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  1. Women's Basketball Adds Three Signees April 11, 2018 TAMPA, APRIL 11, 2018 – Coming off the team's sixth consecutive 20-win season and fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, USF women's basketball head coach Jose Fernandez and his staff announced the signing of three players as the NCAA signing period began on Wednesday. The Bulls signed 5-10 combo guard Sydni Harvey (Nashville, Tenn.), 5-11 shooting guard Makaela Kestner (Bealton, Va.) and 5-8 point guard Elisa Pinzan (Murano, Italy) to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The Bulls are expected to add additional signees as the period continues through May 16. "The class as a whole fits our needs," Fernandez said. "These are high character kids. They're excellent student-athletes that are going to represent our program and the University of South Florida in an unbelievable way." Read on
  2. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2G0VjD3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Laksa Breaks Record as Bulls' Special Season Ends in NCAA First Round By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TALLAHASSEE, Fla., MARCH 17, 2018 – Kitija Laksa set USF's new junior scoring record while one of the most successful seasons in Bulls women's basketball history ended in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday afternoon. No. 19/20 USF had an 11-point advantage in the second quarter but couldn't hold onto the lead in a 102-79 loss to Buffalo at the Tucker Civic Center. USF (26-8) made its fourth straight NCAA tournament trip and fell one victory short of matching the program's season wins record. Laksa set the new USF junior season scoring record of 717 points by pouring in a team-high 28 points. The Riga, Latvia native reached the second-highest point total in program season history by scoring 18 points and making three of her five three-pointers after the break. Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) posted the 30th double-double of her career, capping off her stellar senior season with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jespersen moved up to 10th place on USF's all-time scoring list with 1,462 points. Senior point guard Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) finished with nine points, three rebounds and three assists. Flores broke her own USF assists record with 217 this season. Sophomore forward Tamara Henshaw (Palm Coast, Fla.) gave the Bulls a big boost with six points and four rebounds before leaving the game midway through the second quarter with an injury. Henshaw returned after the break, finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. Back in Tallahassee for the second straight postseason, sixth-seeded USF had the momentum early before 11th-seeded Buffalo (28-5) stormed back to take a 43-38 lead into halftime. Making its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, poised USF built a 6-2 lead from long range with three-pointers by Laksa and Jespersen, who powered the offense early. The double-double machine was already up to 13 points and seven rebounds by the time the Bulls took a 20-11 lead into the second quarter. USF led by 11 early in the second quarter but had to deal with some adversity after Henshaw left the game with an injury midway through the period. Buffalo finished the quarter on a 20-7 run and scored 17 points off 10 USF turnovers in the opening half. Buffalo held a 17-point lead with less than three minutes left in the third quarter before USF heated up and went 8-for-8 from the field down the stretch. Laksa scored five straight points and later completed a three-point play to help the Bulls cut the Buffalo lead to 71-58 by the end of the period. Laksa ended up reaching the 20-point mark for the 18th time this season while Buffalo shot 57 percent from the field with 14 three-pointers in the victory. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez's thoughts on the game: "That first quarter, we came out of the media timeout and they went on a 5-0 run. We were up nine going into the second quarter and we didn't close the half. That run was huge, where they hit three threes in that final three and a half minutes. We needed to chip away at the tail end of that third quarter and going into the fourth. Everything went in that third quarter, they shoot 65 percent from the floor. It didn't give us an opportunity to get back into the game with how well they were shooting the ball." Fernandez on the performance by Buffalo: "Buffalo was really, really good. They were special tonight - 14 of 27 from the three-point and they shot close to 60 percent from the floor. That's was sports is all about in the NCAA tournament. You've got to give them credit. They played really, really well." Fernandez on his team continuing to battle: "I'm proud of our (players). We had a really good week of practice. We make no excuses, we got beat by a better team today. That's what sports is all about and that's what this tournament is all about. I think our kids battled, they fought, they played hard and they competed. But we ran into a team that was very, very good today from all facets." Fernandez on what the Bulls can take from this game going into next season with many returners: "We return our front line and Kit. We have a couple (players) sitting out that are really, really good. It's tough because Maria and Laia have meant so much to our program. We came up here last year and lost at the buzzer on a put-back. What you take away from it is, hey we've got to have a great offseason. We're going to have a great nonconference schedule in November and December. You've got to move forward." Key Stats 14 – Buffalo rallied past the Bulls while sinking 14 three-pointers. 25 – Buffalo scored 25 points off 16 USF turnovers. 38 – Despite the loss, USF controlled things inside with a 38-22 scoring advantage in the paint. 57.7 – Buffalo's shooting percentage in the second half. Notable USF finished one victory shy of the program season wins record of 27 set in 2008-09 and 2014-15. USF made its fifth NCAA tournament appearance in the past six seasons and the program's sixth overall trip. Kitija Laksa passed the 20-point mark for the 36th time in her career and the 18th time this season. Laksa's 28 points rank third on USF's NCAA tournament game scoring chart. Laksa's 717 points this season broke the USF junior scoring record that was previously held by Courtney Williams (710 points, 2014-15). Laksa's 717 points rank second on USF's all-time season scoring chart behind Williams' 763 points in 2015-16. Maria Jespersen posted the 30th double-double of her career and 18th of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jespersen and Laia Flores became USF's first graduating class to reach four NCAA tournaments and surpass 100 career wins in four seasons. 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).
  3. On March 25th both USF Club Basketball teams competed in the championship of the Swamp Shootout at UF. USF Men’s Club Basketball are your 2018 Swamp Shootout champions! With this victory, they have gained free entry into the NIRSA national tournament at the Ohio State University! USF Women’s Club Basketball did not win it all but played hard in the championship game against a tough Georgia Tech team. I wasn't there to watch. Just figured I'd share this cool news with the USF sports community. Go Bulls! https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=986660128153107&id=395210627298063
  4. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2G7qu0s AP Release: http://bit.ly/2pHirxa FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Jespersen Named AP All-America Honorable Mention Maria Jespersen became the second player in program history to receive the honor. TAMPA, MARCH 27, 2018 – The postseason accolades continue to pour in for Maria Jespersen as the senior was named an Associated Press (AP) All-America Honorable Mention, the organization announced Monday. Jespersen became the second player in program history to receive the honor. Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) was one of 23 student-athletes to be listed as honorable mentions. The AP all-america team consists of three teams, each with five players. Jespersen joins fellow American Athletic Conference senior Kia Nurse as an honorable mention. Jespersen joins Courtney Williams (’16), who was a two-time AP all-america honorable mention, as the only student-athletes in program history to be recognized by the AP as all-americans. The senior led The American with 18 double-doubles as a senior. Jespersen finished her her storied USF career as one of six players to surpass 1,000 points and 800 rebounds. In four seasons, Jespersen collected 1,462 points and 891 rebounds. The two-time American Athletic Conference first team selection finishes her career No. 10 on the all-time scoring list and her 891 rebounds rank No. 5 on the all-time list. Jespersen led the Bulls with 329 rebounds this season, which ranked No. 4 on the Bulls all-time season rebounds list. Jespersen is just the fourth player in program history to score 600 points in a season, joining all-time greats Courtney Williams (’16), Jessica Dikson (’07) and teammate Kitija Laksa. The senior led USF to four-straight NCAA tournament appearances and is a part of the first graduating class to collect over 100 wins. Jespersen was named The American’s Most Improved Player of the Year as a junior and was a two-time all-championship team selection.
