Despite 13 turnovers and a sloppy shooting performance Wednesday night, USF women’s basketball escaped New Orleans with a 71-67 victory over Tulane.
With a 57-56 lead and 2:30 left in the game, USF’s senior guard Courtney Williams stepped up and made a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired. Her shot stunned the Green Wave (12-5, 3-2) as they collectively made only 1 of their next 7 shots and relied on free throws to keep the game close.
After a set of crucial foul shots from sophomore forward Laura Ferreira stretched the lead to four with less than a minute left, USF (14-1, 4-1) proved to be too much for Tulane, heading back to Tampa with another quality conference win.
Aside from hitting a crucial shot, Williams accounted for 31 points and 13 rebounds, scoring 16 of her 31 in the fourth quarter. Williams was responsible for the first 13 points of a 15-6 USF run to start the fourth quarter.
She was also the only player on either team to play the full 40 minutes.
USF struggled to create good looks, making only 42 percent (22-53) of their shots and just 33 percent (8-24) from three-point range.
The Bulls’ safe haven came from National Freshman of the Week forward Kitija Laksa, who continued her recent hot streak. Laksa scored 15 points, with nine of those coming from her three-point shots (3-10), and grabbed three rebounds.
Senior forward Alisia Jenkins saw her first minutes in several games after sitting out with an ankle injury. Despite only playing six minutes and accounting for a single rebound, getting her back on the floor was more of an emotional lift for the Bulls.
USF will be back at home Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Sun Dome for their second meeting this season against East Carolina, who previously lost to USF 61-59 in Greenville, N.C. earlier this month.