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USF honors seniors, watches them shine in win against Cincy

By Joey Knight | Times Staff
Published: February 24, 2018
USF women's coach Jose Fernandez is flanked by seniors Laia Flores (left) and Maria Jespersen during ceremony honoring the pair prior to Saturday's 84-65 victory against Cincinnati. (JOEY KNIGHT | Times)

What began as an emotional senior night segued into a methodical senior showcase for the 18th-ranked USF women Saturday.

Six-foot Denmark native Maria Jespersen notched her 17th double-double of the season (26 points, 16 rebounds) while fellow senior Laia Flores totaled 12 assists to lift the Bulls (24-5, 13-2) to an 84-65 romp of Cincinnati (17-11, 9-6) before an announced Sun Dome crowd of 2,574.

USF, winner of nine in a row, plays Monday night at top-ranked Connecticut.

Jespersen and Flores, honored with their families during a poignant pregame ceremony, will become the first class in the program's 46-year history to reach four NCAA Tournaments. With one more triumph, the pair also becomes the first class to record 100 career victories.

Jespersen scored the last five points during a critical 12-2 run to close the first half, then opened the third period with a 3-pointer to give USF a 46-30 lead. She has recorded double-doubles in each of her last five games.