Ticket to “The Big Dance Punched,” No. 20 South Florida women beat UCF 64-54 in AAC title game and headed to the NCAA Tourny

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Elena Tsineke scored 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, Sydni Harvey made six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points, and No. 20 South Florida beat UCF 64-54 on Thursday night for the first American Athletic Conference Tournament championship in program history.

It was the Bulls’ fifth appearance in the title game, having lost to Connecticut in the championship from 2015-18.

Top-seeded South Florida (18-3) earned an NCAA Tournament berth for the fifth time in the last seven years.

Harvey hit two of her four first-quarter 3s in an 8-0 run that gave USF the lead for good made it 18-11 going into the second and the Bulls held UCF scoreless for five-plus minutes during a 16-2 spurt that pushed the lead to 20 points just before halftime.

Diamond Battles led the second-seeded Knights (16-4) with 18 points and Masseny Kaba scored 16.

The Knights scored the final 12 points of the third quarter and the first six of the fourth to trim their deficit to 51-45 with 6:38 to play but they got no closer.

The Bulls outscored UCF 27-3 from 3-point range and made three more free throws (17) than the Knights attempted.

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