  5. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2G7qu0s FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: March 26, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Laksa and Jespersen Named All-Region Nominees USF’s dynamic duo was recognized by the WBCA and are eligible for its All-America team TAMPA, MARCH 26, 2018 – University of South Florida’s dynamic duo of Kitija Laksa and Maria Jespersen were named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Region 3 team last week. The pair are two of 52 players now eligible for the 10-member WBCA All-America team. Laksa (Riga, Latvia) was a WBCA Honorable Mention last season and was an all-region selection a year ago. The pair are guaranteed to earn all-america honorable mention status by their selection to the all-region team. Laksa solidified her status as one of the greatest scorers in USF program history by netting 717 points as a junior. The total broke Courtney William’s junior class record of 710 points set in the 2014-15 season. Laksa’s 717 points is the second highest single-season point total in program history. Laksa has now amassed 1,715 points in three years which rank sixth in the all-time scoring list. The shooting guard will enter her senior season 58 points shy of becoming one of the top-5 scorers in program history. Laksa set a new standard of precision from the free-throw line. She shot 96.5 percent from the charity stripe and only missed four attempts the entire year. The junior finished the year with 126 three-point field goals, just three shy of the NCAA record set last year. Jespersen finished her storied USF career as one of six players to surpass 1,000 points and 800 rebounds. The forward led the Bulls with 329 rebounds, which ranked No. 4 on the Bulls all-time rebounding list. The senior led USF to four-straight NCAA tournament appearances and is a part of the first graduating class to collect over 100 wins. Jespersen led The American with 18 double-doubles as a senior. 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).
  6. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2DjvAQR NCAA Interactive Bracket FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: March 12, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Return to Tallahassee for NCAA First Round USF was given a six-seed in the Albany Region and will face 11-seed Buffalo Saturday. TAMPA, MARCH 12, 2018 – The USF women’s basketball team is no stranger to the six-11 match-up in the NCAA Tournament. For the fourth consecutive season, the Bulls will play in the six-11 pairing in the NCAA First Round. The Bulls return to Tallahassee, Fla. this weekend. The sixth-seeded Bulls will face Buffalo Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Seniors Maria Jespersen and Laia Flores became the program’s first graduating senior class to make four trips to the NCAA Tournament Monday night. The Bulls will face Buffalo in the second game of the Tallahassee pod. The game will tip at 1:30 p.m. and will be televised regionally on ESPN2. Third-seeded Florida State will play host to the first and second rounds and the Seminoles will face 14-seed Little Rock at 11 a.m. at the Tucker Center. Ticket Info Tickets for Saturday's game will be available when the NCAA and host institution Florida State release ticket details, including price, purchasing locations and procedures. On Tuesday, March 14, USF season ticket members and Bulls Club donors will receive an email with detailed information about how to request tickets. The Tournament · Florida State will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Donald L. Tucker Center (Capacity: 12,100). · Host and three-seed Florida State (25-6) will face Little Rock (23-9). Florida State lost in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, 90-80, to Notre Dame. Little Rock earned one of 32 automatic bids as the Sun Belt Champions. Buffalo lost in the MAC Tournament Championship to Central Michigan. · American Athletic Conference foe, UConn, is again the overall No. 1 seed of the tournament and the Albany Region. Mississippi State is the No. 1 seed of the Kansas City Region and Notre Dame is the No. 1 seed in the Spokane Region. Louisville is the No. 1 seed in Lexington Region. · The first round of the NCAA Tournament will be played on March 16 & 18. The second round will be played March 17 & 19. The Regionals will be played March 23-26. The Final Four will take place March 30-April 1 in Columbus, Ohio. Notables The Bulls are making their fifth tournament appearance in the last six seasons and the program's sixth overall trip. This is the fourth consecutive year USF will make an NCAA appearance. USF will play in the 6/11 match-up for the fourth consecutive year and are 2-1 in its previous first round appearances of the match-up. The Bulls were seeded sixth in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and seeded 11th in 2016-17. USF defeated 11-seed Colorado State 48-45 in 2016 and LSU 73-64 in 2015. The Bulls finished the regular season with 24 wins, the most in program history. USF tacked on two more wins in the American Athletic Conference Tournament and is one win away from tying the program’s highest win total in history (27). Previously, USF has been seeded as highly as a six-seed and as low as an 11-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulls were a nine-seed in their first ever NCAA appearance in 2006 and a 10-seed in 2013. 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).
  7. WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SET FOR SELECTION MONDAY March 08, 2018 TAMPA, MARCH 8, 2018 – The USF women's basketball team will host an NCAA Tournament selection party Monday starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Fifth Third Bank Club at the Sun Dome Monday. Fans are invited to join the Bulls and watch the madness unfold live on ESPN's exclusive live announcement of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field. Fans will have the opportunity to mingle with the student-athletes and coaching staff before settling in to see who the Bulls will face in the first and second rounds. Coach Fernandez will address the crowd after USF is selected and talk about potential matchups in the tournament. Light refreshments will be available prior to the start of the show. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and fans and media can enter through Gate C with no admission cost. The 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship bracket will be announced Monday on ESPN at 7 p.m. USF (27-7) is a candidate to host first- and second-round games March 16-19 at the Sun Dome. The Bulls are fresh off their fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference Championship final. USF will make its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and play in its fifth tournament in six seasons.About USF Women's BasketballTo stay up-to-date on the latest USF women's basketball news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).
