Senior keeps making crucial three-pointers

Many know the USF women’s basketball team came out ahead in another tough close Big East game beating No. 21 Notre Dame 68-64 in overtime Saturday.

But few would expect how the Bulls even made it into overtime. Ask anyone on the team about forward Ezria Parsons’ game-tying, buzzer-beating three-pointer and they will laugh. Why laugh?Maybe it’s because Parsons is just about the last player the Bulls expected to make a last-second three-pointer, having only made three this season.

Parsons was even the last player who Parsons herself expected.

“To be honest I wasn’t looking for it,” Parsons said. “I was looking for (guard Jessica Jackson) to shoot it. But she passed it to me and I heard everybody say, ‘You got to shoot it,’ so I just stepped up and shot it.”

Parsons’ shot must have shocked the Irish, who had to think the nation’s leading scorer, Jessica Dickson, would be the one with the ball at the end. Dickson, who is shooting 37 percent from behind the arc, thought the same.

“I assumed (Jackson) was coming for me, but (Notre Dame) was covering me,” Dickson said.With fellow freshman guard Shantia Grace out with fouls, Jackson seemed to be the second-best option, having nailed four of nine three-pointers up to that point.

But when Notre Dame stepped up on Jackson, she found Parsons with nearly three seconds left.

Did Jackson second-guess herself with the pass? Did the fact Parsons has more blocks (15) than she has three-point attempts (11) this season affect the faith she had in her teammate?

“I had confidence,” Jackson said. “She is capable in shooting that shot. It’s not like she can’t, she just doesn’t.”

Jackson said Parsons did a move – dribbling between her legs then shooting – she has seen before in practice.

“That’s her move. It’s not like she did something out of the ordinary,” Jackson said. “Just a little further back.”

Her team may have had confidence in Parsons, but it didn’t stop Dickson from whispering a silent prayer while the ball was in the air.

“I see the shot go off, and I turned around and I was like, ‘Please, lord, let this go in,'” Dickson said. “I see the ball kind of go out and drop back in, and I was like, ‘Yes!’ I was very, very excited. I mean, that was a big shot for us.”

So why does everyone on the team laugh when Parsons’ three-pointer is mentioned? Parsons may know, even though she can’t recite the specifics.

“She just threw it over, but I made it work,” Parsons said. “Everyone was happy that I did.”