A nationally ranked Big East opponent entered the Campus Recreation Center on Tuesday night and left disappointed, asthe USF women’s basketball team beat No. 21 DePaul in a dramatic 66-63 overtime game.
DePaul started off with the hot hand, nailing three of four 3-pointers within the first few minutes of play – two of which were made by senior guard Deanna Ortiz.
After falling behind 9-3 early, USF (11-8, 3-2) quickly narrowed the gap and kept it that way.The Bulls trailed by as manyas five points in the second half, but fought back and stayedcompetitive in a game whichsaw six lead changes.
USF trailed by two at thebreak and still trailed by thatmargin with 20 seconds leftin the game. Sophomorecenter Akila McDonald stepped up, and made a lay-up to even the score at 60.
The Bulls had a chance to win with a second left inregulation as junior guard Inga Orekhova missed a free throw, sending the game intoovertime. Orekhova finishedthe night with 13 points.
USF limited DePaul tothree points in the overtimeperiod and scored six, includinga pair of clutch free throwsfrom McDonald.
“I haven’t been doing what I know I can do on the court,” McDonald said. “It was time to show (coach Jose Fernandez)that I can do whatever heneeds me to do.”
USF benefited from balancedscoring, as three playersreached double figuresin points. Senior guardJasmine Wynne and juniorguard Kaneisha Saundersled the team with 16 points.
“That’s something we work on in practice,” Saunders said. “Coach gives us differentscenarios and gives everyonean opportunity to score.”
After knocking off DePaul,USF will get another shot at a ranked team when No. 7 Rutgers comes to town Saturday night.