Harvey’s game-winner lifts Bulls over reigning champion No. 7 Stanford

Junior guard Sydni Harvey not only scored her 1,000th career point at USF on Friday, but also hit the eventual game-winning three-pointer to push the Bulls past No. 7 Stanford. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

A Sydni Harvey three-pointer with three seconds remaining secured USF women’s basketball its second top-10 win in less than a week as the Bulls defeated Stanford, the reigning national champion, 57-54 in the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Championship on Friday.

The No. 18 Bulls (5-2) trailed 54-52 with nine seconds left in the fourth quarter after Stanford’s Lacie Hull made a three-pointer to put the No. 7 Cardinal (4-2) in the lead. Following a 30-second timeout by coach Jose Fernandez, Harvey knocked down what essentially turned out to be the game-winning shot.

“We were just calm,” Fernandez said in a postgame interview with Darek Sharp of Bulls Unlimited. “The two side out of bounds [plays], we knew where we wanted to get the ball to, and you know what, we’re pretty good on special situations. [Harvey] stepped up and knocked it down.”

Harvey finished with a team-high 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range to go along with three rebounds.

USF looked like the better side for much of the game, leading by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, but were put to the test down the stretch as the defending champs turned up the pressure on both ends of the floor and took their first lead of the game with 4:18 remaining in the game.

With each Stanford run, however, the Bulls had a response, never allowing the Cardinal to hold more than a two-point lead.

Much like its win against Oregon on Monday, USF’s defense and rebounding led the way against one of the more talented teams in the nation. 

Despite shooting a poor 31% from the field and 35% from three-point range, the Bulls held the Cardinal to 35% and 32%, respectively, and forced 13 turnovers. They also held junior guard Haley Jones, last year’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player, to 0 points on 0-of-6 shooting.

The Bulls also outrebounded Stanford 52-38 thanks to another strong effort from senior forward Bethy Mununga, who notched a career-high 23 rebounds, eight of them on the offensive end.

“She was a monster on the glass, and Sydni hit the game-winner, so it’s awesome,” Fernandez said.

The win over Stanford marks the end of what is likely to be the toughest portion of USF’s schedule this season. The Bulls played No. 2 UConn, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 Oregon, No. 16 Tennessee and Syracuse in an 11-day span, going 3-2 over that stretch.

USF will next take the floor against UT Arlington on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Texas. The game will be broadcast on Bulls Unlimited.