TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — South Florida hasn’t fared well against ranked opponents this season, but Tuesday night the Bulls upset No. 21 DePaul 66-63 in overtime.
“I was proud of our…. resiliency and defensive effort down the stretch,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “We competed and played hard and took every possession like it was our last of the game.”
Jasmine Wynne and Kaneisha Saunders led the Bulls with 16 points each, Inga Orekhova made an impact with 13 points and Caitlin Rowe added eight points for USF (11-8, 3-2 Big East).
It was a deflating loss for the Blue Demons, especially after losing senior forward Keisha Hampton for the season earlier this month because of a knee injury.
“We made some pretty ill-advised decisions when we were in the game that really were costly,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.
The Blue Demons (15-4, 3-2 Big East) committed 23 turnovers. Junior guard Anna Martin had eight turnovers, but the reigning Big East Player of the Week also scored 23 points and shot 4 for 9 from 3-point range. She also had six rebounds and three assists. Megan Rogowski added 11 points for DePaul.
“We have to make a lot of better decisions, and that’s everybody including myself,” Martin said. “And we have to make stops. We didn’t make stops. And rebounding, and really everything. I just thought our decision-making and defense was not as good as it could have been.”
It was a confidence boost for the Bulls, who have dropped two games to ranked opponents on the road during a stretch in which USF plays four ranked teams in five games — including No. 7 Rutgers on Saturday.
USF stayed within striking distance on a night that saw five ties and six lead changes. It was sophomore Akila McDonald’s layup with 9 seconds remaining in regulation that tied the game at 60 and forced overtime.
Orekhova, who opened the first- and second-half scoring with 3-pointers, got things started in overtime with a layup to put the Bulls up 62-60. McDonald converted two free throws after drawing a foul by Katherine Harry to make it 64-60. A Wynne layup at the 1:34 mark extended the Bulls’ lead to 66-60.
Martin nailed a 3 with 39 seconds left in overtime, but that was all the offense DePaul could muster. It won’t get any easier for the Blue Demons, as they host No. 3 Connecticut on Saturday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.