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Elisa Pinzan made six free throws in the final 23 seconds and 20th-ranked South Florida went 8 for 8 from the line in the last minute to hold off fourth-seeded Tulane in the semifinals of the American Athletic Association tournament on Wednesday.
Maria Alvarez had three of her four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the last with 1:50 to play that put the Bulls on top 43-41.
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Tulane made 1 of 2 free throws with 1:27 to go, the foul sidelining USF’s Bethy Mununga, who had eighth points and 18 rebounds.
But Sydni Harvey was fouled and her two free throws at 53.4 pushed the USF lead to three. Following a Green Wave miss, Pinzan took over to keep the lead at two possessions.
Pinzan, Alvarez and Harvey all had 12 points for South Florida (17-3), which faces the winner of Houston-UCF in the championship game on Thursday. The Bulls’ record matches the 2016-17 team for the best 20-game mark in school history.
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AAC freshman of the year JerKaila Jordan scored 22 points, her ninth 20-plus game, to lead the Green Wave (17-8), which has lost 18 straight to the Bulls. Krystal Freeman added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
USF shot 21.9% (7 of 32) with 12 turnovers to trailed 23-17 at the half and was down 10 points until a Harvey 3 and a Mununga jumper cut the deficit to 33-28 after three quarters.
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