The University of South Florida women’s basketball team looked to take another step in an already successful Women’s National Invitation Tournament journey tonight as it faced Boston College in the tournament’s semifinals. Well that journey will have another leg to it as USF handed the Eagles an 82-65 loss at the Silvio O. Conte Forum. The win was the fourth straight for the Bulls, and their eighth victory in their past nine games. USF is now 26-10 on the year while Boston College ends the season 23-12.
The Bulls now advance to the WNIT championship game and will face Kansas on Saturday, April 4 at 2 p.m. (ET).
USF came out in the first half and tried to set the tempo early as Jasmine Wynne forced the Eagles into turnovers on their first two possessions and helping the Bulls jump out to a 5-0 lead just two minutes into the game on a lay-up by Jazmine Sepulveda. After a Wynne lay-up made the score 13-11 USF with 10-:27 left, Boston College would score the next four points to take its first lead of the game, 15-13, with 9:23 left in the first half on a lay-up by Jasmine Gill.
The Eagles would push the lead to as many as six points twice over the remainder of the half, allowing the Bulls to regain the lead just once, 26-25, on their first and only three-pointer of the half by Shantia Grace with 3:03 left before the intermission.Boston College would eventually take a four-point, 32-28, advantage into the locker room at the break.
Despite USF shooting just 35.5 percent from the field in the first stanza, Brittany Denson was 4-6 from the field, and 4-4 from the charity stripe, for 12 points in the first 20 minutes. The Bulls came out in the first four minutes of the second half and scored 14 of the first 21 points during that stretch spearheaded by three Janae Stokes treys. USF took control of the game holding the Eagles without a field goal from the 12:10 mark to 6:28. During that stretch, the Bulls got 13 of 15 points from Wynne and two three-pointers from Stokes giving USF a 15-point, 65-50 lead.
USF would not look back the rest of the way as Boston College never got closer than 11 points in the final six minutes. The Bulls would extend their lead to a game-high 17 points, 82-65, with the final margin. Stokes would finish with a team-high 22 points on 7-16 shooting from the field, 5-9 from behind the arc, and 3-6 from the charity stripe. Wynne added 19 points while Grace and Denson chipped in with 16 and 12 respectively. Leading scorer Danielle Starzynski was absent from the game again due to a heart condition that has kept her benched. She is not expected to play in Saturday's WNIT final.
On the night, USF was 44.4 percent (28-63) from the field and 42.9 percent (9-21) from behind the arc. In addition, the Bulls hit 81 percent (17-21) of their shots from the free throw line in the win. USF also forced Boston College into 15 turnovers which led to 25 points, while just committing five on the night including two in the second half.
The Bulls will now head to Lawrence, Kansas for their first WNIT title game at the Phog Allen Fieldhouse Saturday with tip-off slated for 2p.m.. As always keep reading for updates and GO BULLS!