WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Elena Tsineke scored 20 points, Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu had 14 points and 12 rebounds and No. 18 South Florida beat West Virginia 77-55 on Monday in the West Palm Beach Invitational.
The Mountaineers (6-3) dropped their fourth consecutive game against an AP Top 25 team and were held below 60 points for the second time this season.
That much could be expected. South Florida (9-3) entered the game 28th in the country in fewest points allowed. The Mountaineers were 49th in the same statistic, but ended up giving up their second-most points in a game this season.
West Virginia fell behind early, as USF converted an and-one try in the opening minute. A free throw from senior Kari Niblack got WVU on the board a minute later, but back-to-back scores by the Bulls forced WVU head coach Mike Carey to call a timeout down by six with 6:41 to go in the first quarter.
WVU pulled to within 22-17 by the end of the first quarter, but with the Bulls having five players scoring in double figures, they eventually ran their lead to as much as 29 points midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bulls snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series, getting its second victory over West Virginia in nine meetings. The two schools were once members of the Big East Conference.
Maria Alvarez also scored 14 points and Bethy Mununga had 10 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for USF, which has won four straight and six of seven.
Mununga leads the American Conference, and is ninth in the nation, averaging 11.9 rebounds per game.
The Bulls shot 58.3% from the field, going 8 of 13 from 3-point range, and outrebounded West Virginia 36-19. USF also led in points in the paint, 30-18.
West Virginia, meanwhile, shot just 19 of 50 (38%) from the floor
Madisen Smith led the Mountaineers with 15 points in what was just her second game this season in double figures. KK Deans added 13 points with five assists.
Both teams continue tournament play on Tuesday with USF facing Mississippi and West Virginia going against Michigan State.