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  1. USF ATHLETICS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 17, 2018 WEB LINK: Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Jespersen Steals Show as USF Shoots Past Memphis in Second Half By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer MEMPHIS, Tenn., JAN. 17, 2018 – Maria Jespersen poured in a career-high 31 points to help No. 23 USF put Memphis away in the second half of an 81-62 win on Wednesday night. USF (15-4, 5-1) trailed at the half but gained distance on Memphis (7-11, 2-3) down the stretch by shooting 71 percent from the field in the second half. USF scored a season-high 46 points in the paint and secured its first win at Elma Roane Fieldhouse since Jan. 31, 2015. Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) shined from start to finish in her 20th-career double-double, matching a career high with 11 made field goals while grabbing 10 rebounds in the Bulls' third straight victory. Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) finished just shy of her career high with 18 points and dished out a game-high six assists. Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal) also stepped up with eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds to help the Bulls rule the boards by a 42-29 margin. Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) added 14 points while Alyssa Rader (Thornton, Colo.) produced in her first start as a Bull with eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks. USF led for nearly 18 of the game's first 20 minutes but headed into halftime trailing, 30-29, after Brea Elmore knocked down a buzzer-beating three-pointer. Jespersen grabbed sole possession of ninth on USF's career rebounds list with six boards in a first quarter that saw the senior boost the Bulls on the offensive end. Jespersen made five of USF's seven field goals and her 11 points powered the Bulls to a 15-7 lead. USF heated up after halftime, shooting 60 percent in the third quarter on the way to a five-point lead. The advantage reached double digits on a Rader layup with 8:35 remaining and the lead kept growing thanks to lockdown defense by the Bulls. Memphis went 5-for-15 from the field in the fourth quarter and committed seven turnovers in the second half. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez's thoughts on the victory: "We led in every statistical category at halftime and we're down 1. I like that we defended. We contained the dribble and we did a really good job on the glass." Fernandez on Maria Jespersen's show-stealing performance: "I thought she was assertive, she was ready to go. She spread the floor in transition and she created off the bounce, which was big." Key Stats 66 – USF shot nearly 66 percent from the field overall after making 71 percent of its shots in the second half. 46 – USF posted a season-high 46 points in the paint, its most since scoring 60 from close range against Saint Francis University on Dec. 14, 2016. 42 – The Bulls controlled the boards by a 42-29 margin. 4 – Wednesday marked the fourth straight road victory for the Bulls. Notable USF improved to 11-14 in its all-time series with Memphis. The Bulls have won nine of the past 11 meetings. The Bulls are now 5-1 on the road this season with four straight wins away from the Sun Dome. Wednesday marked only the sixth time the Bulls have scored 40-plus points in the paint in the past two years. Maria Jespersen moved up to ninth on USF's career rebounds list with 737 boards. Jespersen is now nine rebounds away from eighth place (Jessica Dickson, 746, 2003-07). Kitija Laksa needs 29 more points to move into the top 10 on USF's career list. The sharp-shooting junior now has 1,380 points and Aiya Shepard ranks 10th in school history with 1,409 points (1999-03). USF moved up to No. 23 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll. USF has been ranked in the Coaches Poll every week this season and has received votes in every AP Top 25 poll. Up Next USF finishes up a two-game road trip at Wichita State on Sunday at 4 p.m. (TV: CBS Sports Network). The Bulls are back at the Sun Dome on Sunday, Jan. 28 to host Temple at noon (TV: ESPNU). Reserve your seats at
  2. BULLS HIT THE ROAD WEDNESDAY AGAINST ECU January 16, 2018 Matchup: USF (7-11, 0-5 The American) at ECU (7-10, 1-5 The American) Date: Wednesday, Jan. 17 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Greenville, N.C. | Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum (7,100) TV: ESPN3 (Evan Lepler, Nate Ross) Radio: AM 820 | USF Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall) Follow: Listen | Stats | Twitter GAME NOTES TAMPA, FLA., JAN. 16, 2018 – The USF men's basketball team travels to Greenville, N.C. in search of its first American Athletic Conference win of the season. The Bulls have dropped the first five games of the conference season after facing the league's top four teams at the end of nonconference play. The Bulls (7-11, 0-5 AAC) will face the Pirates exactly two weeks after the first meeting of the season between the two teams. ECU took the first half of the season series, 67-65, at the Sun Dome on Jan. 3. USF had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win, but Terrence Samuel's three attempt came up just short. Isaiah Manderson also had a tip-in off Samuel's three that missed the mark for a tie, allowing ECU to escape with a road victory. Stephan Jiggetts (Forestville, Md.) was the Bulls' leading scorer in the game, scoring 18 points with five rebounds and five assists. Samuel (Bronx, N.Y.) tied his season high in points in the game, scoring 15. All 15 of his points came in the second half, which is one short of the USF season high for points in a half. USF is coming off a loss to No. 14 Cincinnati in its most recent game, 78-55. The Bulls led for 15:53 in the first half and extended their lead to as much as 10 before the Bearcats came back at the end of the first half and pulled away. Wing Payton Banks (Orange, Calif.) made his return after missing three of the last four games due to illness. Banks scored 22 points off the bench to lead all scorers in the game. He was 7-of-10 from the field and 4-of-5 from three in the game. Prior to the game against Cincinnati, the only conference game that Banks had appeared in was the ECU game. He played 10 minutes off the bench and attempted two shots before being held out of the Wichita State game. THE OPPONENT ECU (7-10, 1-5 AAC) has lost three straight games since its victory at the Sun Dome two weeks ago. The Pirates last played Sunday afternoon at home against Houston, a 65-49 loss. Redshirt freshman guard Shawn Williams led the Pirates against the Cougars with 17 points. Against the Bulls... Rest of story
  3. USF ATHLETICS WEB LINK: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Jan. 15, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Laksa Lands on Weekly Honor Roll USF sharp shooter, Kitija Laksa, Recognized by the American Athletic Conference TAMPA, JAN. 15, 2018 – USF’s leading scorer averaged over 20-points per game last week and led the Bulls to a 2-0 record. Junior Kitija Laksa turned in eight three-point field goals and landed on the American Athletic Conference weekly honor roll. Laksa (Riga, Latvia) averages 20.4 points per game this season and ranks third in the league in scoring. The guard averaged 22.5 points per game last week, and turned in 29 points at Temple and 16 points against UCF. Laksa led the Bulls in scoring in both games and netted four three-pointers in each contest. This season, Laksa has tallied 70 three-point field goals and is second in the country in three-point field goals made and fourth in the country with 3.89 three-point field goals per game. The guard has only missed one free throw the entire season and is an astounding 48-for-49 from the charity stripe. Laksa leads the country with a 97.959 free throw percentage. Laksa and the Bulls begin a two-game road swing Wednesday at Memphis. USF takes on the Tigers at 8 p.m. ET and fans can catch the game on ESPN3. To stay up-to-date on the latest USF women’s basketball news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).
