USF women need OT, but advance in WNIT
TAMPA -- On a team led by seniors, freshman Jasmine Wynne stepped up with a huge night Saturday, scoring four of her career-high 26 points in overtime and leading USF to an 88-81 victory over Florida Gulf Coast to advance to the thrid round of the Women's NIT.
USF (23-10), passed over for the NCAA Tournament, nearly made an early WNIT exit at the Eagles' hands for the second year in a row. After Wynne gave the Bulls the lead with 15 seconds left in regulation, FGCU's Adrianne McNally tied the game with two seconds left to force overtime.
Wynne went 10-for-16 from the field, with USF's first four points in overtime, completing a comeback after trailing by as many as 12 in the first half.
"She's our future," coach Jose Fernandez said. "I think the key was Brittany Denson and Jessica Lawson, the way they finished inside and rebounded, but down the stretch, we put the ball in (Wynne's) hands."
Denson and Lawson both had double-doubles, with Lawson getting 19 points and 15 rebounds and Denson totaling 18 and 12. The Bulls outrebounded FGCU 46-26, which helped offset the 13 3-pointers the Eagles hit. FGCU (26-5) had won 17 straight coming in, and eliminated the Bulls in the first round of last year's WNIT.
The third round will be in the Sun Dome, likely Wednesday or Thursday night, and the Bulls will face the winner of Sunday's Mississippi-Murray State game. The 23 wins are the most ever by a USF basketball team, surpassing the 1982-83 men's team, which went 22-10.