  8. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2018 WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2tq0Y0G Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Hang Tough With Huskies in AAC Championship Game Loss USF made its fourth straight title game appearance and battled UConn to the end of a 70-54 loss on Tuesday. By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer UNCASVILLE, Conn., MARCH 6, 2018 – No. 19 USF turns its attention to the NCAA tournament after falling to No. 1 UConn, 70-54, in the American Athletic Conference tournament championship game Tuesday at Mohegan Sun Arena. Second-seeded USF (26-7) appeared in its fourth consecutive AAC tournament title game and trailed by only four after the first quarter. The Bulls were within one, but a three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Huskies a four-point cushion. Conference coach of the year Jose Fernandez's Bulls finished strong by outscoring the Huskies, 22-15, in the fourth quarter. UConn (32-0) captured its fifth straight American Athletic Conference tournament title with its 15th consecutive league postseason game victory. USF became only the fourth opponent to limit UConn's margin of victory to 16 points or fewer this season. Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) scored 21 of her game-high 26 points after the break and made program history in the process. The junior sharpshooter sank five shots from long range and set USF's new season record with 121 three-pointers. Senior Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) posted nine points and a game-high nine rebounds to help USF finish with a 34-32 advantage on the boards. Jespersen powered the Bulls with all nine of her points in the first half that saw the Huskies build a 37-23 lead thanks to a big run in the second quarter. Facing UConn for the third time this season, USF showed lots of fight early and found itself down just 21-17 after the first quarter. The Bulls shot 57 percent in the opening period and were in a one-point game before a buzzer-beating three-pointer by UConn's Kia Nurse. Jespersen knocked down four of her first seven shots and the senior's three-pointer cut the deficit to 23-20 early in the second quarter. USF's offense cooled off afterward while UConnclosed the second quarter on a 14-3 run. USF scored the first four points after the break to drop the UConn lead to 10, but UConnquickly gained more distance with a 7-0 run and took a 55-32 advantage into the final period.Laksa made program history in the third quarter with her USF season record 118th three-pointer to reach double-digit scoring figures for the 31sttime this season. Laksa stayed locked in during the fourth quarter, when she poured in 16 points to reach the 20-point mark for the 17th time this season. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez on the Bulls' solid comeback effort in the fourth quarter and their season effort being worthy of earning a bid to host NCAA tournament games: "I was proud of our group in that fourth quarter with the way that we battled and we made shots. We continued to claw at the lead. There's a reason why they're undefeated and who they are, but I think we showed everybody in the country how good we are as well, and how well we're playing right now. (I think that shows) we deserve to be a host and one of the top four seeds, and continue to play basketball in the first two rounds in Tampa. Four of our losses have come with three to Connecticut and one to Notre Dame. I think we've done our part. We scheduled in the nonconference and I think we're playing our best basketball right now." Key Stats 17 – UConn scored 17 points off 14 USF turnovers. 16 – USF became one of only four UConnopponents to limit the Huskies' margin of victory to 16 points or fewer this season. 15 – UConn held the Bulls to 15 points in the second and third quarters, which helped the Huskies take a 55-32 lead into the final period. 1-for-11 – USF was in a three-point game in the second quarter before going 1-for-11 from the field the rest of the period while UConn went on a 14-3 run. Notable USF remains one victory away from matching the program season record of 27 wins (2008-09, 2014-15). Kitija Laksa and Maria Jespersen were named to the American Athletic Conference all-tournament team. Laksa set USF's new season three-pointer record (121) after knocking down five shots from long range against UConn. Janae Stokes set the previous record with 117 three-pointers in 2008-09. Laksa also moved up to third on USF's season scoring list with 689 points. Jespersen moved up to sixth on USF's season rebounds list (318) after posting a game-high nine boards against the Huskies. USF checked in at No. 19 in both the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll this week. View the complete top-25 rankings HERE. Up Next The NCAA tournament bracket will be revealed during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. (TV: ESPN). The first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament take place Friday, March 16 and Monday, March 19. Get more tournament infoHERE. 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. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: March 4, 2018 WEB LINK: bit.ly/2oQ3B63 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Power Past ECU, 80-44, in Conference Quarterfinals USF dominated ECU and punched its ticket to the AAC semis for the fifth straight season. By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer UNCASVILLE, Conn., MARCH 4, 2018 – Second-seeded USF punched its ticket to the American Athletic Conference semifinals for the fifth straight season by powering past seventh-seeded East Carolina, 80-44, Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena. No. 20/19 USF (25-6, 14-3 in AAC) reached 25 wins for just the third time in school history after posting the program's most lopsided victory in AAC tournament history. ECU (16-15) shot just 31 percent from the field and was limited to 22 points in each half (11 in each quarter). First team all-conference selection Maria Jerspersen (Arhus, Denmark) led the way with a game-high 23 points and went 8-for-16 from the field while USF shot 53 percent overall. Sharp-shooting junior Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) knocked down five of USF's nine three-pointers and the first team all-conference pick finished with 21 points in her 15th 20-point performance of the season. Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal) was a force all over the court with 10 points, three steals, two blocks, two assists and 11 rebounds to help the Bulls rule the boards by a 49-27 margin. Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) posted six points, eight rebounds and dished out a game-high nine assists. The point guard now has 203 assists as a senior after previously setting the USF season record with 200 in 2016-17. USF's stars shined from the start with Laksa and Jespersen combining for 25 points to help the Bulls take a 34-22 halftime lead in the locker room. USF set the tone early with a 9-2 run to open the game and 10 points from Laksa boosted the Bulls to a 17-11 lead by the end of the first quarter. The conference's scholar-athlete of the year sank a trio of three-pointers and led all players with 13 points in the first half of her 29thdouble-digit scoring game this season. Jespersen heated up with eight points in the second quarter and headed in the half with 12 points after going 5-for-10 from the field. USF shot 50 percent in the second quarter and 44 percent overall in the first half after starting with a 16-8 scoring advantage in the paint. Firing on all cylinders, USF pumped its lead up to 60-33 after closing the third quarter on a 20-6 run. The Bulls shot 59 percent in the period while outscoring ECU, 26-11, and some notable school history was made in the process. Flores broke her own school record of 200 assists with five assists in the third quarter. Ferreira became the third Bull to jump into double-digit scoring figures in USF's 20-point fourth quarter. Sophomore Tamara Henshaw (Palm Coast, Fla.) ended up scoring nine of USF's 13 bench points and matched her season high with 10 rebounds. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez on USF's ability to run away from ECU in the second half: "That first half, I wasn't very pleased. We turned it over nine times and we were shooting 44 percent from the floor in that first half. I just told our guys, 'We've got to do a much better job taking care of it.' Defensively, they only had 22 at the half and then that third quarter, we really got out and ran. Our wings sprinted and we got some really good rim runs." Fernandez on Laia Flores dishing out a game-high nine assists: "Laia sets the table for us. I think she doesn't get the recognition in this country on the job that she does. A lot of people look at how many points, how many rebounds, but she just finds people. When our wings run and our posts rim run, she does a great job of getting the ball where the ball needs to get to. I thought in transition, that third quarter was fun to watch." Fernandez on the keys to success against UCF in Monday's semifinal matchup: "Live-ball turnovers, that's the biggest thing. We know that they're going to press us 1-2-2. They're going to run and jump, we're going to see 2-2-1 and then they're going to play in that 3-2 zone. We've got to do a great job taking care of the basketball, valuing the ball, meaning passes. We can't just be a one-shot-and-out team. We've got to get stuff off the glass against that zone tomorrow." Key Stats 49 – The Bulls grabbed 49 rebounds compared to ECU's 27. 38 – USF dominated in points in the paint by a 38-18 margin. 36:22 – USF's total timing leading ECU. 19 – USF tallied assists on 19 of 30 total field goals. Notable USF improved to 5-0 all-time in quarterfinal games at American Athletic Conference Championship. USF is two victories away from matching the program season record of 27 wins (2008-09, 2014-15). With five boards against ECU, Maria Jespersen moved into a tie for fifth on USF's all-time rebounding chart. Jespersen and Jessica Lawson (2007-10) have each posted 863 rebounds with the Bulls. Kitija Laksa is now five three-pointers away from matching Janae Stokes' school season record of 117 set in 2008-09. Laia Flores now has 505 career assists, good for second on USF's all-time list, after passing the 200-assist mark for the second straight season. USF has won 10 of its past 11 games after taking a nine-game winning streak in the regular season finale. Up Next USF will face third third-seeded UCF in the semifinals 4:30 p.m. Monday at Mohegan Sun Arena (TV: ESPNU). The Bulls will be looking to book a trip to the championship game for the fourth consecutive season. USF took both games against the rival Knights in the War on I-4 series this regular season. 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).
  10. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2BVcaVF FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Feb. 27, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Laksa Recognized as Final Five for National Award Junior Kitija Laksa is one of five finalists for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award TAMPA, FEB. 27, 2018 – It’s been a historical season for junior Kitija Laksa. Already one of the most prolific scorers in program history, Laksa has been named one of the five finalists for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Tuesday. In its inaugural year, the annual award recognizes the top shooting guard in the country. A national committee of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers narrowed the original award watch list of 20 players to 10 candidates and now just five finalists. In March, the five finalists will be presented to Ms. Drysdale and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans are encouraged to visit www.HoophallAwards.com to cast their votes March 2-23. Laksa (Riga, Latvia) leads The American with 622 points this season. Entering the postseason, the junior is chasing Courtney Williams’ junior class record of 710 points. Laksa netted an NCAA record 11 consecutive three-pointers and is one of a handful of players in Division I to collect over 100 three-point field goals this season. Laksa’s 107 three-point field goals is 22 shy of the NCAA single season record of 129 treys in a season. “I think it is wonderful that the Basketball Hall of Fame and the WBCA have created positional awards to recognize elite female players in the college game today,” Ann Meyers Drysdale said. “I look forward to watching these five finalists compete as they head into the postseason and elevate their games to help their teams advance.” Laksa is the only player in the NCAA this season to score 40-plus points on two separate occasions. The guard has turned in five 30-point games and has led the team in scoring on 16 different occasstions. Laksa leads all divisions, men or women, with a 96.3 free throw percentage. The five finalists for the 2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award are Katie Lou Samuelson (Connecticut), Asia Durr (Louisville), Victoria Vivians(Mississippi St.), Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame), and Kitija Laksa(South Florida). The winner of the 2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award will be announced during ESPN2’s telecast of the national semifinal games in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 30. The award will then be presented to the student-athlete on Saturday, March 31 at a new awards reception presented by the Basketball Hall of Fame and the WBCA and held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Each award will be presented by its respective Hall of Famer making this brunch a star-studded event. 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).
  11. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Feb. 25, 2018 WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2HITU1Y Bulls End Regular Season at No. 1 UConn Matchup: 18/17 USF (24-5, 13-2) vs. 1/1 UConn (28-0, 15-0) Date: Monday, Feb. 26 Time: 7:00 p.m. Location: Storrs, Conn. | Gampbel Pavilion Watch: ESPN2 Radio: AM 1040 | BullsUnlimited (Darek Sharp) Follow: Listen | Live Stats | Twitter TAMPA, FEB. 25, 2018 – No. 17 USF will face No. 1 UConn Monday night in front of a national audience. The Bulls will play their fourth top-15 team in their regular season finale on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. The Bulls (24-5, 13-2 The American) enter Monday’s match-up fresh off their ninth-straight win. USF disposed of Cincinnati, 84-65, in its 24th win this season. The Bulls matched their win totals of the last two seasons. The most wins recorded in program history is 27. Only two teams in program history have recorded 25 wins in a single season. USF’s senior class of Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) and Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) had career games in their last outing at the Sun Dome. Jespersen collected her 13th 20-point outing this season with a game-high 26 points. Jespersen leads the team in scoring in The American with 20.3 points per game. The forward’s 17 double-doubles rank eighth in NCAA Division I. Flores recorded her seventh 10-plus assists game with a season high 12 assists. Flores ranks fourth in the country with a 3.80 assist turnover ratio and her 190 assists lead the league and rank tenth among the nation’s best. Flores is 10 assists away from tying the Bulls’ single season record which the senior set last season. THE OPPONENT UConn (28-0, 13-0 The American) remains unbeaten and claimed The American regular season title with an 80-36 victory at SMU Sunday. The Huskies average 90.5 points per game and lead the county in field goal percentage, shooting at a 53.4 clip. The Bulls and Huskies will meet for the 25th time in program history. The pair first met in 2002 and UConn has never lost to USF. The pair last met in Tampa on Jan. 6 and won 100-49. NOTABLES No matter the outcome, the Bulls final record in the league will be the best in program history. USF’s best finish in The American is 15-3 (.833) in 2014-15. The American shifted to a 16-game schedule in 2016-17 season and the Bulls finished 11-5 (.688). Kitija Laksa leads the conference with 21.0 points per game. The junior is one of 10 players with at least 100 three-point field goals this season. The junior’s 105 treys rank sixth in Division I. Laksa continues to lead the country in free throw percentage. Laksa has converted 101-of-104 free throw attempts. Laksa’s 97 free throw percentage is the best of any division, men or women. The senior duo of Maria Jespersen and Laia Flores are one win away from 100-career victories. The pair are already the winningest class in program history. Jespersen has a league-best 17 double-doubles this season. Flores leads the league in three different categories: assist-turnover ratio (3.80), assists (190) and assists per game (6.6). She ranks in the top 20 nationally in all three categories. Throughout the month of February, the Bulls will compete in a national fundraiser for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. For every free throw made, fans can pledge funds toward the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The Bulls current free throw tally is 132 made free throws. USF is currently No. 18 in the AP poll and is No. 17 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 the coaches’ poll every week and has received votes in every AP Poll. The program’s highest ranking in both polls was in 2016, when the Bulls were ranked No. 15 (AP – Jan. 18 | Coaches – Jan. 19). To stay up-to-date on the latest USF women’s basketball news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).