  4. USF ATHLETICS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 14, 2018 WEB LINK: Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Take Game One in War on I-4 Series TAMPA, JAN. 14, 2018 – USF held the Knights to their second-lowest point total of the season, Sunday, as the women’s basketball team ran away with a 62-45 victory at the Sun Dome. The Bulls took sole possession of second place in the American Athletic Conference standings with the win. In a true team win, USF (14-4, 4-1 The American) had balanced scoring with three players in double figures, led by Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) with 16 points. Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) and Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) added 14 and 13 respectively and each added seven rebounds. The Bulls had six players with at least five rebounds. The Bulls dominated the glass, outrebounding UCF (11-7, 3-2 The American) 48-30. The team’s 48 rebounds included 17 offensive rebounds. USF scored 18 points off of second chance opportunities. USF’s defense shined, holding UCF to single digits in both the first and second quarters and only held the Knights to a 34 percent field goal percentage on the day. Quotable USF head coach Jose Fernandez on the team’s defense: "Our players defended. We played really good team defense and held them to one shot and out. Second half wasn’t a very pretty basketball game either way, but again, we held them to 14 points in the third quarter.” “We wanted to defend the dribble, keep them in front of us and do a great job on the glass.” Key Stats 20 – The Bulls scored 20 points off turnovers. The Bulls’ eight steals were the second most this season. 17 – USF grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and held UCF to just six. Notable • The Bulls improved to 7-1 at the Sun Dome this season. • USF collected three points in the War on I-4 rivalry series. UCF leads the all-sports series 21-12. The Bulls will have a chance to sweep the women’s basketball series 6-0 at UCF Feb. 18 • Since 2014, USF has compiled a 45-9 record at home, including a 23-6 record in The American. Up Next USF begins a two-game road swing Jan. 17. The Bulls travel to Memphis Wednesday before taking their first trip to Wichita State Jan. 21. USF returns to the Sun Dome Jan. 28 when it hosts Temple at 12 p.m.
  5. BULLS GETTING A BOOST FROM FEARLESS FRESHMAN COLLINS January 12, 2018 MATCHUP: No. 14/13 Cincinnati (14-2, 3-0) at USF (7-10, 0-4)DATE/TIME: Saturday, Jan. 13/7 p.m.LOCATION: Sun Dome, TampaTV: ESPNews (Jay Alter, Mark Adams)RADIO: 820-AM, Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Neil Solondz)TWITTER UPDATES: @USFMBBLIVE STATSPURCHASE TICKETSGAME NOTES By TOM ZEBOLDUSF Senior WriterTAMPA, JAN. 12, 2018 – Having already faced Houston, SMU and Wichita State, head coach Brian Gregory's Bulls are gearing up for another one of The American's toughest teams on the schedule.USF gets its second consecutive top-25 test Saturday at 7 p.m., when the Bulls host No. 14/13 Cincinnati at the Sun Dome. Reserve your seats for the ESPNews game at"This game is not for the weak of heart, or weak of spirit, or weak of physicality," Gregory said. "That's the way they play. That's the brand that they've created and we have to rise to that challenge."Looking for its first win over a ranked team since 2012, USF is embracing the opportunity with a fearless freshman focused on more production. Guard David Collins (Youngstown, Ohio) heads into Saturday ranking second on the team with 9.3 points in league play while averaging 22.8 minutes per outing. Rest of Story
  6. Bulls Welcome Six Early Enrollees To Campus TAMPA, JAN. 8, 2018 – The USF football team welcomed six members of its 24-man early signing class to campus Monday as the spring semester got underway. The six early enrollees will join head coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls in spring practice, which is expected to begin in early March. USF is coming off the first back-to-back 10-win seasons in program history after finishing 10-2 following its second straight bowl victory, a 38-34 win over Texas Tech in the Birmingham Bowl. The Bulls 2018 signing class is currently ranked No. 1 in the American Athletic Conference and 45th nationally by Rivals, while 247Sports ranks 21of the Bulls' 24 signees as three-star recruits. USF's 24 early signees tied Temple for the most in The American and ranked as the second-most among Power 6 conference teams behind Minnesota, which signed 25 in the early period. The Bulls will return six starters on offense for 2018, including three of their top four receivers and three offensive line starters, led by second team all-conference pick Marcus Norman (Sebastian) at right tackle. On defense, USF will return five starters, including defensive end Greg Reaves (Bradenton), who led the Bulls with 14.0 tackles for loss in 2017, and three starters in the secondary. Three defenders, two offensive players and a punter are joining the Bulls as early enrollees from the 2018 signing class. On defense, USF welcomed defensive ends Dwayne Boyles (Miami, Fla./Miami Central) and Stacy Kirby (Orlando, Fla./Jones HS) and linebacker Antonio Grier (Atlanta, Ga./Mays HS). On the offensive side of the ball, USF welcomed running back Brian Norris (Chiefland, Fla./Chiefland HS) and wide receiver Zion Roland (St. Petersburg, Fla./Admiral Farragut HS). Punter Trent Schneider (Sydney, Australia), the only non-freshman in the 2018 class to date, also joined USF this spring after playing one season at Santa Barbara City College. USF is expected to add additional players to the 2018 signing class when the late signing period begins on Feb. 7. EARLY ENROLLEES Star Rankings POS. HT WT. YR HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL Dwayne Boyles DE 6-3 225 Fr. Miami, Fla./Miami Central HS Antonio Grier LB 6-1 220 Fr. Atlanta, Ga./Mays HS Stacy Kirby DE 6-3 245 Fr. Orlando, Fla./Jones HS Brian Norris RB 6-2 220 Fr. Chiefland, Fla./Chiefland HS Zion Roland WR 5-11 184 Fr. St. Petersburg, Fla./Admiral Farragut HS Trent Schneider P 6-0 190 So. Sydney, Australia/Santa Barbara City College
  7. By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer WICHITA, Kan., JAN. 7, 2018 – Malik Martin posted a team-high 13 points in shorthanded USF's 95-57 conference loss at No. 9 Wichita State on Sunday. Martin (Miami) went 6-for-9 from the field on an afternoon that saw the Bulls (7-10, 0-4) shoot 36 percent from the field. Martin also tied with freshman Justin Brown for the team lead with five rebounds apiece. After trailing, 51-20, at the half, USF look much improved after the break with freshman David Collins scoring 10 of his 12 total points in his second double-digit scoring game in his past four outings. USF shot nearly 43 percent in the second half and was efficient with just five turnovers after tallying 13 in the opening half. Terrence Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored in double figures for the second straight game with 10 points, while Brown finished with eight points. Brown (Birmingham, Ala.) made a pair of shots from beyond the arc to jump into a tie for 10th on USF's all-time freshman list with 24 three-pointers. Brown opened the scoring with jumper before Wichita State (13-2, 3-0) took control in the first half by shooting 75 percent from the field and going 6-for-9 from long range. After scoring 20 points before the break, USF racked up 22 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Collins and the USF bench scored 20 of its 22 total points after the break. USF was once again forced to go without leading scorer Payton Banks, who missed his third game in the past four outings with an illness. Quotable Head coach Brian Gregory on USF turning in a strong performance after the break: "I really like the way our guys competed in the second half. I thought we played much better. I thought we played much more composed. They were pressing with three and a half minutes left in the game, so it wasn't like they weren't playing hard until the last two minutes. I thought we played much better and made some shots." Gregory on Malik Martin stepping up: "I thought Malik Martin gave us a big lift, great energy out there. I challenged him. We need him to rebound a little better, but I like the way he played. I like his energy level." Gregory on the freshmen continuing to give the Bulls a boost: "I thought that Justin Brown and David Collins again gave us a big lift. Those guys are going to be really good players for us." Key Stats 63 – Wichita State shot nearly 63 percent from the field, including 60 percent from long range (12-for-20). 32 – The Shockers scored 32 points off 18 USF turnovers. 40 – Wichita State outscored USF, 48-22, in points in the paint. Notable Nikola Scekic made the first three-pointer of his career with 12:27 remaining in the second half and finished 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Scekic headed to USF after winning a JUCO national championship with Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. Sunday marked USF's first-ever meeting with Wichita State, which has won five straight games. Up Next USF returns to the Sun Dome to host Cincinnati on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. (TV: ESPNews). Reserve your seats at
