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Bulls women slip past UCF in overtime

The Bulls overcome a turnover-plagued effort for their second win against the Knights this season
USF senior Maria Jespersen had 21 points and 15 rebounds in Sunday's win vs. UCF. (Times file photo)
USF senior Maria Jespersen had 21 points and 15 rebounds in Sunday's win vs. UCF. (Times file photo)
Published Feb. 18, 2018

On a day in which they nearly drowned in a sea of their own turnovers, the USF women forced two critical ones in the waning moments to keep their hopes for a favorable NCAA Tournament seed afloat.

The No. 22 Bulls (22-5, 12-2) forced a pair of UCF turnovers in the final 26 seconds of overtime to escape Orlando with a 77-68 triumph Sunday. USF can clinch the No. 2 seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament with a victory at home Wednesday against Houston.

The Knights, who squandered a five-point fourth-quarter lead, tied the score at 62-all on a 3-pointer by Zakiya Saunders (31 points) with 11 seconds to play. An ensuing Bulls turnover in the backcourt — their 20th of the game — gave UCF (17-9, 9-4) a final gift possession, but Saunders missed a short jumper.

USF got consecutive 3-pointers from Maria Jespersen and Laia Flores to take a 70-66 overtime lead, then went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to help seal things.

Six-foot junior Kitija Laksa scored 32 points to lead all scorers, while Jespersen (21 points, 15 rebounds) recorded her 15th double-double of the season.