  12. One of my fav times of the year, hiking season in Florida is in full swing, the smell of spring training in the air, the clink of aluminum as Bulls baseball furiously tries to find a way in our football laden hearts. And of course tourney time. The fake season is over, this is the only season that matter, one and done, 700+ teams clawing, fighting, scrapping their way to the final. Most teams know they dont have a chance, they are just fighting to get to the finals or semis or quarters int heir own conference tournament, they are just trying to get to the next game. But whether there's a chance or not everyone is still alive, unless, of course, you are in one of those conferences that actually think the regular season means something and does not allow every conference team in the tournament then you're done, but everyone else is still alive. .even you USF Mens Team! And don't think I am jumping the gun, there are conferences that start today, yep, womens ASun starts today and there are more that start tomorrow including mens A10, the next day is Womens b12 and mens acc. So wake up, its all starting. As far as the big dance goes, my predictions below. USF women a high 5. I think the game tonight is much bigger for USF than to UConn, a possible trap game? UConn at home, #1 seed sown up, everything going dreamy, could USF steal a victory? Maybe? No? What? No chance in hell? Ok, ok, well a loss here can't hurt our ladies so maybe they keep it close? Maybe? No? What? No chance in hell? Shoot. Well maybe God will intercede. Go Bulls! BTW, in an earlier post someone mentioned Temple could make the big dance? Unless they win the tourney, not this year. I have them first out IF the top 68 went but their are 14 conf champions that are going to go that are ranked outside the top 68 so for Temple to make the dance they would need to move up 15 spots to get an at-large. And if they are going to move up that much they need to win the tournament and then they go as an auto-bid. Just my 2 cents. Have fun with the tourneys this week! Talk to you next Monday! Someone may notice Oregon St is in Green below, that is an error which needs correcting, someone on the staff will be losing their job.
  13. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2018 WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2CBukIN Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Clinch No. 2 seed in The American tournament, defeat Houston In a dramatic first half, USF used a 17-0 run to dispose of Houston at the Sun Dome TAMPA, FEB. 21, 2018 – No. 17 USF defeated Houston, 81-65, Wednesday night and clinched the No. 2 seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. The Bulls utilized a suffocating 17-0 run at the end of the first half to spark their third 80-point outing in six games. USF (23-5, 12-2 The American) took the first quarter to adjust to a wild Cougars (20-8, 9-5) team. Down five at the end of the first quarter, the Bulls went to work. USF chipped away at a Houston lead of 10 points and a jumper byKitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) sparked a burst of offense in the final three minutes of the half. The Bulls made three of their five first-half three-pointers in the final minutes and carried a 42-33 lead into the break. The hot-streak extended into the second half, as USF stretched its run to 21-0, forcing a Houston timeout. The Bulls never looked back. Laksa finished with 32 points while Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) added 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jespersen collected her 16th double-double of the season in the first 20 minutes with 13 points and 11 boards. Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) distributed 11 of the team’s 16 assists and added seven points and five rebounds. The senior only committed two turnovers. Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal) remained constant in her defensive prowess and collected nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. The redshirt-junior also added five points and four assists. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez's thoughts on Houston: “Give credit to Houston, they are a tough team to prepare for. Everything they do on the defensive end: jump between man-to-man, 1-2-2 zone, corner court, trapping in the half court, they make you do things you’re not used to seeing in practice. It’s hard to mimic that many variations. I thought we needed to do a great job of keeping them in front of us and defending the arc.” Head coach Jose Fernandez's keys to the game: We told our team, we need to play through their physicality and play through fouls. Houston averages 24-25 fouls per game. We had to meet passes and play through that physicality. We closed the half and came out into the first three, four minutes of the third quarter, that was good to see. Us getting to the line and making our free throws was huge.” Key Stats 45 – The Bulls out-rebounded Houston 45-36. 27 – USF converted 27-of-31 free throw attempts. 26 – The Bulls scored 26 points in the paint and limited Houston to just 18. Notable Jespersen’s 16 double-doubles lead The American and the senior has recorded a #DenmarkDouble in each of the Bulls last four games. Jespersen has turned in double-double performances in 8 of her last 10 outings. Laksa has scored 30-points in back-to-back games for the first time in her career. The junior has collected 12, 30-point performances in her three years, including five this season. Flores’ 11 assists are a season high, which she has reached five times this season. The Bulls are 12-1 at home this season, including a 6-1 record at home in The American. Since 2014, the Bulls are 50-9 at the Sun Dome. USF boasts a 27-6 all-time record in The American at the Dome. USF has outrebounded its opponents in its last eight outings.
