The USF women’s basketball team went all season without a win against a top 25 ranked team.
That changed Monday night in New Jersey, as the Bulls closed out their final game of the regular season with an upset victory against No. 24 Rutgers 60-51.
After the Bulls started the second half with a 13-point lead, Rutgers began to find opportunities to score from the free-throw line. 70.6 percent of their 17 free throws helped account for the 30 points they scored in the second half.
Within the final two minutes, Rutgers cut the deficit to four with two free throws. Sophomore guard Courtney Williams answered with a 3-pointer from the wing to make the score 57-51.
“(William’s 3-pointer) really helped us,” sophomore forward Alisia Jenkins said. “It put a lot of confidence in us.
The only 3-pointer of the second half was followed by free throws from Jenkins and senior guard Inga Orekhova. Rutgers was unable to score after Williams’ three.
In addition to Williams’ double-double of 26 points and 13 rebounds, Jenkins finished out the season with a double-double after 10 points and 13 rebounds against Rutgers.
The Bulls are entering the post season with a five-game winning streak and have only lost four games since their last loss to Rutgers on Dec. 28 at the Sun Dome.
In addition to the win streak, their victory against a ranked team helps their chances of an NCAA tournament appearance, which would be their second in two seasons.
USF will find out today who its first opponent will be for the AAC Championship. The Temple Owls are currently sixth in the conference with their 66-54 win against Houston. Pending the outcome of today’s rescheduled game between SMU and UCF, Temple could move to the fifth seed if SMU loses in Dallas.
Temple and SMU did not win a game against USF this season, but Temple was able to hold USF’s margin of victory down to three in their previous meeting on Feb. 22.
The AAC championship will begin in Connecticut