Kaba, defense lift UCF women to 58-45 win over No. 15 USF

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Masseny Kaba scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Central Florida stymied No. 15 South Florida 58-45 on Thursday to close the regular season.

The Knights put on a defensive display, holding the Bulls to a season low in scoring as well as shooting at 25.5% (14 of 55). UCF did a great job of protecting the rim as USF went 7 of 22 from 3-point range and 7 of 33 inside the arc and was outscored 34-8 on points in the paint.

The teams split the season-ending series and are the top two seeds — USF first — heading into the American Athletic Conference tournament on Monday.

Brittney Smith scored 13 points, Diamond Battles 11 with seven assists and Alisha Lewis scored 10 for the Knights (14-3, 12-2).

Elena Tsineke scored 15 points for USF (16-2, 13-2), which won 65-52 at home on Tuesday. Bethy Mununga added 11 points and 14 rebounds.

The Bulls are the fifth team to be held to a season-low in points against UCF. In 17 games, the Knights have held their opponent to less than 50 points.

UCF scored the last 14 points of the first quarter to take an 18-8 lead and led 32-23 at halftime. Kaba scored 12 points for the Knights, who shot 52%.

Sydni Harvey scored all eight Bulls points in the first quarter didn’t score again. Mununga and Tsineke combined for all 15 points in the second quarter.

The cold shooting Bulls got within six once early in the second half and no closer than nine in the fourth.

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

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