AP

No. 25 UCF women beat USF 53-45, win first AAC championship

Mar 10, 2022, 7:26 AM | Updated: 9:31 pm

Central Florida's Diamond Battles (3) and teammates celebrate a win over South Florida in an NCAA c...

Central Florida's Diamond Battles (3) and teammates celebrate a win over South Florida in an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


              South Florida center Shae Leverett, from left, Elisa Pinzan, and Sydni Harvey (3) celebrate after a basket against Central Florida in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              Central Florida guard Diamond Battles, left, goes up for a shot as South Florida guard Elisa Pinzan (4) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              Central Florida forward Destiny Thomas (33) is defended by South Florida's Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu (32), Bethy Mununga (20) and Elisa Pinzan (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              South Florida center Shae Leverett, left, defends as Central Florida's Brittney Smith (32) positions for a shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              South Florida guard Elena Tsineke (5) defends as Central Florida guard Diamond Battles (3) takes a shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              South Florida guard Sydni Harvey (3) takes a charge on a shot attempt by Central Florida forward Brittney Smith (32) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              Central Florida forward Destiny Thomas, from left, South Florida forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, Central Florida's Brittney Smith and South Florida's Bethy Mununga, right, all compete for control of a loose ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              Central Florida forward Masseny Kaba (5) goes up for a shot as South Florida forward Bethy Mununga (20) and Shae Leverett (21) defend in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              Central Florida guard Shania Meertens (31) shoots as South Florida center Shae Leverett (21) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
            
              Central Florida's Diamond Battles (3) and teammates celebrate a win over South Florida in an NCAA college basketball game for the American Athletic Conference women's tournament championship Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Diamond Battles scored 17 points and No. 25 UCF pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat South Florida 53-45 on Thursday night to win the American Athletic Conference tournament championship.

Top-seeded UCF (25-3) won its first AAC tournament title, avenged a loss to South Florida (24-8) in last season’s championship and extended its winning streak to a program-best 13 games.

Neither team held more than three-point lead in the second half and it was tied at 40 with 5:23 to play. But the Knights scored the next nine points and ended the game on a 13-5 run. Battles and Destiny Thomas each had four points during the stretch. The Knights held South Florida to 17% shooting (2 of 12), forced seven turnovers and outscored the Bulls 16-6 in the fourth quarter.

Masseny Kaba added nine points and nine rebounds for UCF. Thomas finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

Entering the tournament, the Knights were allowing a nation-best 48.1 points per game and held SMU to 28 in Wednesday’s semifinal, but in this one they trailed 26-24 at halftime.

Elena Tsineke scored 14 points to lead No. 2 seed South Florida. Elisa Pinzan added nine points and Bethy Mununga grabbed 11 rebounds to go with seven points and five assists.

___

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

No. 25 UCF women beat USF 53-45, win first AAC championship