Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bulls Have Successful Trip to St. Thomas During Paradise Jam

The women's USF Bulls basketball team traveled to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands this past week in hopes of making a name for themselves against some tough competition in the Paradise Jam tournament. For the most part i think the ladies did just that, despite suffering their first loss on the season. On thursday, Nov. 27th Thanksgiving day, the Bulls tipped things off with a matchup against No. 3 ranked California. The girls knew that this would be one of the stiffest tests of the season for them and would be a pretty good measuring stick for life in the Big East this year. Well, the Bulls, who had been averaging 98.5 points per game and giving up just 46.2 points per contest in their first four games, found out just how good the Golden Bears were as they suffered in an 85-55 setback at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center. The Bulls shot a season low 28.6% from the floor and were forced into 12 turnovers. They could not seem to find a rythm on either end of the floor throughout the game. The second half looked a little bit more promising but could not overcome the huge deficit. Jazmine Sepulveda scored 11 points while Shantia Grace added 10 points in the loss. Porche Grant grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore Danielle Starzynski who had been out due to a back injury entered the game in the 4th quarter in hopes of turning things around for her team but it seemed to be a little too late. Starzynski finished with 16pts and 4 steals on the night, impressive for just one quarter of play.

The Bulls came into Friday night's contest with Iowa looking to get back on track after being humbled by Califronia the previous night in the first game of the Paradise Jam. And get back on track is what USF did in an 82-79 overtime gut-check win over Iowa in back of 27 points from Shantia Grace and 21 points off the bench from an injured Danielle Starzynski. The Bulls (5-1), who looked like a totally different team after their game last night, found itself with an early 4-3 lead on a three-pointer by Grace just under two minutes into the contest. The Hawkeyes (4-2), however, would find their offense and use an 11-3 run from Grace’s trey to the 15:19 mark which was capped by a Megan Skouby jumper to give Iowa a 14-6 edge. USF would get back in to the contest cutting the lead to one, 20-19 on a lay up by Alexis Givands off a Starzynski steal with 8:09 left in the half. After an Iowa miss and a Sepulveda rebound, Grace would hit a lay up to give the Bulls just their second lead of the game, 21-20, with just over eight minutes remaining in the first stanza. USF would push the lead to as many as eight points, and eventually take a 44-40 lead into the locker room at the intermission. The second half saw both teams coming out and not wanting to take control. Neither team led by more than four points – with that being USF holding a 53-49 lead with 13:35 left in regulation – through the first nine minutes of the second stanza. The Bulls would make the first move when Starzynski hit a three-pointer with 10:04 left to give USF a 61-56 lead. USF would get the lead to a game-high 12 points, 68-56, with 8:11 left on a lay up by Sepulveda. Iowa then put it’s own run together closing the final 7:46 on a 16-6 run capped by Wendy Ausdenmore’s trey with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 74-all. Grace had a desperation shot from just inside half court that fell short. The Bulls took control in the extra session outscoring the Hawkeyes 8-5 en route to the win. Grace would finish shooting 6-21 from the field, including 5-10 from three-point range, and 10-15 from the free-throw line. She also had three rebounds, three steals and two assists in 38 minutes. Starzynski led the Bulls with 24 points, 6 steals and 5 assists on the night. On the night, USF shot 37.1 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from behind the arc. Once again it also caused havoc on the defensive side forcing Iowa into 27 turnovers which lead to 28 points for the Bulls.

On Saturday night the Bulls played their final game of the three-day Paradise Jam event in St. Thomas and took another step with an impressive 71-61 win over Texas Tech. Danielle Starzynski came off her 24-point performance friday night to lead the Bulls in scoring against Texas Tech with 19 points, while Shantia Grace and Janae Stokes each added 13 points in the victory. Brittany Denson chipped in with 12 points.

“This was a tremendous win for our basketball team,” said USF head coach Jose Fernandez. “We had a very successful trip here to the Paradise Jam and couldn’t be more thrilled with us coming out with a 2-1 record. Now we need to keep the intensity up when we get back to Tampa and get ready for Florida International on Friday night and then we take a week off for exams.”

