Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu scored 22 points and Elena Tsineke’s jumper with 31.2 seconds left in overtime put South Florida ahead for good in a 67-65 victory over No. 9 seed Marquette to start the women’s NCAA Tournament on Friday.
The Golden Eagles (22-11) had a final look to win, but Mackenzie Hare’s 3-pointer went inside the rim and rolled out with a second to play.
The Bulls (27-6), who didn’t lead for the game’s first 38 minutes, rallied several times including from 47-36 down in regulation to tie their mark for wins in a season.
The Bulls appeared to have the game won at the end of the fourth quarter, ahead 59-55 after Tsineke’s 3-pointer with 31.7 to play. But Hare’s two foul shots after a South Florida turnover tied things and forced the extra session.
The lead changed hands six times in overtime, the last on Tsineke’s basket.
It was a disappointing finish for the Golden Eagles (22-11), who built a double-digit lead as Chloe Marotta scored a team-high 25 points. But the 6-foot-1 senior, an all-Big East first-team selection, fouled out with 2:56 to play in OT.
South Florida entered with a mindset on a different ending than in this building a year ago when the Bulls lost the eight-nine match up to No. 8 seed Miami in the NCAA opener of last season’s Columbia pod.
SOUTH FLORIDA SURVIVES IN OT<br><br>The Bulls didn’t take their first lead until 1:21 left in regulation 😱 <a href=”https://t.co/HqTy4ZpqZD”>pic.twitter.com/HqTy4ZpqZD</a>
Arizona ousts West Virginia
Cate Reese scored 25 points and Esmery Martinez had a double-double against her former team, helping seventh-seeded Arizona to a 75-62 victory over 10th-seeded West Virginia.
The Wildcats seemed refreshed early on, shooting 72 per cent from the field in the first quarter. West Virginia was holding opponents to 61 points per game this season, but Arizona looked ready to breeze past that after just one quarter and a 28-17 lead.
The Mountaineers (19-12) eventually settled in. It was a seven-point game at halftime, and Arizona’s lead was down to three early in the third. Wildcats Canadian guard Shaina Pellington picked up her third and fourth fouls a few seconds apart in the third, but after two free throws by West Virginia made it 42-39, Arizona eventually pulled away again.