  14. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Feb. 23, 2018 WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2EMHzMp Bulls to Honor Trailblazing Seniors on Saturday MATCHUP: Cincinnati (17-10, 9-5) at No. 17 USF (23-5, 12-2) DATE/TIME: Saturday, Feb. 24/5 p.m. LOCATION: Sun Dome WATCH ONLINE: BullsVision RADIO: 1040-AM, Bulls Unlimited FOLLOW: Stats | Twitter TICKETS: USFBullsTix.com By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TAMPA, FEB. 23, 2018 – The Sun Dome is the place to be on Saturday to watch the most successful senior class in USF women's basketball history possibly suit up at home for the final time. Get to your seats early to see the program honor Maria Jespersen and Laia Flores prior to the Bulls' 5 p.m. regular season home finale against Cincinnati. "Our program wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for having those two quality young ladies that have been so successful in the classroom, in the community and on the basketball court," head coach Jose Fernandez said. Since heading to USF from Denmark and Spain, Jespersen and Flores have helped build the 17th-ranked program into a winning force on the national scene. They're on pace to become the first-ever class in USF history to make four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and another huge feat is on the horizon. Beating the Bearcats on Saturday would give this senior class 99 career victories, which would mark a new milestone in USF history. "We just have to go get the win," Jespersen said. Jespersen played an increasing role in USF's success the past three seasons and she's put it all together as a senior. The fantastic forward from Arhus, Denmark leads the conference with 16 double-doubles this season and she's close to a double-double average with 18.3 points and a conference-leading 9.8 rebounds per game. Jespersen needs 28 more rebounds to move into a tie for fifth on USF's career chart with Jessica Lawson (863) and she'll be ready to crash the boards on a bittersweet Saturday at the Sun Dome. "It's going to be really emotional. I've been so happy playing here for four years," Jespersen said. "The atmosphere in the arena is amazing and it's going to be hard to know that (it could be) the last time we play in that gym." Like Jespersen, Flores has given Bulls fans a ton to cheer about during her run at the Sun Dome. Using her smooth dribbling skills and laser court vision, the productive point guard set USF's season assists record with 200 in 2016-17. Flores is 22 more dishes away from stacking up her second straight 200-assist season and she's handed out the ball with care as a senior, ranking fourth nationally with an assist-turnover ratio of plus-3.79. The Mataro, Spain native leads the conference with 6.4 assists per game and Flores is primed for another an impressive performance Saturday with her parents, Francesc and Margarita, in attendance. "I'm really excited," Flores said. "It's kind of emotional after four years here at USF. I've been through a lot and I'm definitely going to miss it." Fernandez describes his upcoming fond USF farewell to Jespersen and Flores as "tough," but he'll always have a place in his heart for these two unforgettable Bulls. "When you talk to both of them, they'll tell you this was their dream – to come to the United States, go to school, learn a new culture and play basketball at the highest level," Fernandez said. "It's great to hear that they talk about their friendships, what they've learned and how they've grown. They were totally different when they arrived here. They came in as young girls and now they're leaving as grown women, and that's great to see." Notable • TOP-25 BULLS: USF is up No. 17 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll and ranks No. 18 in the AP Top 25. • HOME SUCCESS: With a win on Saturday, USF would post only the program's second one-loss season home stand. The Bulls are 11-1 at home this season and went 15-1 at the Sun Dome in 2015-16. • LAKSA FROM LONG RANGE: Junior sharpshooter Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) has matched her own single-season high of 101 made three-pointers. Laksa is one of only six players nationally to make more than 100 and she needs only 16 more to tie Janae Stokes for the USF season record of 117 set in 2008-09. The NCAA season three-pointer record is 124.
  15. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: February 24, 2018 WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2HJWEMz Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Seniors Shine in Final Home Game Maria Jespersen and Laia Flores became the winningest class in program history in an 84-65 victory over Cincinnati. TAMPA, FEB. 24, 2018 – With an 84-65 victory over Cincinnati Sunday, seniors Maria Jespersen and Laia Flores became the winningest class in program history. The seniors collected win number 99 in front of a crowd of over 2,500 fans at the Sun Dome. USF (24-5, 13-2 The American) utilized all nine players on their active roster but the two seniors shined brighter than ever. Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) scored 26 points and grabbed a season high 16 rebounds. The double-double outing marked her 17th this season. Jespersen shot 50 percent from the floor and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Flores (Mataro, Spain), known for her flashy passing, dished out a new season high, 12 assists. The point guard also added two blocks and two steals. USF held Cincinnati (17-11, 9-6) to 15 points in each of the first three quarters and held its tenth team in the last 11 games to just 65 points. The Bulls had four players in double figures. Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) turned in 22 while Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal) just missed a double-double with 12 points and eight assists. Alyssa Rader (Thornton, Colo.) added 14 points. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez's the seniors’ finale: “For those two seniors, it’s been an emotional week. For what they’ve meant to our program, not only as teammates but as people and as student-athletes at the University of South Florida, we’re going to miss them. Maria had 26 points and 16 rebounds and Laia having 12 assists, hopefully this isn’t the last game we play in the Sun Dome this season. They’ve’ been really, really special to this program and this university. Key Stats 21 – The Bulls had a balanced offense with 21 assists on 26 field goals. 36 – USF out-rebounded Cincinnati 36-27. Notable Jespersen’s 17 double-doubles leads The American and the senior has recorded a #DenmarkDouble in each of the Bulls last five games. Jespersen has turned in double-double performances in 9 of her last 11 outings. Flores’ 12 assists are a season high and the senior has recorded 10-plus assists on seven different occasions this year. The Bulls are 13-1 at home this season, including a 7-1 record at home in The American. Since 2014, the Bulls are 51-9 at the Sun Dome. USF boasts a 28-6 all-time record in The American at the Dome. USF has out-rebounded its opponents in its last eight outings. Up Next The Bulls travel to Storrs for their regular season finale at UConn. USF will face the No. 1 team for the second time this season. The game is set for 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN2 for “Big Monday.”
  16. Brad

    38 years

    NO. 21 BULLS FACE UCF IN WAR ON I-4 FINALE Matchup: 22/21USF (21-5, 10-2 The American) at UCF (17-8, 9-3 The American)Date: Sunday, Feb. 18Time: 12:00 p.m.Location: Orlando, Fla. | CFE ArenaWatch: CBS Sports NetworkRadio: AM 1040 (Darek Sharp | Brigid Merenda)Follow: Listen | Live Stats | TwitterTAMPA, FEB. 17, 2018 – It's been 38 years since the USF women's basketball team has lost to its cross-state rival on the road. In fact, the Bulls have only lost to the Knights eight times in Orlando since their first meeting in 1973. All eight losses came before 1980. On Sunday, the Bulls look to tally another victory, this time fighting for the remaining three points in the War on I-4 rivalry series. Rest of Story
  17. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: February 18, 2018 WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2EBpKjp Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Claim All Six Points in War on I-4, Down UCF 77-68 No. 22/21 USF defeats UCF 77-68 in overtime thriller. ORLANDO, FEB. 18, 2018 – Kitija Laksa and Maria Jespersen combined for 53 points Sunday in an overtime thriller at UCF. The Bulls swept the series against the Knights after a 77-68 win at CFE Arena. USF claimed all six points in the War on I-4 series. USF (22-5, 11-2 The American) clinched its seventh straight victory in dramatic fashion. The Bulls gained a two-game cushion over third place UCF (17-9, 9-4 The American) in American Athletic Conference standings. With under two minutes remaining in regulation, Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) sunk a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 57. In the next possession, Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) gave the Bulls a three-point lead, their first since UCF went on an 11-0 run earlier in the quarter. The Knights tied the game with 11 seconds left, forcing the Bulls’ into overtime. The extra period belonged to the Bulls. USF shot 60 percent from the floor and 50 percent from long range in final five minutes. Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) scored five of her eight points in overtime, including a dagger with one minute to play. Laksa finished with a game-high 32 points and Jespersen followed with 21. Jespersen grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds in her 15th double-double this season. Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal) had a solid outing with eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Key Stats 15 – USF scored 15 points in overtime and held UCF to just six points. 3 – The Bulls defense forced three UCF turnovers in overtime. Notable • The Bulls have won seven-straight games, their longest streak of the year. • USF remains perfect against the Knights in Orlando since 1980. The Bulls improved their series record to 27-9. USF has won 21 of the last 22 meetings. • Kitija Laksa has netted four 30-point outings this season, 11 in her career. • USF improved to 8-2 on the road this season. • USF has outrebounded its opponents in its last seven outings. Up Next USF will return to the Sun Dome Wednesday when it hosts Houston at 7 p.m.