  8. USF ATHLETICS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2018 WEB LINK: Bulls Host No. 1 UConn in Top-25 Showdown Saturday Night MATCHUP: No. 1 UConn (12-0, 2-0) at No. 22 USF (12-3, 2-0) DATE/TIME: Saturday, Jan. 6/7 p.m. LOCATION: Sun Dome, Tampa WATCH: ESPN3, SNY LISTEN: 820-AM | Bulls Unlimited TWITTER UPDATES: @USFWBB LIVE STATS TICKETS: By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TAMPA, JAN. 5, 2018 – After building momentum during a 12-3 start, No. 22 USF has a chance to make monumental waves in the women's college basketball world this weekend. The Sun Dome is the place to be Saturday, when head coach Jose Fernandez's motivated Bulls take on top-ranked UConn (12-0, 2-0) at 7 p.m. Reserve your seats at "Without a doubt, it's going to be a great atmosphere for basketball, like it always is in this building," Fernandez said. Instantly poised for the postseason, USF has prepared itself well for this kind of tall task by continuously facing tough competition up to this point. The Bulls took down LSU at the Sun Dome in opening night and the schedule also has included tests against Butler, No. 2 Notre Dame, George Washington and Oklahoma before conference play began. "I think our kids have been challenged," Fernandez said. "We've put our kids in some pretty competitive situations to prepare ourselves for January and February. We still have (No. 10) Ohio State coming in here in the middle of February as a nonconference game." Like the Buckeyes and the rest of its perennial NCAA tournament opponents, USF is embracing an opportunity like Saturday. UConn has captured the national title in four of the last five years and has won its past 42 road games. Head coach Geno Auriemma's squad is 85-0 against American Athletic Conference opponents in regular season and tournament games. "As a coach, anytime that you're competing against a program like Connecticut, one of the best teams in the history of college basketball, and a legendary Hall of Fame coach like Geno, that's what drives you every day," Fernandez said. "You want to coach against the best players in the country and you want to compete against the best coaches in the country." Like Fernandez, USF's roster of talented players isn't shying away a chance to take down the Huskies. After replacing four starters last season, the Bulls now know what to expect. "We need to focus, we need to be all in," said sharp-shooting junior Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia). "Despite us playing UConn, the big name, the No. 1 team, we have to play our game. We can't focus as much on them. We have to play our own game and play really, really well." Expect a Packed House Purchase your tickets fast and head to campus early because Saturday should be much like the past four USF-UConn games in Tampa. Since 2014, the matchup has drawn an average of 6,190 fans at the Sun Dome after USF set a program attendance record of 6,634 when the Huskies visited in 2016. "I want this place to be packed. I want people to come out and see us play," Laksa said before practice at Sun Dome on Thursday. "I think it's going to be a great game. I hope the student section is great. I hope people from Tampa, from everywhere, our fans come out and really support us. I'm real excited about that." Familiar Foes UConn is no stranger to USF, which has faced off against the Huskies 23 times since the 2002-03 season. "It's unbelievable that we've come full circle now," Fernandez said. "We started that as a home-and-home, nonconference game and from Conference USA you go into the Big East and now we're in The American." Since USF has grown into a consistent top-25 program, the Bulls have taken on UConn three times in each of the past three seasons. "Where both programs are at, we expect to play them three times – twice during the year and again for the conference tournament championship," Fernandez said. "That's what we've done in the last three years." While battling UConn has become a tradition, Fernandez has built a close bond with Auriemma, who has won 11 national titles and 1,003 games with the Huskies since 1985. "I've been here 18 years and he's been an incredible friend and he's been very, very supportive of what we've been able to do here at South Florida," Fernandez said. "You look back and we've played each other a lot. You remember the conversations that you have on the road recruiting, at the Final Fours, at conventions, and at spring meetings." Bulls Bits USF has won two straight heading into Saturday after leaving Cincinnati with a 69-46 victory on Wednesday night. USF has started its run in The American at 2-0 for the fourth consecutive season. The last time out, senior forward Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) became the eighth player in program history to reach 1,000 career points and 700 rebounds. With 707 rebounds, Jespersen needs 23 more boards to pass Ezria Parsons (2003-05)) and move into ninth on USF's career list. Senior point guard Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) has racked up 100 assists this season (11th-most nationally) and leads The American with 6.7 assists per game. Flores ranks second nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.17). Junior guard Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) ranks second in The American in scoring (21.5 ppg) and is second in the nation with 4.1 made three-pointers per outing. About USF Women's Basketball To stay up-to-date on the latest USF women's basketball news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).
  9. FLOWERS NAMED THE STATE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR January 04, 2018 TAMPA, JAN. 4, 2018 – USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (Miami) has added yet another accolade to his prodigious resume as he was named the 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year by the Miami Herald. It marked the second straight year the record-setting Bulls quarterback claimed the honor, which the Herald refers to as the "state Heisman" for the seven Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college teams in Florida. The award is based on a weekly points system that evaluates productivity. Flowers' outstanding Birmingham Bowl, which earned him MVP honors for the second straight season in a 38-34 victory over Texas Tech, helped propel him past UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton for the top honor. Flowers accounted for 417 total yards and five touchdowns in the USF victory, including the game-winning touchdown pass with 16 seconds remaining. Flowers was one of five USF players to make the Herald's final top 25 ranking, equaling UCF for the most of any team in the state. Joining Flowers in the top 25 were senior wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (No. 11), senior running back Darius Tice (No. 12), senior running back D'Ernest Johnson (No. 13) and junior wide receiver Tyre McCants (No. 21). Flowers posted a weekly point average of 229.13 to edge Milton at 223.19, both standing far ahead of the remaining field. Rounding out the top five were Miami quarterback Malik Rosier (171.27), FAU running back Devin Singletary (165.79) and FIU quarterback Alex McGough (135.08). Flowers, who owns 42 USF records and finished his career as the program and American Athletic Conference career leader in total offense (11,802), accounted for 36 touchdowns on the season for a USF team that went 10-2, was ranked in the top 25 the entire season, and won its second straight bowl game. He equaled a USF season record, passing for 2,911 yards and broke his own program record, throwing 25 touchdown passes. Flowers posted a 142.10 pass efficiency rating while throwing just six interceptions. He also posted his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season, leading USF with 1,078 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Flowers posted his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, and fourth straight, in the Birmingham Bowl as he galloped for 106 yards and touchdown. He also logged his fourth 300-yard passing game in his last five games, setting a USF record for most 300-yard games in a season, while throwing for 311 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass to McCants. Link
  10. USF ATHLETICS WEB LINK: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Jan. 4, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook USF Basketball: Run with the Bulls Returns USF’s basketball television show enters its third season TAMPA, JAN. 4, 2018 – The USF basketball television show is back for its third season in 2018.USF Basketball: Run with the Bulls debuts on FOX Sports Florida at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 4. The show will air every other Thursday on FOX Sports Florida. The show will combine behind-the-scenes access and stunning cinematography covering both head coach Jose Fernandez’s women’s program and head coach Brian Gregory’s men’s basketball program in one 30-minute show that will give fans an exciting look at each team’s journey through the 2017-18 season. The minute program- produced by the Emmy Awards wining production team of Awesome Films – will take fans off the court and behind the scenes with unprecedented access to the men’s and women’s basketball teams. With access to practice, the locker room, game day and daily life, the show will give viewers a taste of what it is like to be in the huddle and on the court with the Bulls. USF Basketball: Run with the Bulls will air six episodes on Thursdays this winter. FOX Sports Florida (CH 31 & 1148 on Spectrum; CH 77 & 577 on Frontier) January 4, 2018 3:30 p.m. January 18, 2018 3:30 p.m. February 1, 2018 3:30 p.m. February 15, 2018 3:30 p.m. March 1, 2018 3:30 p.m. March 15, 2018 3:30 p.m. To stay up-to-date on the latest USF women’s basketball news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).
