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UCF continues ‘War on I-4’ dominance of USF with 64-57 women’s hoops win

The Knights sweep a weekend of basketball against the Bulls.
USF sophomore Elisa Pinzan had seven 3-pointers Sunday in the Bulls' 64-57 loss to UCF at the Yuengling Center. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times] [Joey Knight]
USF sophomore Elisa Pinzan had seven 3-pointers Sunday in the Bulls' 64-57 loss to UCF at the Yuengling Center. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times] [Joey Knight]
Published Jan. 19
Updated Jan. 20

TAMPA ― From USF’s perspective, its rivalry with UCF lately has regressed into the woe on I-4.

And what a woeful weekend the Bulls experienced in this lopsided interstate tussle.

Less than 24 hours after UCF’s men eked out a controversial one-point win against the Bulls in Orlando, their women’s counterparts exploited some Bulls sloppiness down the stretch for a 64-57 triumph Sunday at the Yuengling Center, completing a Knights weekend sweep.

Related: USF's Brian Gregory irate over late whistle in Bulls' loss at UCF

“We played one senior today, all the other guys are freshmen and sophomores,” said Bulls coach Jose Fernandez, whose program has lost its last three to the Knights. “But I don’t think we have a value of how important every possession is. You only understand that when you lose games like this.”

UCF ended the fall season with a 24-6 lead in the 2019-20 “War On I-4” standings, in which each school earns points for a victory against the other. At several junctures Sunday, the Bulls (10-8, 2-2 American Athletic Conference) appeared poised to narrow that deficit in a game featuring eight lead changes.

But UCF (10-6, 2-2) closed with a 15-5 run, during which the Bulls committed three turnovers and had a shot blocked on another possession. By contrast, the Knights made their last eight free throws.

“You’ve got to close those games at home,” said Fernandez, whose team led 45-42 entering the fourth period. “And we didn’t.”

The defeat tarnished a long-range clinic by Bulls sophomore Elisa Pinzan, who finished 7-for-12 from 3-point range and led USF with 23 points. UCF all-conference point guard Kay Kay Wright led all scorers with 28, scoring 17 in the second quarter alone.


  1. USF defensive back Mike Hampton (7), returning an interception during the 2018 season opener, will help lead the Bulls through what could be the American Athletic Conference's toughest schedule in 2020.
  2. USF wide receiver Randall St. Felix (84) and the Bulls have only one open date in the 2020 season. USF's complete 2020 schedule was finalized Tuesday.
  3. Former USF coach Charlie Strong (left), greeting Alabama coach Nick Saban at a 2017 summer football camp on the Bulls campus, reportedly has joined Saban's staff in an analyst role.
  4. Connecticut's Megan Walker, left, drives past USF's Shae Leverett during the second half of the Huskies' 67-47 triumph Sunday at the Yuengling Center. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
  5. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma brings his team to the Yuengling Center for the final time as an American Athletic Conference member today.
  6. USF coach Brian Gregory, pacing the sideline during a January game at the Yuengling Center, watched his team score only 11 first-half points in Saturday's 56-48 loss to Tulsa. [OCTAVIO JONES | TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  7. USF interim coach Jess Moore watches her team from the dugout on the opening day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
  8. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens.
  9. Bishop McLaughlin alumnus Carson Ragsdale, a clutch reliever for USF two seasons ago, returns after missing a season due to Tommy John surgery.
  10. Former USF quarterbacks B.J. Daniels, left, and Quinton Flowers, right, could square off when Seattle plays host to Tampa Bay in an XFL game Saturday.
  11. USF's Michael Durr blocks a shot attempt from Houston's Justin Gorham during the first half Wednesday in Tampa.
  12. ESPN films game action  on the final day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore. Fields in Clearwater last year.