USF (6-1), who led for all of the first half except for three ties and two times when the Red Raiders (4-3) took one point leads, would lead by as many as five in the first stanza but could not shake Texas Tech. The Bulls would take a 31-29 lead into the locker room at the intermission. In the second half, the Red Raiders would take what would be, at that time, their largest lead of the game, three points (37-34) on a Dominic Seals jumper with 16:14 remaining in the contest.
Starzynski would immediately get the lead back, 38-37, hitting a driving lay up with 14:47 left, and then Grant stole the inbounds pass and hit a lay up with 14:44 left to give USF a three –point advantage, 40-37. The Bulls pushed the lead to five points, 43-38, on a three-pointer by Stokes with 13:47 remaining. Texas Tech, however, would score 16 of the next 23 points to take it’s biggest lead of the evening, 54-50, on shot from behind the arc from Keisha Walker with 8:08 left. USF may have bent but they would not break, closing the final eight minutes of the contest on a 21-7 run to put the game out of reach. On the night, the Red Raiders shot 44.9 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from behind the three-point arc, while the Bulls were just 36.8 percent from the floor and 31.6 percent from three-point range. One area that USF did shine in on the offensive end of the floor was the free throw line hitting 79.3 percent of its shots. With that said, the Bulls solely won this game on the defensive end of the floor. For the sixth time in its seven games this season, USF forced its opposition into more than 26 turnovers, as the Red Raiders recorded 27 miscues on the night which led to 25 points. Starzynski led the way with 7 steals.

The Bulls would leave the island with a 2-1 record, proving themselves a force to be reckoned with once Big East action begins in January. Following their return to Tampa, the Bulls will have a week to prepare for their match-up with Florida International on Friday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Sun Dome. Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated as always. Go Bulls!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bulls Pull Off a Close One Against Wagner

The South Florida women’s basketball team defeated Wagner in a close matchup here in Tampa on Sunday afternoon. The Bulls (4-0) seemed to struggle a bit having to come back from as big as a 13 poiunt deficit in sunday's game. This was the first time all season that the bulls had been losing at any point in a game. In the fourth quarter the ladies seemed to find a way to pull away though, shooting 56% from the floor. Despite their fourth quarter effort they ended up winning by only 3 after 2 free throws from Jasmine Sepulveda sealed the game with 6 seconds left.

Senior Shantia Grace (Sarasota, FL) scored a career-high 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 effort at the foul line. Freshman Jasmine Wynn (Jacksonville, FL) also posted a personal best with 21 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Also in double figures for the Hall were senior Jasmine Sepulveda with 12 points, while classmate Melissa Dalembert added 11 points and seven boards. The Bulls were without their leading scorer Danielle Starzynski due to a back injury that benched her and reportedly the team is taking it day by day. No word on when she will be back in action, hopefully soon because her 28ppg will be needed in some tough upcoming matchups. Casey Stokes led the Seahawks (2-1) with 14 points.

The Bulls finished with a 41-34 edge on the glass and scored 26 points off 29 Wagner turnovers. USF connected on 47.1 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from beyond the arc. The Bulls travel to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands on Tuesday for the Paradise Jam Nov. 27-29. They will open the event on thanksgiving night at 8:30pm when they butt heads with No. 3 California. They will also face Iowa on Nov. 28th at 6pm, and Texas Tech on Nov. 28th at 6pm. Keep reading and we'll be sure to keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bulls Win 3rd in a Row With 103-55 Win Over Stetson

The University of South Florida women’s basketball team continued to display its offensive fire power early on this season hitting the century mark for the second time in three games this year in a dominating 103-55 win over in-state foe Stetson tonight at the Sun Dome. The Bulls improve its record to 3-0, to start the season, for the third time in the past four years. USF had 3 players in double figures led by Danielle Starzynski's game high 41 points--a career high for the new USF bull recruit. Shantia grace got back on track netting 19 points while Jazmine Sepulveda added 13 points in the win. Once again, USF had a balanced attack in all aspects of the game. For the third straight contest the Bulls placed 10 of the 11 players that saw action in the scoring column, with eight of the 10 netting eight or more points. USF also dominated the glass outrebounding Stetson 58-33 while nine of the 10 players that saw time grabbing multiple rebounds. The defensive attack also continued as USF held Stetson to just 37.1 percent (23-62) shooting from the field on the night and forced them into 26 turnovers in the loss. Starzynski led the way with 7 steals. With about 4:20 left in the 4th quarter though Starzynski hit the ground on a hard foul and stayed down for a few moments worrying many Bulls fans. She eventually got up and went to th ebunch but never returned to the game. Starzynski reportedly suffered a back injury and is having tests done on it to determine the problem. No word on when she'll be back in action. After playing three games in four days, the Bulls will get a much needed rest until Coppin State visits the Sun Dome on Sunday at 2 p.m. The contest will mark the fourth and final game of a four-game season opening home stand for USF. As always keep reading and we will keep you posted. GO BULLS!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Women's Hoops Roll in Victorious Weekend and Take Tourney Title