  11. USF ATHLETICS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 3, 2018 WEB LINK: Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Dispatch Cincinnati, Improve to 2-0 in The American CINCINNATI, OHIO, JAN. 3, 2018 – For the fourth straight season, the USF women’s basketball team opened the American Athletic Conference slate 2-0. The Bulls downed Cincinnati, 69-46, at Saint Ursula Academy in Ohio. Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal) had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls (12-3, 2-0 The American), who held its fourth team to less than 50 points this season. USF has not allowed more than 46 points against conference opponents. The Bulls utilized a 10-0 run in the first quarter and a 7-0 run in the second quarter to take a 29-18 halftime lead. Ferreira tallied eight points and six rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Maria Jespersen(Arhus, Denmark) grabbed two of her eight rebounds in the first half and the senior surpassed 700 career rebounds to become the eighth player in program history to reach 1,000 points and 700 rebounds. Jespersen finished with 25 points, netting 15 in the second half. The Bulls fended off a late third quarter rally by the Bearcats (9-6, 1-1 The American) and took their largest lead of the game at 23 points in the fourth quarter. Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) turned in 12 points, six rebounds and five assists while Laia Flores(Mataro, Spain) added seven points, five rebounds and four assists. Flores shot 50 percent from the floor (3-for-6). Key Stats 21– The Bulls forced 15 turnovers and scored 21 points off Cincinnati miscues. Notables The Bulls improved to 55-17 all-time in The American. Maria Jespersen’s eight rebounds moved her to 707 career rebounds, which rank 10th in the all-time career rebounds list. The senior only needs 23 rebounds to pass Ezira Parsons (’06) and move into ninth on the career list. Laura Ferreira’s double-double was her fourth this season and the sixth of her career. Jespersen has scored 25 points three other times this season. The senior’s career high is 26 points, which she reached on four difference occasions last season. The Bulls held a team to less than 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since defeating East Carolina and Memphis last season. 79-48, East Carolina, Jan. 14, 2017 79-49, Memphis, Jan. 17, 2017 Up Next USF welcomes No. 1 UConn to the Sun Dome Saturday. The top-25 showdown is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip and will air on ESPN3 and SNY
  12. Last college game for these guys and close by. The bowl was a tough go for a lot of reasons but this shouldn't be. Be there or be square. TAMPA, JAN. 2, 2018 – USF will be well represented in the 93rd East-West Shrine Game as a program-record four Bulls have accepted invitations to play in the college all-star football game held on Sat., Jan. 20 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Senior offensive players Quinton Flowers (Miami) and D'Ernest Johnson (Immokalee) and senior defenders Deatrick Nichols (Miami) and Deadrin Senat (Immokalee) have accepted invitations to the play in the 2018 East-West Shrine Game, which will kick off at 3 p.m. and be televised live on the NFL Network. The four Bulls participating in the 2018 game bring the program's total to 19 players selected to compete in the nation's oldest college all-star football game, which features top senior players from around the nation. The four selections for the 2018 game mark the 11th straight year at least one Bull has been selected for the game. Flowers finished his illustrious USF career by claiming his second straight Birmingham Bowl MVP honors after accounting for 417 total yards and five touchdowns in the Bulls' 38-34 victory over Texas Tech. Flowers passed for 311 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 106 yards and one touchdown, becoming just the second player in the past 15 years to have at least 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards and two combined touchdowns in a bowl game. Flowers finished his career with nearly 40 USF records, including career marks for total offense (11,802), rushing yards (3,672), rushing touchdowns (41), passing touchdowns (71) and total touchdowns (112). Johnson finished his USF career as the Bulls' all-time leader in career all-purpose yardage (4,186). He also set records for a USF running back for career receptions (73) and receiving yards (909). Johnson ran for 796 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior season to finish with 1,796 rushing yards on his career to rank eighth all-time at USF. He accounted for 29 total touchdowns on his career. Nichols became just the third three-time all-conference selection at USF in his senior campaign. Playing cornerback, nickel and safety at points during the season, Nichols finished third on the team with 56 tackles and led the team with 15 passes defended while collecting three interceptions. He finished his career with 11 career interceptions, which ranks third all- time at USF, as well as 24 pass break-ups and 35 passes defended, which both rank fifth, and 175 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss. Senat finished off a career-best season by posting three sacks and five tackles in the Birmingham Bowl. A first team all-conference selection as a senior, his second career all-conference recognition, he finished second on the team with a career-best 66 tackles and 6.0 sacks and ranked fourth with 10.5 tackles for loss. A three-year starter with 36 career starts at defensive tackle, Senat finished his career with 179 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks.
  13. BULLS TRAVEL TO DALLAS FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE MATCHUP December 30, 2017 Game Notes Matchup: USF (7-7, 0-1 The American) at SMU (11-3, 1-0 The American) Date: Sunday, Dec. 31 Time: 8 p.m. EST Location: Dallas, Texas | Moody Coliseum (7,000) TV: ESPNU (Ted Emrich, Malcom Huckaby) Radio: AM 820 | USF Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Joey Johnston) Follow: Listen | Stats | Twitter TAMPA, FLA., DEC. 30, 2017 – The USF men's basketball team opens its American Athletic Conference road slate with a New Year's Eve matchup at SMU on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. The game marks the second conference matchup for the Bulls. USF (7-7, 0-1) opened the conference schedule with a 79-60 loss to Houston on Thursday. Against the Cougars, USF's freshman duo of Justin Brown (Birmingham, Ala.) and David Collins (Youngstown, Ohio) accounted for more than 50 percent of the scoring, collecting 31 of 60 points. Each set new career highs in points, with Collins scoring 15 to go with four assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Brown had 16 on four made threes and had a career-high seven rebounds. For Brown, it was his second consecutive game with a new career high in points after scoring 12 against Charlotte on Dec. 21. He also made four threes in that game, which is currently his career high. Brown is 19-for-48 (39.6 percent) from beyond the arc this season. He needs only five more made threes to crack the top 10 amongst USF freshmen in a single season. Rest of story
  14. USF ATHLETICS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: December 17, 2017 WEB LINK: Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Overpower FIU in 30-point Win FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA., DEC. 17, 2017 – The Bulls offense didn’t skip a beat Sunday with an 82-52 rout of FIU at Rick Case Arena on the campus of Nova Southeastern. Laia Flores powered the Bulls with a 19-point, seven assist performance. Flores (Mataro, Spain) scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half, and shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor in the final 20 minutes. USF (9-2) had four players score in double-figures. Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) and Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal) each added 16 points while Alyssa Rader (Thornton, Colo.) contributed 11 points and four rebounds. Jespersen tallied her sixth double-double outing this season with a game-high 10 rebounds while Ferreira filled her stat line with six rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals. The Bulls never trailed but solidified their 30-point victory in the fourth quarter. USF outscored FIU (2-8) 21-9 in the fourth quarter and didn’t allow a field goal until 5:39 remained in the contest. The Bulls defense forced 16 turnovers and scored 22 points off of Panthers’ miscues. QUOTABLES: Head coach Jose Fernandez on the difference in the game: “I thought we came out of the gate well. At halftime, we put more emphasis on the rebounding and we did a much better job on the second half on the glass. We didn’t allow any second chance points in the last two periods.” Key Stats 100 – The Bulls finished a perfect 15-for-15 from the charity stripe. 36 – The number of points USF scored in the paint. The Bulls outscored the Panthers 36-22. Notables • The Bulls improved to 13-7 in the all-time series record against FIU. • Laia Flores turned in another turnover free outing, her fourth of the season. Entering Sunday’s contest, Flores ranked third in the country with an assist to turnover ratio of 4.27. • Flores has had at least seven assists in six of the Bulls’ 11 games. • USF improved to 2-1 on the road this season. • This is the first time USF was perfect from the free throw line since Nov. 30, 2016, also against FIU. The Bulls went 1-for-1 from the charity stripe. Up Next The Bulls remain on the road and will travel from Miami to New Orleans for the 2017 New Orleans Shootout. USF will play Dayton Dec. 20 at 8:30 p.m. EST and Michigan State Dec. 21 at 8:30 p.m. EST.
