Friday, March 27, 2009

Bulls Pick Up Big Win In WNIT Third Round

The University of South Florida women’s basketball team picked up a big win Thursday night with a convincing 74-57 win over Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi in the Sun Dome in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). Ole Miss finishes the season 18-15 while the Bulls improve to 24-10 on the year.

USF now advances to the quarterfinals of the WNIT where it will face St. Bonaventure in Olean, N.Y. on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Bonnies defeated Wisconsin in Madison on Thursday night, 56-51. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Bulls and St. Bonaventure.

The Rebels came out and took control early when Elizabeth Robinson one of her three three-point shots with 14:47 left in the first half to give Ole Miss a 14-4 lead, a margin that would prove to be its biggest of the game for Mississippi.

USF, however came back using a 10-2 run capped by a Danielle Starzynski three-point play with 11:12 left in the half, cutting the Mississippi lead to two points, 16-14. The Bulls would then take their first lead of the game, 26-24, on a lay-up by Shantia Grace – off a Starzynsi assist – and then pushed the margin to four points, 28-24, on another lay-up by Grant with 6:47 left before the intermission.

After the Bulls took a nine-point advantage, 35-26, with 5:02 left in the half on a three-pointer by Starzynski, Ole Miss would counter by closing the half on a 14-5 run and took a 40-38 lead into the locker room at the break.

USF, however, came out in the second half and didn’t waste any time in taking the upper hand outscoring the Rebels 16-4 to open the second stanza and taking a 54-44 lead on a three-pointer by Janae Stokes with 15:06 left in the game.

Ole Miss would cut the lead to five points two times in the next two minutes, however would not get any closer the rest of the way. The Bulls largest lead of the game came on a 10-foot jumper by Shantia Grace with 21 seconds left giving USF its final margin.

Grace would finish the game with 18 points while Janae Stokes netted 13 and Starzynski contributed 27 in the win. Starzynski would be taken out of the game with 6 minutes left to play due to heart complications that led her to collapse on the floor. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she was admitted. Jessica Lawson and Porche Grant each added 10 points apiece while Grant also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Grant's double-double was her third of the season and the sixth of her career.

The Bulls continue to improve on their record-setting win total. Their 24 victories are the most ever recorded by a USF men’s or women’s basketball team.

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