The weekend looked to be a very succesfull one for the lady Bulls as they blew past competition in both of their tourney games on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday the Bulls took on Central Connecticut State in the first round. The bulls were in control for the entire game, coming out with a 30-9 start through the first 8:30. After that point they never looked back and ended up defeating Central Connecticut 100-63. USF shot 56.8% (21 of 37) from the field in the first half en route to a commanding 53-18 lead at halftime. The bulls got 16 of Danielle Starzynski's 33 points in the first half, while Jazmine Sepulveda netted 9 points in the first 30 minutes. USF's defense was just as impressive, holding Central Connecticut to just 22.6% shooting from the field and forcing 16 first half turnovers. Starzynski led the way with 8 steals on the defensive end. In the 2nd half everyone became involved in the action with other Bulls players like Jasmine Wynne scoring 15 points and registering 7 assists. Melissa Dalembert also finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The high scorer of the game was Starzynski with 33 points.

On Sunday's game the Bulls then took on Loyola in the finals of the USF shootout. Early on in the game things didn't look very promising for the girls as they came out cold missing the first seven shots and not scoring a point until Danielle Starzynski it a jumper about three and a half minutes into the contest. Loyola hung around for a majority of the first eight minutes until the Bulls used a 13-2 run started by Starzynski's 3 pointer with 11:31 left and ending with a layup of an assist by Starzynski with 7:57 left. The bulls then took a 53-22 lead into the half. USF never looked back from there, dominating the rest of the game and seeming to finally get hot finishing at 56.3% from the field. The Bulls put up another 41 additional points in the 2nd half, leading by as many as 48 at the final buzzer. Five Bulls players ended up in double figures, led by Starzynski who had a tremendous game with 39 points on 16 of 21 shooting and also recorded 9 steals, 3 blocks, and 5 asissts. Jazmine Sepulveda added 14 points, Janae Stokes and Melissa Dalembert each added 13, and Shantia Grace added 12. Starzynski and Sepulveda were named to the All-Tournament team. For the 2nd straight game, the Bulls forced their opponent into over 30 turnovers and ending with only nine of their own in the win. The bulls now have a 2-0 record as they have a quick turnaround and get back to work on Tuesday, Nov. 18th 7pm against instate foe Stetson. The Bulls are off to a very promising start and we look forward to seeing what the rest of the season has in store. As always, we'll keep you posted. GO BULLS!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bulls Gearing Up for Season Opener

The USF women's basketball team has been preparing for this moment for a grueling number of months. Since the summer the team has been in the gym working out their blood, sweat, and tears all leading up to this opening game. It has been far from eazy, but the girls are all hoping that the pain and hard work will pay off for them this season. The Bulls open up the 2008-2009 regular season this Saturday against Central Connecticut in the first round of the USF shootout. Tipoff is slated for 5pm. This will be the moment when we all see just how much of a reward the Bulls will get for their dedication they've shown throughout the past few months. Last year the ladies hopes were cut short as they were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This year they are hoping for a better, much longer run.

With a few new recruits added to the roster, newly hired coach Jose Fernandez thinks his girls have a good chance. "Coming in and being the new guy around here is never easy but the girls have made it a very pleasant time for me and have showed me just how much work they have been putting in. They seem very determined to go far and succeed this season and they're looking great as a team. We have a solid returning class and also some new additions who have been really showing themselves in practice so i think they're ready to make an impact right away. Jasmine Wynn and Danielle Starzynski are the two that i'm really looking forward to seeing on the court this season because i think they have the capability to take this team to new lengths. Both of them have performed exceptionally well in practices and our 2 exhibition games so i think they're more than ready to play this year. I'm looking forward to seeing how this season pans out and hopefully we come out on top."

Coach Fernandez seems to be very optimistic about this upcoming season and i know all our Bulls fans out there are as well. In the first 2 exhibition games, the Bulls blew out their opponents by 24 and 27 points respectively. In those 2 games the standout performers were Sepulveda and Starzynski. Sepulveda scored 15 and 22 points in the two matchups and Starzynski scored 37 and 24 along with coming away with 7 steals in both games. The future looks promising for this squad and lets all hope that in March we all will have something to cheer about. Until then stay tuned to your number 1 blogspot for USF women's basketball. As always we will keep you updated with upcoming games and results.