  15. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: December 17, 2017 WEB LINK: No. 22 Bulls Face FIU Sunday Matchup: No. 22 USF (8-2) vs. FIU (2-7) Date: Sunday, Dec. 17 Time: 3:00 p.m. Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | Rick Case Arena (Nova Southeastern) Watch: N/A Radio: AM 1040 | Bulls Unlimited (Darek Sharp) Follow: Listen | Stats | Twitter TAMPA, DEC. 17, 2017 – In a quick turnaround, the USF women’s basketball team will play FIU Sunday. Due to FIU’s om-campus graduation, the pair will meet at Rick Case Arena on the campus of Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale. USF (8-2) is fresh off a 108-48 victory over Southern University Friday night.Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) made history scoring 40 points in three quarters of action. The junior made 11-consecutive three-pointers a new all-time NCAA record in any division. Her 4.90 three-point field goals per game leads the country. The Bulls average 80.1 points and 43.8 rebounds per game and have made at least nine three-pointers as a team in their last six games. Against Southern, USF set a new program record with 21 three-point field goals. The current NCAA record is 22 set by FGCU at Abilene Christian on Dec. 3. THE OPPONENT FIU (2-7) will play its first game in nearly two weeks Sunday. The Panthers last played on Dec. 4 and suffered a 62-51 setback at Morgan State. FIU is led by Kiandre’a Pound with 13.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. USF and FIU will meet for the 20th time in program history. The Bulls hold a 12-7 series advantage and will face the Panthers for the 11th time on the road. The pair last met on Dec. 1, 2016. The Bulls ran away with a 91-41 victory. Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) set a new conference and program record with 17 assists while the team connected for a then program record 16 three-point field goals. NOTABLES The Bulls will play the second of four games in seven days Sunday. USF is 1-1 in road games. While the game will be played on a neutral site, it will still be considered a road game for the Bulls. Laksa has made two-plus three-pointers in her last 18 outings and has gone 25 straight games with at least one trey. Maria Jespersen moved to 10th on all-time rebounding list thanks to seven rebounds on Friday. Jespersen has tallied 661 rebounds in four years. The senior needs 68 more rebounds to move into the ninth spot. Laia Flores leads the league in three different categories: assist-turnover ratio (4.27), assists (64) and assists per game (6.4). She ranks in the top 20 nationally in all three categories. USF is currently ranked No. 22 in the AP and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Bulls started the season ranked No. 23/22 and peaked at No. 16 (AP – week 4) and No. 16 (Coaches – weeks 3-4 ). USF has been ranked in both polls every week. The program’s highest ranking in both polls was in 2016, when the Bulls were ranked No. 15 (AP – Jan. 18 | Coaches – Jan. 19). Former USF All-American Courtney Williams ('16) is among 13 Olympic and/or FIBA World Cup gold medalists, on a roster of 29 athletes today that were named to the 2017-20 USA Basketball Women's National Team pool. To stay up-to-date on the latest USF women’s basketball news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).
  16. Game Recap: Men's Basketball | December 14, 2017 TAMPA, DEC. 14, 2017 – After a first half that saw 10 lead changes, the Bulls pulled ahead with 17:18 to go in the second half and went on to defeat Bethune-Cookman, 83-63, at the Sun Dome on Thursday night. USF mounted a 21-3 run through the middle of the second half to pull away for the team's largest victory of the season. Stephan Jiggetts (Forestville, Md.) hit 1,000 career points by knocking down two free throws with 5:18 remaining in the second half. Jiggetts finished the night with a team-leading 20 points to go along with seven assists and five rebounds. In all, five different Bulls scored in double figures for the first time since Dec. 15, 2015 against Jacksonville. Payton Banks (Orange, Calif.) came off the bench for the first time this season and scored 16 points, including three first-half threes. Tulio Da Silva (Formiga, Brazil) followed up his 17-rebound performance against FIU with 15 points and five rebounds, tying for the team lead in boards. As a team, the Bulls shot 55.6 percent (30-for-54) from the field, a new season high. The game marked the first time since Dec. 12, 2016, also against Bethune-Cookman, that the Bulls shot over 50 percent in both halves. The Bulls also shot 50 percent (7-for-14) from beyond the arc, the first time USF has hit that threshold since Dec. 17, 2016 against South Carolina. Quotable Head coach Brian Gregory on the game: "We played extremely hard, shared the ball, moved the ball. I thought Stephan Jiggetts played his most complete game since being here. Payton Banks responded extremely well to coming off the bench, with great energy. We got a lot of good basketball from a lot of different guys, so that was good to see." Stephan Jiggetts on getting 1,000 career points: "I didn't even know I was that close, to be honest. I guess it's a good thing to be happy about…We definitely had to get that extra win in the win column, especially after losing four straight." Tulio Da Silva on what has changed for him: "It's just coming to practice and playing hard. I think I've gotten better at that after making a lot of mistakes. I think I've improved my rebounding as well. I'm just getting my playing time back and I think I'm improving." Key Stats 33.3 – The Bulls held Bethune-Cookman to 33.3 percent (10-for-30) from the field in the second half after the Wildcats shot 51.7 percent (15-for-29) in the first half. 19 – USF tied a season high with 19 assists on 30 made baskets. 62.5 – The Bulls shot 62.5 percent (5-for-8) from beyond the arc in the first half, including three made threes from Payton Banks. Notable As a team, the Bulls set new season highs in points (83), field goal percentage (55.6, 30-for-54) and three-point field goal percentage (50.0, 7-for-14). Stephan Jiggetts set a new season high with seven assists on the night, tying Terrence Samuel's seven at Stetson for the most by a Bull in a single game this season. Tulio Da Silva scored 15 points, his most points since he scored 20 in the opener against FAU on Nov. 10. Freshman Justin Brown (Birmingham, Ala.) made his first-career start and made the game's first basket. Up Next USF continues its five-game home stand with a test against Northern Arizona on Monday, Dec. 18. The 7 p.m. game will be broadcast live for free on
  17. USF ATHLETICS WEB LINK: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Dec. 14, 2017 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook All-American Courtney Williams Named to USA National Team Pool COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 14, 2017) – Former USF All-American Courtney Williams (’16) is among 13 Olympic and/or FIBA World Cup gold medalists, on a roster of 29 athletes today that were named to the 2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool. The 2017-20 USA National Team pool was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee and is expected to be from which the 2018 USA World Cup Team is selected. The 29 members of the 2017-20 USA National Team roster announced today include: Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun); Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx); Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Tina Charles (New York Liberty); Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream); Napheesa Collier (Connecticut); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics); Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings); Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky); Asia Durr (Louisville); Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx); Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Kayla McBride (Las Vegas Aces); Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream); Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State); Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx); Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun); Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks); Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces); Katie Lou Samuelson (Connecticut); Odyssey Sims (Los Angeles Sparks); Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun); Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx); and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina). Additionally, in continuing its preparations for the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball and future USA Basketball Women’s National Team events, available members of the USA pool will participate in a minicamp Feb. 9-11, 2018, at the University of South Carolina. It will mark the second camp under the direction of Dawn Staley, 2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team and South Carolina head coach. “I’m incredibly pleased with the pool of players that make up the 29 and the different experiences that they bring to the team,” said Staley, whose Gamecocks currently are 9-1 and ranked No. 4/5 nationally (as of 12/14/17). “I’m looking forward to putting my stamp on this training camp, because it’s new, it’s different. Yet, you can give the 29 members of the pool anything to run, and they’re going to make you look good. We just have to get together to form some chemistry. Many of us have been together and worked together, just not in this capacity. So, anytime we can get the USA National Team together and work for a few days, it’s only going to benefit us in the long run. “Anytime you can assemble the best players in our country together in one place, it always is an incredible thing. I think USA Basketball has done a great job of making things convenient for everyone in bringing people together in a place in which, I think everyone who comes will be pleasantly surprised at what Columbia has to offer and what our university has to offer. It’s a tremendous time that will be spent wisely, and it’ll be enjoyable.” “This is a very talented group, from four-time Olympians Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, to the younger players who are hoping to compete in their first USA National Team competition,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team director and chair of the USA Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. “As we looked toward the future, the committee first had to look at the past. We acknowledged that what has made the USA National Team program such a resounding success over the past two decades was the way our teams have seamlessly blended youth with veteran leadership. And because of that, we wanted to make sure we continued with that recipe in building a team. We can’t say enough about the veterans. We win simply because our best players want to play over and over again. “We are happy to be able