Pinzan drops career-high 14 assists in blowout victory

Junior guard Elisa Pinzan dished out 14 assists in the Bulls’ 80-51 victory over the Houston Cougars. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

The Bulls have extended their win streak to eight games and remain undefeated in the AAC.

Junior guard Elisa Pinzan dropped a career-high 14 assists Saturday as the Bulls (9-1, 6-0) defeated the Houston Cougars (5-4, 2-3) 80-51. Of Pinzan’s 14 assists, 11 came in the first half, and she did not log a single turnover until the second half.

“[Pinzan’s] been amazing for us,” sophomore guard Maria Alvarez said. “She didn’t have any turnovers in the first half so she’s been really taking care of the ball.”

Pinzan’s 14 assists are tied for the second-most in program history from a single player as well as the highest total since 2005.

Despite the lopsided final score, the Bulls did not coast to the victory early on. Houston was up 21-20 at the end of the first quarter and held a 34-27 lead with 6:31 left in the first half.

However, that seven-point advantage quickly evaporated. The Bulls turned it on and finished the final 25 minutes on a 53-to-17 run.

“The biggest difference in the first half and the second half was the live ball turnovers,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “That’s too many, [it was] very uncharacteristic for us to turn the ball over 21 times in a basketball game. 

“But I think in the second half we did a much better job guarding dribble penetration and guarding the arc. It started on the defensive end, we gave up 38 points in a half of basketball and that’s just not us.”

The Bulls had five players in double figures, including Pinzan, Alvarez, Sydni Harvey, Elena Tsineke and Bethy Mununga.

Alvarez, who had a game-high 23 points, credited her teammates for putting her in positions to succeed, and for getting her going early.

“I want to give a big thanks to my teammates because I think Pinzan had me the first look in the game for my shot, and that kind of just got us going.” Alvarez said. “Once I hit one or two shots I just kind of start feeling it. So it was good to have that feeling throughout the game.”

USF ended the third quarter up 20 points and extended its lead to nearly 30 by the final buzzer.

The Bulls’ next matchup is an away game against the Tulane Green Wave. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday and the game will be televised on ESPN+.