UNCASVILLE, CONN., MARCH 8, 2014 –The USF women’s basketball team continued to strengthen its postseason resume Saturday, advancing past the sixth-seed Temple Owls in the American Conference Quarterfinals.
The third-seeded Bulls (19-11, 13-5) took one step closer to another NCAA Tournament berth, coming alive late in the first half and outscoring Temple 51-27 in the last 24 minutes of the game to cruise to a 72-44 win over the Owls at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
The Bulls out-shot the Owls .417-.241 from the field and got help from 23 second-chance points, topping Temple for the third time this season and advancing to Sunday’s semifinals against Louisville.
Allowing just five field goals to Temple in the first half, the Bulls combined a staunch defensive effort with a perfect performance from the free throw line to build a 36-19 halftime lead. The Bulls knocked down all 12 free throw attempts in the half, using a 15-0 run late to extend a 21-17 lead to as many as 19 points. Inga Orekhova scored 14 of her team-high 22 points in the half, while sophomore Alisia Jenkins (Statesboro, Ga.) added 8 points and six rebounds.
Temple continued its offensive struggles in the second half, hitting just 9 of 21 shot attempts. The Bulls in turn picked up right where they left off in the first half, extending the lead to as high as 32, starting the conference tournament with a win.
Orekhova’s 22-point game gave the senior 977 career points, and the senior extended her streak of consecutive free throws to 36 with a 4-4 effort from the line.
Sophomore Courtney Williams (Folkston, Ga.) scored 12 points, notching nine rebounds and four assists, while Jenkins added 10 points and eight rebounds. Shalethia Stringfield (Jacksonville, Fla.) posted nine points and five rebounds off the bench for the Bulls.
USF will play Louisville Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU in the semifinals of the tournament.