to take advantage of this time, and I want to thank the University of South Carolina for allowing us to train there in February. USA Basketball is blessed with an array of talent, but that means that our athletes are in demand around the world in many different professional leagues. But, that is also a challenge for us in that we need to be able to find small pockets of time to train in order to be fully prepared to defend the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain. We are hoping to be able to get together for another minicamp prior to the start of the WNBA season, where we will continue to prepare and hope to have even more athletes available. We appreciate everyone who is able to participate in our training camps as we feel it’s invaluable to everyone to become more familiar with Dawn’s style of coaching and continue to build on the team culture that has been one of the hallmarks of our success.” As was the case over the past three quadrenniums, the 2017-20 USA National Team roster will be fluid. It is expected that the official, 12-member 2018 USA World Cup and 2020 U.S. Olympic teams, should the USA qualify to compete in Tokyo, will be comprised of players from the 2017-20 USA National Team. The USA will train at 10 a.m. (EST) daily Feb. 9-11 at the Carolina Coliseum, and the final roster of minicamp participants will be announced at a later date. Collegiate members of the 2017-20 USA squad, Collier, Durr, Kelsey Mitchell, Samuelson and Wilson, as well as those competing professionally in Asia, which currently includes Fowles, Loyd and Stewart, will be unavailable to participate in the camp. All 29 athletes possess prior USA Basketball international experience. Combined, the athletes own 100 gold medals, two silver medals and four bronze medals in official junior and senior level five-on-five competitions, as well as seven gold medals in international 3x3 events. The list of USA National Team members is underscored by a total of 25 Olympic and 19 FIBA World Cup gold medals. • Eleven of the athletes are Olympic champions: Bird and Taurasi are four-time Olympic gold medalists; Augustus and Fowles have earned three Olympic golds apiece; Charles, McCoughtry, Moore and Whalen have captured two Olympic gold medals; while 2016 marked the first Olympic gold for Delle Donne, Griner and Stewart. • Twelve have claimed FIBA World Cup gold: Bird lists as a four-time USA World Cup Team member and owns three gold medals and one bronze medal at the event; Taurasi has two gold medals and one bronze medal; Charles, McCoughtry, Moore and Whalen helped the USA capture the past two World Cup gold medals; Augustus has one gold medal and one bronze medal; Fowles earned gold in 2010; and Griner, Nneka Ogwumike, Sims and Stewart were members of the 2014 USA World Cup Team that returned home with gold medals. • Six USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year recipients: Augustus (2003), Charles (2009), Moore (2014), Stewart (2011, 2013), Taurasi (2006, 2010, 2012, 2016) and Wilson (2015). • Six WNBA MVPs: Charles (2012), Delle Donne (2015), Fowles (2017), Moore (2014), Nneka Ogwumike (2016) and Taurasi (2009) • Nineteen WNBA All-Stars: Augustus (7), Bird (10), Charles (5), Clarendon (1), Delle Donne (4), Diggins-Smith (3), Dolson (2), Fowles (4), Griner (4), Hayes (1), Lavender (1), McBride (1), McCoughtry (4), Moore (5), Chiney Ogwumike (1), Nneka Ogwumike (4), Stewart (1), Taurasi (8) and Whalen (5). • Nine WNBA champions: Augustus (4), Bird (2), Fowles (2), Griner (1), Lavender (1), Moore (4), Nneka Ogwumike (1), Taurasi (3) and Whalen (4). USA Basketball Women’s National Team Members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup (Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain) and, if the USA qualifies, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 24-Aug. 9 in Tokyo), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games. The U.S. and Staley first will look to capture the title at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup of Basketball, with an automatic berth to the 2020 Olympic Games being awarded to the gold medalist. Should the U.S. not finish with the gold medal in 2018, it would have two additional opportunities to qualify for the Olympics: the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup (dates and site TBD) and the 2020 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD). In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee includes three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Katie Smith as the athlete representative; representing the WNBA is Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller and Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler; and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who coached USA teams to gold medals at the past two Olympics and FIBA World Cups, serves as a special advisor. FIBA World Cup of Basketball The USA owns a record nine gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Cup play, while compiling an all-time 103-21 record at the event. In 2014, the most recent World Cup, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Australia won bronze. Automatically qualified for two of the 16 World Cup slots are host Spain and the USA as defending Olympic champion. Qualified from the Africa Zone are Nigeria and Senegal; Australia, China, Japan and South Korea qualified out of Asia; Argentina, Canada and Puerto Rico qualified out of the Americas; while Belgium, France, Greece, Latvia and Turkey qualified out of Europe. The 18th FIBA World Cup format will feature a round-robin competition in preliminary round play with four groups comprised of four teams each. Following the preliminary round, the first-place team in each group will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the second- and third-place teams in each group will compete in quarterfinal play-in games. Quarterfinals winners will advance to the semifinals, and the gold medal game will be played on Sept. 30. USA Basketball Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and chaired by retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety. Connect with USA Basketball on,, and – #GoBulls –
  18. December 13, 2017 By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TAMPA, DEC. 13, 2017 – With a keen eye for talent, USF women's basketball head coach Jose Fernandez routinely travels the world to search for the next game-changing Bull. "He goes around the globe and he handpicks players he thinks that really want to do this," said Maria Jespersen, one of eight international players on USF's roster. "When you come over here as an international student, that's what you're here for – to play basketball. When you come here, maybe we have another kind of focus on basketball." Back in 2013, Fernandez found the laser-focused forward he was looking for in Denmark by signing Jespersen, who has gone on to reach a prestigious program milestone. The last time out, the productive senior became just the 10th Bull in USF history to post 1,000 points and 600 rebounds in a career. "Maria is the type of player that can play inside or outside," Fernandez said. "She's a very smart player and she's another player that can play facing the basket or with her back to the basket." With her name on numerous national award watch lists, Jespersen has been a force all over the court with five double-doubles this season, including her 18 point, 12 rebound effort at Oklahoma on Dec. 9. The 6-foot forward ranks second in The American in rebounding (10.2 rpg) and seventh in scoring (17.4 ppg) after being named to the preseason all-conference second team. "There's a lot of great players in our conference this year," she said. "I was really honored to be in the top 10 players of our conference." Jespersen attributes senior success to all the hard work she's put in since arriving at USF in 2014. The progression has been apparent, going from 4.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game as a freshman all the way up to averaging 14.7 points and 9.0 boards during her all-conference junior season in 2016-17. "When you go through your college career, you have a lot of ups and downs. Your freshman and sophomore years, it's a little harder to handle it because you haven't done it before," Jespersen said. "Especially when you come in as a freshman, you're used to being pretty good and you're not used to having much adversity. When you come here, you get a lot of adversity and you have to find out how you overcome it and how you move on from it." Continuously adjusting to top-level basketball in America, Jespersen earned The American's most improved player award as a junior and has become the complete package this season. "I think I've taken on more of a leadership role this year," she said. "Being one of the two seniors, we want this so badly and I think that affects the whole team." Teaching younger players in practice and providing emotional lifts during games has become a norm for Jespersen, who wants to make more important program history. No. 22/20 USF (7-2) is working toward its fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance and booking a first-ever trip to the Sweet 16 is the Bulls' ultimate goal. "There's another kind of focus this year that I don't think we've had the other years," Jespersen said. "I think that focus is going to help us go deeper and take on each team at a time, and not have those breakdowns we've had previous years." Watch Jespersen and the Bulls make more non-conference progress in their return to the Sun Dome on Friday against Southern University. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and fans can reserve their seats HERE. More on Maria DENMARK DETAILS: Representing her country is a tradition for Jespersen, who debuted with the national team in 2008. Prior to USF, she played six years on Denmark club teams and earned All-Star selections at the Nordic Championship all six years. Jespersen hails from Aarhus, which is the second-largest city in Denmark. CAREER NUMBERS: In her memorable USF career, Jespersen is up to 1,003 points and 654 rebounds. Heading into Friday, Jespersen needs seven more boards to move up to 10th on all-time list, a position currently held by Joyce Lewis (658, 1981-83). WATCH LISTS: Jespersen is currently on watch lists for two major national honors – the Cheryl Miller Award and Katrina McClain Award. "I try not to get too hyped with all the outside noise, the rankings and the individual awards and stuff like that, but it's nice," she said. "It's attributed to my hard work and the hard work the team puts in because I'm not going to get these things without the team. It just makes you want to work harder." DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE: To date, Jespersen has posted 17 career double-doubles. She's also registered double-digit rebounding totals in five games this season and 23 times in her career. Last season, Jespersen ranked seventh on USF's season list with 297 total boards.
