The University of South Florida Women's basketball team is off to it's best start in school history with their newly acquired 11-1 record. The Bulls are on a 7 game winning streak while still remaining undefeated at home. On Sunday, Nov. 14th the Bulls took on in-state foe University of North Florida dominating the game in a 90-44 win. The Bulls scored 90 points for the sixth time in 9 games this season, while holding the opposition to fewer than 50 points for the fourth time this year. The big story however, was USF on the defensive side of the floor. The Bulls forced the Lady Osprey (2-5) into a season high 39 turnovers marking the fifth time this season that USF has forced it’s foe into 30 or more miscues. Danielle Starzynski led on the defensive end with a season high 11 steals, while Jazmine Sepulveda chipped in with 5. The Bulls would take a 41-22 lead into the locker room at the break and never look back from there. They shot a blistering 62.5 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes of the game. Sepulveda led the Bulls offense with 24 points, while Starzynski followed behind with 19 points. Ashley Anderson also added 12 points and 7 assists in the win.
On thursday Dec. 18th, the Bulls then took on Grambling State and ended up turning in a record setting performance in a 126-62 victory. Janae Stokes led four players in double figures with 39 points, including 25 points in the second half. Danielle Starzynski scored 27 points, and Shantia Grace and Jazmine Sepulveda each added 14 points in the win. Porche Grant grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. The Bulls, who came into the game averaging 87.9 points per game which was second in the nation behind BIG EAST foe Connecticut (92.4), made no doubt early that they were in control scoring six points in the in the first minute of the game and forcing the Lady Tigers to use one of their five timeouts. Grambling (2-6) would cut the lead to five points (8-3), but USF would blow the game open running out to a 60-33 lead at the intermission. After shooting 53.7 percent it didn’t look like the Bulls could shoot any better in the second half. USF, however, would hit 64.9 percent of their shots in the second half and finished the contest shooting 59 percent from the floor. The Bulls would hit the century mark – for the third time this season, which is the first time in school history that they accomplished the feat – when Starzynski hit the two free throws with 9:36 left in the game to give USF a 100-52 lead. In the end, the Bulls’ 126 points turned out to be the most scored in a Division I game this season, while also setting a new school mark surpassing their previous best of 124 originally set against Morris Brown on Nov. 30, 2002.
On Saturday Dec. 20th, the Bulls were back in action in their 2nd game in 3 days, taking on Northern Arizona. It's been a long week for these girls so you’ll have to excuse them if they came out a bit sluggish to start the game off. Unfortunately, for Northern Arizona, USF was still good enough to defeat the Lumberjacks, 82-43, in a non-conference game at the Sun Dome.
“I thought we played uninspired basketball today,” said Bulls’ head coach Jose Fernandez. “I can’t put my finger on it, but we just seemed to be going through the motions. We had 18 turnovers today, and of the 18, nine came from our post players. We just can’t have that. We need to protect the basketball. We need to come out tomorrow afternoon against Southern and play well.” Despite the Bulls handing 13 of their 18 miscues over to NAU in the first half, USF forced Northern Arizona (3-9) into 18 miscues in the first stanza which led to 18 of its 45 first half points. The Bulls dominated the first 20 minutes finding themselves up by 20 points, 26-6, with 10:02 left on a Jazmine Sepulveda lay-up off a Danielle Starzynski steal.
USF took a 45-19 lead into the locker room at the break after shooting 42.1 percent from the field and holding the Lumberjacks to 25 percent from the floor. USF would extend its lead to as many as 41 points in the second half when Janae Stokes scored two of her 13 points on a jumper with 7:15 remaining. The Bulls would equal that margin one more time prior to the final buzzer.
The Lumberjacks would finish the game with 35 turnovers leading to 38 points and shot 30.5 percent from the field, including a dismal 11.1 percent from behind the three-point arc, in the loss. USF finished shooting 40.3 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from behind the arc.
Starzynski led the Bulls with 17 points while Stokes had her 13 and Ashley Anderson chipped in with 10 points.
On Sunday, Dec. 21st, in the Bulls' last and most recent game University of South Florida head women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez tied Bobby Paschal for the most wins by a USF basketball coach in school history – men’s or women’s – with a 100-47 triumph over Southern University at the Sun Dome. The win, the sixth straight for the Bulls, raised their record to 11-1 marking the best start in the program’s history. Fernandez raised his career record to 127-124 in eight-plus years (251 games). Should USF defeat it’s next opponent, Jackson State, on Sunday, Dec. 28 (2 p.m.) he would surpass Paschal who guided the men’s basketball team to 127 wins in 10 seasons (286 games). Shantia Grace led six players in double figures with 21 points while Danielle Starzynski added 19, and Jazmine Sepulveda and Ashley Anderson each added 12 points in the win. Brittany Denson and Janae Stokes also chipped in with 11 points a piece. On the afternoon, USF shot 46.7 percent from the field while holding the Jaguars to 29.2 percent in the loss. The Bulls will take a break for Christmas before returning to face Jackson State on Sunday, December 28th at the Sun Dome. As always stay tuned for more updates and GO BULLS!!!