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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]

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.