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USF women beat Temple to reach AAC tournament final

USF’s Courtney Williams, right, tries to knock the ball away from Temple’s Feyonda Fitzgerald during the first half of their American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal. Williams scores 20 of her 22 in the second half as the Bulls pull away for a 64-46 victory that sends them to today’s championship game against unbeaten UConn.

Associated Press

USF’s Courtney Williams, right, tries to knock the ball away from Temple’s Feyonda Fitzgerald during the first half of their American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal. Williams scores 20 of her 22 in the second half as the Bulls pull away for a 64-46 victory that sends them to today’s championship game against unbeaten UConn.

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Courtney Williams scored 20 of her 22 in the second half, Shalethia Stringfield finished with 20 points and a career-high 13 rebounds and No. 20 USF beat sixth-seeded Temple 64-46 Sunday, setting up a rematch of last season's American Athletic Conference championship game with No. 1 Connecticut.

USF, which plays the Huskies at 7 tonight (ESPN2), closed out Temple with a 33-9 game-ending run, putting away a game that had eight ties and eight lead changes.

"We knew it was going to be a great basketball game," Bulls coach Jose Fernandez said. "We knew we were going to get Temple's best punch. Right now (the Owls) are playing to get into the NCAA Tournament."

Temple opened the second half on an 11-2 run for a 37-31 lead, but the Bulls ended the quarter on a 14-2 run, with 13 combined from Williams and Stringfield, for a 45-39 lead.

Williams hit an open 3-pointer from the wing with 6:39 left and beat the shot clock on a jumper from the free-throw line as USF started the fourth on a 15-2 run for a 60-41 lead.

"I think my team was waiting on me to get going," Williams said. Stringfield "carried us through the first half, and everyone was just waiting for me to turn it on. So I was like, 'It's time to go (in the third quarter).' "

Alisia Jenkins recorded her ninth double double of the season with 12 points and 15 rebounds for USF (23-8), which faces UConn for the third time this season. The Bulls are looking for their first tournament title and their first win ever over the Huskies.

Tanaya Atkinson led Temple (20-11) with 17 points.

"I felt like we fought in the first half, even into the third," Owls coach Tonya Cardoza said. "I definitely felt that first half we wanted it. I just think a couple of things got to us. This was a disappointing loss for us."

NO. 1 UCONN 82, TULANE 35: Katie Lou Samuelson scored 17 and Morgan Tuck added 15 to help the Huskies (31-0) romp in the AAC semifinals for their 68th straight victory. UConn scored the game's first 14, with Kia Nurse scoring seven, and cruised from there.

NO. 2 N. DAME 68, SYRACUSE 57: Madison Cable had 18 points on six 3-pointers for the Fighting Irish (31-1), who never trailed the Orange (25-7) and won their third straight ACC tournament title in Greensboro, N.C.

NO. 3 S.C. 66, NO. 16 MISS. ST. 52: A'ja Wilson had 19 points and 13 rebounds, her 12th double double of the season, and the Gamecocks (31-1) beat the Bulldogs (26-7) in Jacksonville to win the SEC tournament for the second straight year.

NO. 4 BAYLOR 84, NO. 24 OKLA. 57: Alexis Jones had 19 points and 11 assists for the Bears (32-1), who shot 56 percent and beat the Sooners (21-10) for the third time this season in the Big 12 semifinals in Oklahoma City.

NO. 5 MARYLAND 60, NO. 19 MICH. ST. 44: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 19 for the Terrapins (30-3), who pulled away from the Spartans (24-8) in Indianapolis for their second straight Big Ten tournament title.

NO. 6 TEXAS 67, NO. 22 W. VA. 51: Celina Rodrigo scored 12 for the Longhorns (28-3), who shot 48 percent from the field to beat the Mountaineers (24-9) in the Big 12 semifinals.

NO. 8 OREGON ST. 69, NO. 12 UCLA 57: Ruth Hamblin had 23 points and tied a school record with 20 rebounds as the Beavers (28-4) cruised past the Bruins (24-8) in the Pac-12 championship game in Seattle.

NO. 18 DEPAUL 76, BUTLER 49: Megan Podkowa scored 14, Jessica January had 10 points, six rebounds and six assists and the top-seeded Blue Demons (25-7) advanced in the Big East quarterfinals in Chicago. DePaul, the reigning tournament champion, plays the winner of the late St. John's-Georgetown game tonight.

A-10: Hannah Schaible scored 17, Brianna Cummings had 15 and George Washington (26-6) held Duquesne scoreless for more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter to rally for a 63-60 win in Richmond, Va., and its second straight Atlantic 10 tournament title.

SOUTHERN: Queen Alford scored 17 and Chattanooga (24-7) used a late 9-0 run to defeat Mercer 65-57 in Asheville, N.C., for its fourth straight conference tournament championship.

SSC: Juliana Cavallaro had 20 points and nine rebounds as Tampa (19-12) defeated Florida Tech 68-59 in the Sunshine State Conference tournament championship game in Daytona Beach, earning an automatic berth into the Division II tournament.

NCAA Tournament

Automatic berths

Belmont Ohio Valley

Chattanooga Southern

George Washington Atlantic 10

Maryland Big Ten

Notre Dame ACC

Oregon State Pac-12

South Carolina SEC

USF women beat Temple to reach AAC tournament final 03/06/16 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2016 11:26pm]
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