1 percent (8-19) from the behind the three-point arc, and 75 percent (12-16) from the free throw line.
The Bulls also dominated in the paint outscoring the Bearcats 47-24 in the lane.
USF will travel to Philadelphia where it will close out the regular season at Villanova on Monday, March 2 at 7 p.m.