  18. Not in order of start time SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH, 2018 MEN'S GOLF AT SUNTRUST GATOR INVITATIONAL GAINESVILLE, FL WOMEN'S SAILING VS USF WOMEN'S INTERCONFERENCE ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. PREVIEW WOMEN'S TENNIS NOON AT SMU DALLAS, TEXAS PREVIEW WOMEN'S BASKETBALL 12:00 PM CBS SPORTS NETWORK AM 1040 AT UCF ORLANDO, FLA. LIVE AUDIO TICKETS PREVIEW SOFTBALL 1:30 P.M. VS MISSOURI CLEARWATER, FLA. LIVE STATS PREVIEW MEN'S BASKETBALL 3:00 PM ESPN3 AM 820 / USF BULLS UNLIMITED AT TULSA TULSA, OK LIVE AUDIO LIVE STATS TICKETS PREVIEW BASEBALL 12:00 PM VS #6 UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA TAMPA, FLA. LIVE VIDEO LIVE STATS TICKETS PREVIEW
  19. Game Recap: Women's Basketball | February 14, 2018 Bulls Recognize Cancer Survivors in Play4Kay Win TAMPA, FEB. 14, 2018 – The USF Sun Dome was full of pink on Valentine's Day as the No. 22/21 Bulls honored breast cancer survivors in their annual Play4Kay pink game. Prior to USF's 64-54 route of SMU, seven brave women joined the starting line-ups in an emotional stand against the disease that affects millions. Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) led the Bulls' offense with 28 points and added 10 rebounds in her 14th double-double this season. Jespersen shot 50 percent from long range and finished 8-of-19 from the floor. The forward filled her stat line with four assists, two blocks, one steal and didn't tally a single turnover. The Bulls (21-5, 10-2 The American) recovered from a slow start in the first half with a 23-point third quarter. USF stretched its lead to 16-points at the end of the frame, its largest lead of the game. Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half. USF never trailed the Mustangs (10-16, 4-9 The American) and fended off a late rally in the final minutes of the game. SMU outscored the Bulls, 23-19 in the fourth quarter. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez's thoughts on the Bulls' defense: Rest of story
  20. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: February 11, 2018 WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2Bpc1JT Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Bulls Overpower No. 13 Ohio State to Reach 20 Wins By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TAMPA, FEB. 11, 2018 – No. 22 USF reached its sixth consecutive 20-win season in remarkable fashion by overpowering No. 13 Ohio State, 84-65, before a rocking crowd of 2,852 at the Sun Dome on Sunday. Kitija Laksa matched The American's single-game record with career-high 41 points to lead charge in the Bulls' first victory over a top-15 team since defeating Louisville in Kentucky on Feb. 20, 2013. The junior sharp-shooter from Riga, Latvia knocked down eight of USF's 11 three-pointers in her second 40-point outing of the season. Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) also shined in USF's fifth straight win by securing her 13th double-double of the season with 20 points and a season-high 14 rebounds to help the Bulls (20-5) rule the boards by a 46-26 margin. Senior point guard Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) grabbed eight rebounds and matched a season high by dishing out 11 of USF's 19 total assists. Freshman Alba Prieto (Seville, Spain) scored eight points in 11 minutes to help the Bulls finish with a 14-2 edge in bench points. Dominating in all aspects of the game, USF electrified the Sun Dome from the start, a three-pointer by Laksa, on the way to a 46-32 halftime lead. The Bulls exploded out of the gates and used a 15-1 run over the final four minutes of the first quarter to grab a 31-13 advantage. Laksa scored 18 of her 23 first-half points in the opening quarter and went 4-for-6 from long range in the first two periods. Jespersen also started in a groove with nine points and seven rebounds, as the Bulls opened with a 28-11 advantage on the boards. Prieto gave the Bulls a big lift in the second quarter, scoring all eight of her points during the period with a pair of three-pointers. Up by 18 after the third, USF led by as many as 28 points in the final quarter and used a relentless effort on the defensive end to seal the deal. Ohio State (20-6) came into the Sun Dome ranking third nationally in scoring offense before being held well below its 86.2 points per game average. Laura Ferreira's stellar defensive effort helped limit OSU star Kelsey Mitchell to nine first-half points. Mitchell, the nation's third-leading scorer, finished with 19 points a game after pouring in 28 against Rutgers. Quotable Head coach Jose Fernandez's thoughts on the Bulls' big win: "That was a great atmosphere here in the Dome. I'm really proud of our group, the way that we shared it. I know Kit had a special day, and having Maria and Kit shoot the ball as they did. I thought the biggest thing we wanted to do was rebound collectively, hold them to one shot, and try and get out and run and score in transition. That was the biggest thing for us… I'm really proud of our guys. I think it was a great game for women's basketball and national TV as well." Fernandez on Kitija Laksa's performance: "She's a special player. When she's in a zone, she's just as good as any scorer, shooter in the country. The big thing is she got really good looks. A lot of her looks were open looks and she knocked them down." Maria Jespersen on the statement USF made with the victory and Laura Ferreira's defensive contributions: "I think it shows what we're capable of. I think everybody on the team did their part today. Laura Ferreira today, we don't win without her. Her defense was tremendous. She does this every day for us, but today she had to go up against Mitchell. She just does a phenomenal job and she should get a lot of credit for this game, this win." Key Stats 46 – USF kept an Ohio State comeback out of reach by dominating on the glass by a 46-26 margin. 31 – The Bulls seized the momentum with a 31-point opening quarter and grabbed an 18-lead in the period. 17 – USF scored 17 second-chance points while finishing with a 15-6 edge in offensive rebounds. 14 – Reserves also stepped up to help USF finish with a 14-2 scoring advantage in bench points. Notable • Kitija Laksa matched The American's single-game record with 41 points and finished three points shy of the USF game record of 44 points by Shantia Grace against Coppin State on Nov. 23, 2008. • Laksa now owns the USF record for 30-point games with 10, breaking a tie with Wanda Guyton (1985, 87-89). Laksa needs eight more three-pointers to match USF's season record of 117 by Janae Stokes (2008-09). • Laksa moved up to seventh on USF's all-time scoring list with 1,504 points. Laksa needs six more points to move into a tie for sixth place with Mary Klinewski (1981-85). • Maria Jespersen moved up to 13th on USF's career scoring list with 1,289 points. • USF improved to 10-1 at home this season. Up Next USF will host SMU in the program's annual Play4Kay game on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. Learn more about the Play4Kay initiative HERE and reserve your seats for USF-SMU at USFBullsTix.com.