  19. Bulls Back At It Thursday Against Bethune-Cookman December 13, 2017 Matchup: Bethune-Cookman (5-5) at USF (4-6) Date: Thursday, Dec. 14 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Tampa, Fla. | Sun Dome (10,411) TV: Bullsvision (Jim Louk, Darek Sharp) Radio: AM 820 | USF Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Neil Solondz) Tickets: Follow: Listen | Stats | Twitter TAMPA, FLA., Dec. 13, 2017 – The University of South Florida men's basketball team returns to the court on Thursday night against Bethune-Cookman. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome. The Bulls got stellar performances from their post players on Monday night against Florida International but were unable to come away with a victory, dropping the contest 65-53. The Bulls' four post players (Tulio Da Silva, Isaiah Manderson, Malik Martin and Nikola Scekic) accounted for 26 of USF's 60 shots on the night and 12 of the 20 made baskets. Manderson led the Bulls in scoring, finishing with 12 points on 6-of-8 from the field. His 12 points were two off of a career high, which he set on Dec. 2 at Appalachian State. Manderson also pulled down four rebounds. Da Silva had one of the best rebounding performances in recent memory for the Bulls, grabbing 17 boards including five on the offensive end. The 17 rebounds are the most by an American Athletic Conference player this season and the most in a single game by a USF player since Chris Perry also had 17 on Nov. 13, 2015 against Troy. The Bulls will be looking to snap a four-game skid, with its last victory coming on Nov. 24 against Arkansas State. THE OPPONENT Bethune-Cookman (5-5) faces a quick turnaround after defeating Cal Poly at home in Daytona Beach on Tuesday night, 67-53. Junior guard Malik Maitland played all 40 minutes for the Wildcats in the contest and led the team in scoring with 21 points. The team's second-leading scorer was Shawntrez Davis, who posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Bethune-Cookman faced Cal Poly without its leading scorer, as senior guard/forward Brandon Tabb is suspended indefinitely. His status for Thursday's game is unknown. The Wildcats' home victory was their fifth of the season, bringing them into a tie for the MEAC lead with North Carolina A&T. BCU did not reach five wins until Feb. 6 last season, and it is the fastest it has reached five wins since the 2009-10 season. Bethune-Cookman is playing under first-year head coach Ryan Riddle. Riddle brought back six players from last season, including Tabb. NOTABLES Stephan Jiggetts (Forestville, Md.) needs only 18 points to reach 1,000 for his career. He scored 863 points at Fairleigh Dickinson before arriving at USF this season, and leads all Bulls in career points scored. Isaiah Manderson (Bronx, N.Y.) is shooting 55.2 percent (16-for-29) through his first four games of the season and is third on the team in scoring with 9.0 points per game. Terrence Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y.) ranks second in the conference and 25th nationally in free throw percentage. Samuel is shooting 92.1 percent (35-for-38) from the line this season. The Bulls have the 22nd-best three point field goal defense in the country this season, holding opponents to only 28.6 percent (60-for-210) from beyond the arc.
  20. By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TAMPA, DEC. 13, 2017 – Ranking ninth nationally in total offense, high-powered USF looks to produce more fireworks in the postseason against a defense that dishes out its own highlight-reel plays. Aggressive Texas Tech (6-6) has gotten its hands on a Big 12-leading 27 takeaways this season, the sixth-most in the NCAA heading into the Birmingham Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 23. "Those guys are really physical and they've done a great job with turnovers," offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert said. "They're going to fly around, try to be around the football, and they're going to try to get the ball back." On the other side of the line, USF (9-2) has taken great care of the football with only 12 turnovers. The Bulls rank 13th nationally in turnover margin (0.91) while quarterback Quinton Flowers (Miami) has been efficient through the air, throwing 21 touchdown passes with only six interceptions in 320 attempts this season. In last year's Birmingham Bowl, Flowers earned MVP honors by completing 23 of 32 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his 105 rushing yards and three scores on the ground. "We just have to execute like last year," Flowers said after practice Tuesday. "Every opportunity we get, every time we get the ball, we just have to go down and score. Eliminate the big mistakes and just stay within the team." Forcing opponents into making mistakes has been the norm for Texas Tech, which leads the Big 12 with 13 fumble recoveries. Linemen Mychealon Thomas, Tony Jones and defensive back Douglas Coleman each have scooped up two fumbles while 10 different Red Raiders have a fumble recovery to their credit. "They're a fast team, they're a physical team. They're going to bring it," said junior receiver Tyre McCants (Niceville, Fla.). Much like the Bulls' secondary, Texas Tech has made the most of its opportunities with 14 interceptions. Junior defensive back Justus Parker leads the team with four interceptions and he's one of 10 Texas Tech players with a pick this season. Parker shined in the regular season finale by returning one of Texas Tech's two interceptions for 55 yards. The Red Raiders totaled three takeaways and became bowl eligible in the huge 27-23 win at Texas. "They're active on that side of the ball. They've got quite a few athletes over there," Gilbert said. "They've just increased their productivity throughout the season, especially here in the back end with what they've been doing." Flowers Hot Passing Roll Could Continue Quinton Flowers threw for 325-plus yards in three of the final four regular season games and another opportunity awaits the rapidly progressing passer. Despite having 14 interceptions, Texas Tech ranks 123rd nationally in passing defense (279.8 ypg) and has held only one FBS opponent to less than 20 points this season. Flowers elevated his season passing average (236.3 ypg) with a school record 503-yard night at UCF that included four touchdown tosses. The dual threat from Miami needs 312 yards against Texas Tech to top Matt Grothe (2,911 yards) and become the Bulls' all-time season passing leader. "Q can throw the ball over the top and the thing he does with his running ability, you can't leave your coverage," head coach Charlie Strong said. "His eyes are always down the field and he's always looking for a throw." One more touchdown pass also would help Flowers (67 TDs) grab sole possession of USF's career lead and he needs four more break his own school season record of 24 TD passes set last season. "I think their quarterback is one of the best in the country," Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. Protecting Q For Flowers to set more passing records, USF's veteran offense line must give him some time to dish it out. USF has done a solid job so far, ranking 41st nationally with 1.64 sacks allowed per game. "We're happy to hold pass protection down for seven, eight seconds to give (Flowers) all the time in the pocket before he wants to scramble or has to scramble," said senior center Cameron Ruff (Tampa). "We take pride in everything we do." On the other side of the ball, Texas Tech doesn't get to the backfield often, ranking 109th in the country with 19 sacks and 118th in tackles for loss (4.3 per game). One player to keep an eye on though is emerging redshirt freshman defensive lineman Eli Howard, who leads the Red Raiders with 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Ground Battle Should Be a Good One Texas Tech gives up yards through the air but has been pretty good against the run this season. The Red Raiders rank 53rd nationally in rushing defense (154.3 ypc) and have allowed just three individual 100-yard rushers all season. Meanwhile, USF ranks ninth nationally in rushing offense (265.4 ypg) and has had at least one Bull run for 100-plus yards in seven games this season. Against Illinois, Flowers, Darius Tice (Miami) and D'Ernest Johnson (Immokalee, Fla.) all eclipsed the 100-yard mark. "We love that we can open up a hole when the defense is giving us their best for our running backs to go 20, 30-plus yards," Ruff said. Overall, USF has gained at least 300 yards on the ground in five games this year. Business as usual against Texas Tech would give the Bulls (2,919 yards) their third consecutive 3,000-yard rushing season. Individually, another productive outing could propel Flowers into the USF career rushing lead. He needs just 44 more yards to break former teammate Marlon Mack's school record of 3,609 yards. With a team-leading 972 yards, Flowers also is on the verge of his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season and could join Louisville's Lamar Jackson as the only FBS players to pass for 2,500 and run for 1,000 yards on the season, both doing it for the second straight year.
