USF women’s basketball loses to UCF for the first time in over 35 years.
by Brian Hattab
The last time USF (20-5, 9-3 The American) lost to rival UCF (16-9, 6-6 The American), the World Wide Web had not yet been invented. UCF’s last victory against their cross-state foe came on December 10th, 1980.
That changed Tuesday, February 14th as the Knights defeated the Bulls 66-62 at the Sun Dome. The victory snapped a 19-game losing streak in the series for UCF.
“They deserved the win today,” junior forward Maria Jespersen said. “We didn’t play our best.”
Jespersen lead all USF scorers with 18 points in the losing effort. However, UCF’s Aliyah Gregory lead overall with 34 points in 36 minutes.
“She had a great night,” USF head coach Jose Fernandez said of Gregory. “They’re not in that position if it wasn’t for her individual performance.”
An all-around bad second quarter likely made the difference for USF. Not only did the Bulls get outscored 20-6, freshman standout Tamara Henshaw went down with a sprained ankle early in the quarter. Fortunately for USF, Henshaw returned to the game in the second half and would lead the USF comeback attempt, scoring eight points in the fourth quarter.
The UCF victory represented USF’s first non-UConn conference loss at home since the 2013-2014 season. UCF also increased its lead in the War on I-4 series between the two schools. The Knights now have a 24-15 lead over USF.
USF looks to bounce back Sunday afternoon against Temple (19-5, 9-2 The American) at 1 p.m. at the Sun Dome. They then travel to Houston (9-16, 2-10 The American) and Tulsa (8-17, 4-8 The American) before returning home to face UConn (25-0, 12-0 The American) to wrap-up the regular season.