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.