Senior guard Jasmine Wynne ended her home career with the USF women’s basketball team Monday by scoring the team’s first points and the game’s final points in a 64-56 overtime victory.
It was only fitting that the first points of Senior Night were scored by the senior being honored. Wynne opened up the Bulls’ scoring with a jumper for two. Despite the quick start, USF (16-14, 8-8) found themselves down early in the game. Providence (13-16, 5-11) came out aggressive against the Bulls, out-rebounding them 9-2, and led 8-2 just six minutes in.
Despite early struggles, impressive shooting from the line helped pull the Bulls back into the game. Wynne and freshman guard Shalethia Stringfield were 2-2 in the free-throw stripe, and junior guard Inga Orekhova contributed by hitting 3-of-4 from the line.
The Friars could not hold their lead for long. Tight defense forced Providence to turn the ball over eight times in the first half, allowing the Bulls to head into the locker room leading 28-27.
Wynne managed to top double figures early in the second half, marking the 23rd straight game she has reached the plateau, including every game this season except for two. Wynne finished the night with her season average of two steals, as well as a pair of blocks.
“It was great how the team stepped up tonight,” said Wynne
The Bulls and Friars kept pace with one another in a 41-41 stalemate of a game with less than 10 minutes left to play.
Despite a tough defensive effort by the Bulls, Providence saw four players score in double figures. Junior guard Symone Roberts, sophomore guard Alicia Cropper , as well as senior forwards Rachel Barnes and Teya Wright were the players to find a way to score through the standoff.
The Bulls had a double-digit scoring trio of their own, with Wynne’s 15 points in addition to the efforts of Orekhova and junior guard Sasha Bernard, who contributed 17 and 13 points, respectively. Bernard also had no problem sharing the wealth on the court, finishing the night with six assists.
After a USF timeout with 5.6 seconds to go, the Bulls stormed down the court and Orekhova threw up a rainbow shot from behind the arc that sent the Bulls into overtime.
Orekhova kept her pace up into the extra period, beginning overtime with yet another 3-pointer. Before the pair of threes, Orekhova was only 1-9 from 3-point range. As the clock ran out, Bernard pulled herself up to the double-figure scoring with a pair of free throws along with Wynne putting up a couple as well, icing the game and handing the Friars their fourth-straight loss.
Wynne, through injuries over her career, managed to put up an impressive finish to this season and coach Jose Fernandez said he was grateful for the senior.
“The way that she finished, I couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “She’s going to graduate in the summer with a degree from a great University like ours and get a chance to play overseas to get paid to play basketball. She’s been a pleasure to coach.”
A DePaul win last night seeded the Bulls ninth in the Big East. USF will head to Hartford, Conn., to take on Pittsburgh in the Big East tournament this week.
“We can only control what’s put ahead of us.” Fernandez said. “But I think in any post season this team will be dangerous to play.”