No. 17 USF women’s basketball finished its weekend in the U.S. Virgin Islands with a 60-56 win against UCLA on Saturday.
In addition to finishing the Paradise Jam with a win, freshman point guard Sydni Harvey was named to the tournament’s all-star team.
Harvey shot 44 percent from the field and was 10-of-15 from three-point range in the Bulls’ three games. She also racked up nine rebounds and six assists over the tournament and scored a career-high 19 points in Saturday’s game against UCLA (3-4).
USF outscored UCLA 25-9 in the second quarter and didn’t let the Bruins retake the lead for the rest of the game. The Bulls shot 41 percent from three-point range and 32 percent from the field, which was more than UCLA in both categories. The Bruins shot 28 percent from the field and 11 percent on three-point attempts.
Saturday’s win was the only one of the trip for USF (5-2). The Bulls dropped their first two games of the season Thursday and Friday to Kentucky and UNC, respectively. Kentucky went on to win the Paradise Jam title.
Thursday’s game against Kentucky (7-0) was evenly matched in the first quarter, but the Wildcats outscored the Bulls 24-8 in the second quarter and the Bulls couldn’t come back from the 44-28 halftime deficit. The Bulls dropped their first game of the season 85-63.
“First five minutes of the third quarter [USF] came out and cut it to 12, and then we got it to the media timeout by winning that five-minute portion,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said in a statement Thursday. “We were up by 16 at halftime, then we were up by 17, so it was only one measly little point, but it was observing that first run and turning around and doing something positive.”
The Bulls took on UNC (5-2) the next day and again lost, but this time by a much thinner margin — 71-69.
USF was down just four points at halftime, then traded scoring runs with UNC in the third quarter, but the Tar Heels eventually sealed the game in their favor. After two consecutive losses, Fernandez offered a statement on Twitter.
“Big reason why we scheduled this way. Our Expectations for our program,” He said after the loss to UNC. “We will continue to prepare and execute together as a staff and team. Couldn’t be prouder of our guys and locker room. Great energy and enthusiasm and a focus to get it done for the next 40 minutes. Onward!”
The Bulls return to play in the Yuengling Center on Friday at 6 p.m. against the University of New Hampshire (1-5).