The native of Italy pours in a career-high tying 23 points
UCF 64, USF 57
USF (10-8, 2-2 in AAC), UCF (10-6, 2-2 in AAC)
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 | 3 p.m. | ESPN2
Tampa | Yuengling Center
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, JAN. 19, 2020 – Lights-out from long range all game, Elisa Pinzan put USF ahead by three near the midpoint of the fourth quarter before the Bulls dropped a 64-57 decision against UCF in Sunday’s wild War on I-4 installment.
Pinzan set a career high with seven made three-pointers in 12 attempts and matched her personal best with 23 points in the first home loss of the season for the Bulls (10-8, 2-2 in AAC). The sophomore guard from Murano, Italy also had a game-high five assists, just one turnover in 40 minutes, and two steals in front of 3,017 fans at the Yuengling Center.
UCF (10-6, 2-2 in AAC) got a game-high 28 points from Kay Kay Wright, who powered the Knights’ late surge with nine of their 15 points in the final 5:33.
Bethy Mununga finished with 12 points and a team-leading nine rebounds in the first game of the season USF lost the battle on the glass. The junior from Zellik, Belgium cut USF’s deficit to one with 1:14 remaining, but the Bulls couldn’t break through in the first War on I-4 matchup of the season.
Freshman Kristyna Brabencova (Brno, Czech Republic) added eight points, five rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists in a back-and-forth thriller that featured eight ties and eight lead changes.
Pinzan shined for the Bulls from the start with 17 first-half points, but Wright’s 17-point second quarter led to a 37-33 Knights edge by the break.
USF stepped up on the defensive end in the third quarter, limiting UCF to five points (16.7 percent from field). Brabencova followed up a big block with a three-pointer late in the period that ended with a 45-42 USF advantage.
Pinzan’s sixth three-pointer spotted USF a 52-49 lead with 5:50 to play, but the Bulls went 2-for-9 from the field the rest of the way.
Score By Quarters
1 2 3 4 F
UCF 14 23 5 22 64
USF 17 16 12 12 57
Head coach Jose Fernandez on the War on I-4 setback after leading in the fourth quarter:
“Tough loss, definitely at home. That’s our first loss at home this year. Two glowing things we talked to our team about before the game were the turnovers, the live-ball turnovers, and the rebounding edge. It was the first time all year we’ve lost that battle on the glass, on the offensive end and the total rebounding edge. Then, you’re up three going into the fourth quarter and at the media timeout. You gotta close those games at home and we didn’t.”
Sophomore Elisa Pinzan’s thoughts after her 23-point performance, including a career-high seven three-pointers, in her third game back from an ankle injury:
“I’m feeling confident right now. They’re trusting me, coach is trusting me. At the beginning, when I came back from the injury, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do that. I’m a little bit scared.’ After like one week, one week-and-a-half, I was like, ‘I can do that. It’s my sport.’… I started to play, and on my way, they started to pass me the ball and I started to knock down shots. They made me comfortable.”
- USF was outrebounded for the first time this season. UCF finished with a 44-32 edge on the glass.
- USF lost for the first time in 10 home outings at the Yuengling Center this season.
- UCF has won three straight War on I-4 matchups, but USF still has a 28-12 lead in the all-time series. The next meeting between the rivals is set for Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. in Orlando.
- Elisa Pinzan reached a new career high with seven made three-pointers (7-for-12) and matched her career high with 23 points.
- Sunday’s USF starters included Elisa Pinzan, Sydni Harvey, Bethy Mununga, Kristyna Brabencova and Tamara Henshaw, the lone senior on the squad. Seven Bulls saw action.
USF continues conference play at Wichita State on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Catch the action on the American Digital Network.
The Bulls return to the Yuengling Center on Saturday, Jan. 25 to take on Tulane at 2 p.m. Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com.
About USF Women’s Basketball
USF notched its eighth consecutive 19-win season and eighth straight postseason appearance in 2018-19. The Bulls celebrated two all-conference honorees in Enna Pehadzic and Sydni Harvey.
USF has made 15 postseason tournament appearances and had six NCAA Tournament berths in head coach Jose Fernandez’s 19 seasons. The all-time winningest coach in program history, Fernandez has guided USF to nine 20-win seasons, two WNIT final four appearances, the 2009 WNIT championship and won more than 350 games.
– #GoBulls –