Notebook: Women’s basketball extends undefeated start with narrow victory over TCU

Senior guard Elena Tsineke led all players in scoring with 21 points. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

An undefeated run lives on after USF women’s basketball downed TCU 66-59 Sunday afternoon at the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

After going into halftime tied with the Horned Frogs (2-2), the Bulls (5-0) pulled away in the last two quarters to open up a 13-point lead over TCU. However, a late surge by TCU dwindled USF’s lead down to just two points with a minute left in the game.

With USF on the verge of blowing a double-digit lead, senior guard Elena Tsineke made a layup to break the Bulls’ scoring drought. Tsineke’s late bucket combined with TCU’s missed layup on the other end sealed USF’s fifth consecutive win.

Tsineke led the Bulls with 21 points, while freshman wing Carla Brito had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Efficient shooting proved to be the Bulls’ major difference-maker Sunday. USF shot 45.5% from the floor in comparison to TCU’s 36.2% shooting. The Bulls also shot 83% from the stripe whereas the Horned Frogs could only make 57% of their attempts.

Coming off of two-straight wins over Power-Five opponents, South Florida remains unranked but received five votes on Monday for the Associated Press’ weekly Top 25 poll.

USF will next play New Hampshire on Nov. 22. The Bulls last played the Wildcats (2-3) in November 2018, delivering a 79-36 blowout.

New Hampshire’s lone win over a Division I opponent came in a 59-56 nailbiter over in-state rival Dartmouth.

USF women’s basketball will return to the Yuengling Center to face New Hampshire on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.

Women’s volleyball snaps losing streak, splits road games

South Florida women’s volleyball clawed back from a two-set hole to defeat Temple 3-2 in Philadelphia on Nov. 18 before losing 3-1 to East Carolina on Nov. 20 in Greenville, North Carolina.

Temple (10-19, 4-14 AAC) was just two points away from sweeping USF (10-18, 4-12 AAC), as it held a 23-20 lead in the third set. However, consecutive kills from sophomore right-side hitter Amanda DeWitt followed up by three misplaced shots by the Owls helped USF take the set 25-23.

A back-and-forth fourth set culminated in another 25-23 victory for USF. The Bulls then wrapped up the game with a 15-9 victory in the decisive fifth set.

Leading the team offensively against Temple was freshman Yasmin Shaw, who registered a career-high of 16 kills. She followed that up with another 10 against ECU.

Senior defensive specialist CC Clausen totaled 42 digs over the two-game stretch and reached her 2,000th career dig against East Carolina. However, the Bulls were unable to keep up with the Pirates’ freshmen offensive duo of outside hitters Izzy Marinelli and Angeles Alderete. Marinelli and Alderete combined for 39 kills against USF.

Though USF led 24-22 in the first set, they surrendered four-straight points to ECU to go down a set. The Pirates then won the second and fourth sets by a score of 25-21. The Bulls had closed the gap with a third-set victory, but were unable to dig themselves out of a two-set hole for a consecutive time.

Following the two-game road stretch, coach Jolene Shepardson’s squad now has four conference wins this year, which marks their most in a season since 2018. The victory against Temple also means the Bulls no longer sit in last place in the AAC. That honor belongs to Tulane, who are one game behind the Bulls.

The Bulls will round out its season with two games at the Yuengling Center. They will face conference-leaders Houston on Wednesday before battling last-place Tulane in their season-finale on Friday.

USF women’s volleyball will take on Houston at the Yuengling Center on Wednesday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.

Men’s basketball drops fifth-straight game

The Sunshine Slam got off to a poor start for USF men’s basketball, as they lost 80-65 to the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

In the two team’s 60th matchup of all-time, the Blazers seized the lead from the Bulls four minutes into the game, and never relinquished it from then onward.

USF finished the first half down just five points, but a lethargic start to the second period left them staring down a 17-point deficit with 10 minutes left. Fourteen second-half points from fifth-year senior guard Tyler Harris helped the Bulls close the lead to eight, but they ultimately never came within striking distance of the Blazers.

Harris led the Bulls with 22 points while sophomore guard Selton Miguel added 14. Fifth-year senior forward Keyshawn Bryant, who averaged 11 points through the first three games, missed his second consecutive game.

Men’s basketball has not started out 0-5 since the 1987-88 season. USF finished an overall 6-22 that year.

The Bulls will play Saint Joseph’s University next in the Sunshine Slam at Daytona Beach on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be streamed on FloSports and broadcast on BullsUnlimited.