Women’s basketball’s best regular season performances
The regular season has drawn to a close for No. 25 USF women’s basketball following a 85-55 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday.
As the Bulls (26-5, 15-1 AAC) take advantage of a week-long break to prepare for the postseason, here is a look at the most impressive individual stat lines of South Florida’s extraordinary regular season.
Freshman wing Carla Brito against New Hampshire
Freshman wing Carla Brito averaged 9.4 points per game and 7.8 rebounds over the first five games of the season. Her play was honored by winning the first two AAC freshman of the week awards of the 2022-23 season. However, she would follow this stretch with arguably her best performance of the year.
Brito scored a career-high 26 points and played 37 minutes in a 75-57 win over New Hampshire on Nov. 22. She shot an efficient 63% from the field and made all six of her attempts from the free-throw line.
Although Brito’s scoring is worthy to note, her defensive abilities also played a role in the Bulls’ victory. She had three steals and 10 rebounds, notching the second double-double of her career.
The game marked Brito’s third straight with double-digit rebounds. She would go on to win her third straight freshman of the week award for games played from Nov. 21-27.
Senior forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu against Georgia Tech
Senior forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu averaged 16 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, propelling the Bulls to an undefeated start six games into the season. She would continue her dominant play in a Nov. 25 game against Georgia Tech.
Against the Yellow Jackets (13-16, 4-14 ACC), Mendjiadeu achieved 19 points and a career-high 21 rebounds while leading USF to a 63-50 win. She shot six of 13 from the field and shot 88% from the charity stripe.
Mendjiadeu’s effort on the glass spearheaded the Bulls’ rebounding advantage. South Florida had 50 rebounds and 22-second chance points against the Yellow Jackets, eight of which came from the senior forward.
Senior forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu against No. 3 Ohio State
The Bulls competed in the San Diego Invitational to close their non-conference schedule. USF was scheduled to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes, who were undefeated going into the game.
In an 86-88 loss in overtime to Ohio State (23-6, 12-6 Big 10) on Dec. 20, senior forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu scored a career-high 34 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. She shot 73% from the field and made 12 of her 15 free throw attempts.
Mendjiadeu nearly led the Bulls to an upset victory as the fourth quarter began, but their lead slipped away. The Buckeyes outscored the Bulls 43-31 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Despite the loss, it was the first time a Bulls player scored 30 points or more in a game since senior guard Elena Tsineke on Jan. 19, 2022 against Tulsa. It was also the highest-scoring performance since Nov. 18, 2018, when wing Laura Ferreira scored 34 points against Oklahoma.
Senior guard Elena Tsineke against Temple
South Florida had its home conference opener against Temple on Jan. 3, where Tsineke scored a season-high 27 points and made 10 of her 17 attempted field goals as the Bulls won 77-55.
Tsineke’s improved three-point shooting was apparent in the game. Before the season began, she said she wanted to become a more consistent shooter.
“I’ve been literally in the gym every day with one day off. I know that that was an area for growth last year, that I had to improve my 3-point shots so that’s what I did,” Tsineke said during AAC media day. “I try to be more consistent in my workout and it’ll just translate on the court hopefully.”
Tsineke made two of her four attempts from the three-point line against the Owls (10-17, 5-10 AAC). This match continued a five-game stretch between Dec. 21 and Jan. 11 where she shot 50% on her three-point attempts.
This was also a significant game for the team as a whole. USF notched its second of 11 straight victories in the American Conference and 12 wins overall.
Junior guard Sammie Puisis against Tulane
Junior guard Sammie Puisis has made the most of her prominent role in South Florida’s offense. While her shooting immediately pops out on opponents’ scouting reports, she’s shown the ability to create scoring opportunities for herself. Her Jan. 14 performance against Tulane highlighted her offensive abilities.
Puisis put up a career-high 28 points against the Green Wave (17-11, 7-8 AAC), making 10 of her 20 field goal attempts and six rebounds while leading USF to a 66-53 victory. She also made six of her 10 three-pointers.
Most of Puisis’ scoring total came in the third quarter where she had 13 points and made three three-pointers. Her steady shooting helped the Bulls take over the game, outscoring the Green Wave 23-14 in the period.
Women’s basketball heads to Ft. Worth, Texas to compete in the AAC tournament from March 6-9. The first round and the semifinals will be broadcast on ESPN+ and BullsUnlimited. The championship game will be broadcast on ESPNU and BullsUnlimited.