Saturday, April 4, 2009; Lawrence, Kan. - The South Florida women's basketball team captured its first postseason title in school history with a 75-71 win over Kansas in the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The game, played at Allen Fieldhouse, drew a record-setting crowd there for women's basketball. A soldout crowd of 16, 113 watched the teams battle back and forth.
South Florida (27-10) led 38-30 at halftime, but Kansas (22-14) made a run midway through the second half. The Bulls had an answer every time, though, on their way to finishing their most successful season in school history.
Shantia Grace led a well-distributed attack for South Florida, which had numerous players emerge as leaders throughout the tournament. Grace (16 points, five assists) earned MVP honors for the WNIT, and was joined by teammate Jazmine Sepulveda (18 points) on the all-tournament team. Also named to the all-tournament team were Danielle McCray and Sade Morris of Kansas, as well as Carolyn Swords of Boston College and Illinois State's Kristi Cirone. McCray, who led all scorers Saturday with 24 points, set a new WNIT scoring record with 147 points in the tournament. The previous mark was 129 points, set by Jolene Anderson of Wisconsin in 2007.
South Florida is the second straight Big East team to win the Postseason WNIT title. Marquette accomplished the feat last year, and won it on their third straight road game, which was identical to South Florida's path in this year's tournament. South Florida defeated Florida Gulf Coast and Mississippi at home before winning at St. Bonaventure, Boston College, and then at Kansas.
Even with the loss, Kansas finished the season with nine wins in its last 12 games. The Jayhawks were 16-4 this year at Allen Fieldhouse. They defeated Creighton, Arkansas, New Mexico (on the road), and Illinois State before arriving at their first WNIT Championship game.
Saturday, April 4
South Florida 75, Kansas 71