  21. Finally, finally, finally. In an nationally relevant game against a ranked team in a pressure situation USF prevailed. One could argue the biggest win sine UWV (too much?) Not only did they beat OSU they rolled them, handily holding a double digit lead almost the whole game. It was exciting to anyone who watched the control, precision and accuracy this team played with. This launches USF onto the fringes of any dark horse Natty talk. I wish I could hope that USF could finally find a way to beat UConn but thats just not happening anymore than USF Men's team can go out and beat Villanova. So we can expect at least 2 more losses before the dance seeding. Will a 26-8 team get to a #2 or #3? Doubt it. But what if, theoretically speaking, the entire UConn team accidently drank LSD laced water and we were able to beat them in triple OT by a point would that be enough to push us into a 2 or 3 seed? Maybe. And if you don't follow women's basketball and don't know how good of a team UConn is you may say to yourself. Well jeez, this is quite possibly the best USF team coming off a huge win with a ton of momentum, why cant it happen USF beating UConn? Ok, sit down little fella and lemme explain. IN the past 4 season including this one, USF and UConn have played each other 10 times. Thats 3 times a season and most likely will be this year as well. Not only has Uconn won all ten times, but are winning by and avg of 34 points a games. UConn scores, on average 89 points while USF can only muster, on avg 55 points. And you wanna microcosm? 51 points. Thats how many points USF lost by in their first matchup with UConn this year. Thats 2 more points than USF scored the entire game (49). USF beating UConn would be incredible, but not happening, sorry sparky. However before any scenario can happen the Bulls play one more at home and then a couple of relatively big games away v UCF (road trip anyone?) and then home against Cincy and Houston before finishing the reg season against the aforementioned, currently not LSD induced UConn team. A 24 win reg season would match what the Bulls had in 2014-15 when they were a 6 seed. As far as the projections go, USF is back in UConns bracket again with a first round matchup against Western KY. #1s are UConn, MissS, Baylor and Notre Dame On the Mens side, well lets just say they are still playing mens basketball in the Sundome. The dream of multiple #1s form the same conference is dead as Villanova(BE), Virginia(ACC), Cincinnati(AAC) and Purdue(B10) are the number ones. Projections below.
  22. One example of how women's sports is better than men's is that the power 5+1 (Big East) bias is less obvious. For example in Men's Basketball, Rhode Island has the third most difficult OOC schedule in the country, has only 3 losses on the season(all 3 on the road) has wins against Seton Hall and Providence but are only ranked 22nd. They most certainly will get a NCAA seed far lower than their 6th best RPI would indicate. We'll keep them at a #2 until they show us they aren't but they more than likely will get a 5-7 seed. This bias is far less obvious in the women's side, sure Green Bay is the highest ranked non-p5+1 at 20th but they DESERVE that spot as their RPI is in the mid-teens. Same with USF, a 27 RPI should put them in the 20-30 range.Now you could argue Buffalo at 21 RPI isnt getting any love at 39th-ish in the polls but as I am sure you are well aware, the farther away from #1 the more variation you have in pollsters. Buffalo's example is very different than URIs as a potential 1-seed but ending up with a 7-seed. Any rate, on the men's side we still have a potential, although less likely now, that you may have two #1s coming from the same conference, Villanova, Xavier from the Big East. The VX matchup is now 12 days away. We are calling Clemson a #1 although that is about as likely as URI getting the 1 seed, that will most likely go to a Purdue or Auburn or Kansas. Virginia is currently the only #1 lock. On the women's side, a nice run by the Bulls has them at a mid 7 seed currently projected to face Syracuse in Mississippi St's south conference. Lets stay there, not interested in being in UConn's quarter. Houston and UCF have wormed there way into the dance as a 11 and 12 seed respectively. That puts 9 teams into the dance that the Bulls have or will have faced in the regular season. Battle-tested teams tend to hang around over their talent level and the Bulls are battled tested to be sure. The team has 5 of 7 at home to close out the season with the next 3 being at the SunDome. ECU comes first in what is an obvious trap game, hopefully, and I wouldn't expect otherwise, CJF will have them prepared for that. Ohio State comes in after that, a huge opportunity to put the stamp on the potential of this team. OSU is 3-3 over their last 6 but are on a 3 game winning streak. The home stand rounds out with SMU. The Bulls should be at 20 wins by the time they head out of Tampa and up the road to UCF for what will be a huge matchup for the Knights. Current Projections
  23. USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2rNTMua FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: Jan. 29, 2018 Follow @USFAthletics On Twitter Like USF Athletics on Facebook Jespersen Earns First Player of the Week Honor USF senior Maria Jespersen receives her first Player of the Week Honor TAMPA, JAN. 29, 2018 – Senior Maria Jespersen has played in over 120 games for the Bulls but it was her near perfect, 24-point performance that finally clinched her first American Athletic Conference Player of Week honor. The senior forward has been recognized on the league’s weekly honor roll 10 times in the last two seasons, but Monday marks her first Player of the Week distinction. Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) led the Bulls to a bounce back win against Temple on Sunday. Jespersen scored a game-high 24 points and turned in a nearly perfect offensive outing. The forward finished 8-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-3 from behind the arc and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Jespersen also filled her stat line with six rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Jespersen averages a team-high 18.1 points per game in conference action and has turned in 8.6 rebounds per game. The preseason all-conference honoree has tallied seven 20-plus point outings this season.
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