PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Jose Fernandez got the finish he wanted from No. 23 at South Florida in Battle 4 Atlantis. Kelly Graves couldn’t say the same for ninth-seeded Oregon.
Elisa Pinzan had a career-high 26 points with 10 assists while the Bulls scored 28 points on turnovers to beat the Ducks 71-62 in Monday’s third-place game at the inaugural women’s tournament at the Atlantis complex.
It came after a week that saw the Bulls (4-2) squander a lead late in the third quarter at No. 16 Tennessee and then fail to hold a lead late in the third against No. 2 UConn. in the Atlantis semi-finals. .
This time, they extended a 46-39 lead entering the fourth at 17, then showed composure on the line to close it after the Ducks (3-2) made a late run.
“We finished the game,” Fernandez said, adding, “We learned from (the losses). And that’s what you have to do throughout the season.
Sydni Harvey added 22 points and Dulcy Mendjiadeu Fankam had 17 off the bench for the Bulls, who repeatedly got their hands in the passing lanes for deflections to halt Oregon’s attempts to find rhythm .
Sydney Parrish and Ahlise Hurst each scored 15 points for Oregon, which committed a season-high 25 turnovers in an error-filled performance that helped South Florida get 16 extra shots for the game.
“We just have to make better decisions,” Graves said. ‘I think that’s it. Play harder, play harder, get more physical. I mean, I sound low. I’m right now. But I think we’re fixable.”
Turnarounds came from everywhere. Point guard Maddie Scherr had seven and was benched one point from third after a three-game streak. Four other players had at least three each.
‘There were several reversals where it was like, ‘Really? Is that how we’re going to return the ball?” Graves said. “So I just have to do a better job of framing them.”
USF: The Bulls had no problems in their first game against Atlantis against Syracuse (77-53), then pushed No. 2 UConn before falling 60-53 – the closest margin for the Bulls in 33 encounters with the Huskies. But South Florida responded by beating a ranked team for only the second time in the last 11 chances.
Oregon: The Ducks were shorthanded their entire three-game stint at Atlantis. They had no Te-Hina Paopao, Taylor Bigby or Endyia Rogers guards at all. Then post player Nyara Sabally, who had 30 points in the first-round shootout victory over Oklahoma, did not play in Sunday’s semifinal loss to No. 1 or in this one due to a knee problem. The Ducks had 20 turnovers against the Gamecocks and then were worse on the ball against the Bulls.
THE GREAT GAME OF PINZAN
Pinzan had a huge second half, highlighted by a long 3-pointer conceded near the USF bench to beat the horn late in the third quarter. She then scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, including eight on a 10-0 run that extended the lead.
She started by picking the ball up after another Oregon turnover and stopped for a 3 immediately with no defenders near her. She followed with another 3, arms raised in jubilation, moments later, then scored on a runout to make it 58-41 with 5:10 to go.
When it was over, she led the screaming celebration with a sprint to the bench where the Bulls danced after beating a ranked foe.
“I just think my teammates and my coaching staff, they were all supporting me, telling me to slow down when I needed to slow down and control the pace,” Pinzan said. “That’s what kept me going.”
Oregon closed to 59-55 on Sedona Prince’s three-point play with 47.1 seconds left. But South Florida went 12 for 12 on the line from there, with Harvey hitting four and then Pinzan making the final eight.
Harvey credited team practices ending with players all shooting 50 free throws to prepare for this moment.
“I think we were there mentally and knew what we had to do,” Harvey said. “We do this every day.”
USF: The Bulls remain in the Bahamas, venturing to the nearby Baha Mar resort in Nassau to take on No. 7 Stanford on Friday.
Oregon: The Ducks will have time off before hosting UC Davis on Dec. 1.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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