  21. Basebulls 2018 schedule

    USF ATHLETICS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Web Link: USF Baseball Reveals 2018 Schedule The 52-game slate is highlighted by an opening series against UNC, matchups with FSU and defending national champs Florida The Bulls face seven teams that made NCAA Regional appearances in 2017 TAMPA, DEC. 13, 2017 – The 53rd season of USF baseball begins on Feb. 16 and first-year head coach Billy Mohl is thrilled to announce the 2018 schedule. The 52-game slate features 33 contests at USF Baseball Stadium. Totaling 15 games, the Bulls will face seven teams that earned NCAA Regional berths in 2017, four of which hosted a regional. "We are pleased to announce our 2018 schedule," said coach Mohl. "Our non-conference slate is one that features multiple teams who finished last year ranked in the top 25. To kick off the year, we will open up with what will be a highly ranked University of North Carolina team at home, giving us a great opportunity against a marquee program. We will stay in Tampa for the first seven weekends of the season, giving our fans plenty of opportunities to show their support." Bulls Will Be Tested Early With what might be one of the more challenging starts to a season in program history, the Bulls take on a pair of storied college baseball programs in the year's first four games. Opening day is set for Feb. 16, as USF welcomes UNC for a monstrous three-game series. This marks the fifth time in the last six seasons the Bulls are opening at home, but USF has never opened against an ACC constituent. Both sides last met in the Coral Gables Regional in 1995. Similar to 2017, USF's first road contest of the new campaign will be against a familiar foe in the fourth game. The Bulls battle Florida State in Tallahassee on Feb. 20. USF toppled the then-No. 3 Seminoles on the road last season, the first road win over FSU since 1987. Home Cooking The Bulls won 19 consecutive games in 2017 and 18 of those victories came at home. USF will again stay put for the first half of the season, as it does not leave the state of Florida until April. After the trip to FSU, the Bulls host Fordham Feb. 23-25.USF then travels to Daytona Beach for a Wednesday night tilt at Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 28. The Bulls return home for a four-game series against Columbia University (March 2-4). That Saturday is the only scheduled doubleheader for the Bulls in 2018. USF is at Jacksonville for another midweek road contest (March 7) before hosting Central Michigan for three games (March 9-11). USF baseball fans get a chance to see their home team in the first two midweek affairs in Tampa against FGCU (March 13) and Jacksonville (March 14). USF hosts its first military academy since 2006, when Army stations itself in Tampa for a three-game set (March 16-18). The Bulls and Black Knights have met on the diamond a total of 17 times. USF heads back to Jacksonville for a matchup with North Florida (March 20) before diving into league play. Pow6rful American Schedule The highly competitive American Athletic Conference had three teams in regionals a season ago (USF, UCF, Houston). The conference sent 26 players to the big leagues in June's MLB Draft, the most in The American's four-year history. The Bulls begin their quest for a conference title at home against UConn (March 23-25). USF hosts Stetson on Tuesday, March 27 before welcoming Tulane for a three-game set (March 29-31). The Bulls depart the sunshine state for the first time to begin April, as they make a trip to the defending conference champions Houston (April 6-8). Following a rematch with Stetson in DeLand on April 10, USF travels north for a three-game series at East Carolina (April 13-15). The Bulls are back in town for the final home stand of 2018 to close out the month. USF hosts North Florida (April 17) prior to the latest installment of baseball's War on I-4 (April 20-22). The Bulls took four of seven meetings in last year's rivalry series, which included a sweep of UCF in Tampa. USF takes on Bethune-Cookman (April 24), then hosts Memphis in the final home series of the regular season (April 27-29). The season resumes on May 8, when the Bulls begin an eight-game road trip spanning 12 days. The defending national champs Florida await USF for a Tuesday night clash in Gainesville. The Bulls defeated a fifth-ranked Gators team on the road on May 9 last season, 15-10. Following the trip to Gainesville, USF makes its first visit to the league's newest member Wichita State for a three-game set (May 11-13). The Bulls are at FGCU (May 15) and at Cincinnati (May 17-19) to conclude the regular season. "As always, the American Athletic Conference will be one of the premier conferences in college baseball and it was strengthened with the addition of Wichita State," said Mohl. "We look forward to competing each and every weekend against some to the top teams in the country. Our players have been hard at work and we look forward to seeing everyone compete this spring." Postseason Timeline The American Athletic Conference Championship returns to Spectrum Field in Clearwater May 22-27.The NCAA Regionals are set for June 1-4. The Super Regionals are June 8-10 and the College World Series is scheduled for June 16-27. 2018 Bulls at a Glance USF returns a wealth of talent in 2018, as 65 percent of the run production from a season ago is on this year's roster. Led by seven returning position starters, two of the weekend starting pitchers, the closer, a pair of all-conference honorees and an All-American, first-year head coach Mohl will have plenty at his disposal. As the architect behind a pitching staff that recorded more than 500 strikeouts in three-consecutive seasons and led the nation in strikeouts per nine innings in 2017, Mohl will lean on lefty Shane McClanahan (Cape Coral, Fla.), who finished eighth nationally with 12.32 strikeouts per nine innings a season ago. Also returning to the staff is redshirt senior righty and all-conference selection Peter Strzelecki (Lake Worth, Fla.), who finished second in The American with a 2.42 ERA. A veteran lineup, featuring seven returning starters, is highlighted by senior outfielder Duke Stunkel Jr.(Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.). Stunkel Jr. led the Bulls with 16 doubles, finished fifth in The American with a .344 average and scored 37 runs.
  22. GRAD TRANSFERS LEAD BULLS INTO FIVE-GAME HOME STAND December 10, 2017 MATCHUP: Florida International (4-4) at USF (4-5)DATE: Monday, Dec. 11TIME: 7 p.m.LOCATION: Sun DomeTV: ESPN3 (Drew Fellios, Mark Wise)RADIO: 820-AM | USF Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Joey Johnston)TWITTER UPDATES: @USFMBBTICKETS: USFBullsTix.comUSF GAME NOTESLIVE STATS By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior WriterTAMPA, DEC. 10, 2017 – Nine games in, USF's new leaders are looking to boost the Bulls during a crucial, five-game home stretch.USF (4-5) returns to the Sun Dome for the first time since Nov. 26 to host Florida International (4-4) on Monday at 7 p.m.Heading into the season, head coach Brian Gregory said he would lean heavily on USF's three new grad transfers for leadership and production. So far, Payton Banks, Stephan Jiggetts and Terrence Samuel are off to promising starts. Rest of story