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Bulls women lose regular-season finale to Knights

USF, which had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, is held to a season-low 45 points.
USF's Bethy Mununga, shown here against UCF on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Tampa, grabs a game-high 14 rebounds in a rematch with the Knights on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Orlando.
USF's Bethy Mununga, shown here against UCF on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Tampa, grabs a game-high 14 rebounds in a rematch with the Knights on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Orlando. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Mar. 5
Updated Mar. 5

ORLANDO — Masseny Kaba scored 16 and grabbed nine rebounds as UCF toppled No. 15 USF 58-45 Thursday in the regular-season finale.

The Knights put on a defensive display, holding the Bulls to a season low in scoring as well as shooting at 25.5 percent (14-of-55). USF was 7-of-22 from 3-point range, 7-of-33 inside the arc and outscored 34-8 in the paint.

The teams split the season-ending series and are the top two seeds — USF first — heading into next week’s American Athletic Conference tournament. The Bulls had already clinched the program’s first conference regular-season title with a 65-62 home win Tuesday against UCF.

USF has a first-round bye for the AAC tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, and faces the winner of the No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

The Bulls are the fifth team to be held to a season low in points by UCF. In 17 games, the Knights have held their opponent to less than 50 points nine times.

Brittney Smith scored 13, Diamond Battles had 11 with seven assists and Alisha Lewis scored 10 for the Knights (14-3, 12-2).

Elena Tsineke scored 15 for USF (15-3, 13-2), and Bethy Mununga added 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

UCF scored the last 14 points of the first quarter for an 18-8 lead and led 32-23 at halftime. Kaba scored 12 for the Knights, who shot 52 percent.

Sydni Harvey scored all eight Bulls points in the first quarter but didn’t score again. Mununga and Tsineke combined for all 15 points in the second quarter.

The cold-shooting Bulls got within six once early in the second half and no closer than nine in the fourth.