Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stokes Leads USF Past Rutgers, 59-56

Shantia Grace converted a three-point play with 7.9 seconds to play and South Florida beat Rutgers 59-56 after blowing a 19-point second-half lead on Saturday. The Bulls (16-6, 3-5 Big East Conference) survived one final comeback by the Scarlet Knights (12-7, 4-4) when Epiphanny Prince's running 25-footer banked off the backboard and rolled off the rim.
Janae Stokes added 20 points for South Florida.

The Bulls seemingly took total control with a 28-4 spurt bridging the halves and then fell apart in the final five-plus minutes as Rutgers ran off 17 straight points, tying the game at 56 on a 3-pointer by Brittany Ray.

Grace missed the front end of a one-and-one with 47 seconds to play, giving Rutgers a chance to take the lead. However, the Scarlet Knights, who went long stretches with points in the game, could not get off a shot and turned the ball over on a shot clock violation with under 16 seconds to play. Grace broke the Rutgers' press -- which had been so lethal in the comeback -- and drove the lane for an off-balance layup, giving the Bulls their final lead and their first win over Rutgers in four tries. Grace finished with nine points on 2 of 8 shooting.

Prince had 25 points to lead Rutgers, including 10 in the 17-0 run. The Scarlet Knights were coming off an upset of No. 17 Notre Dame earlier this week. It was their first win over a ranked team this season. Despite not having head coach Jose Fernandez during todays game, due to health concerns, the Bulls pulled off this big conference win. The Bulls return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 3rd when they take on Marquette. USF will have their leading scorer Danielle Starzynski back, as she will be coming off a 6 game suspension. As always stay tuned for more updates. GO BULLS!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

USF Ends Two-Game Skid With 86-62 Win Over Providence

The University of South Florida women’s basketball team ended its two-game losing streak with a 86-62 win over Providence Tuesday night at Alumni Hall. USF improves its record to 15-5 and 2-4 in the BIG EAST.

The Bulls fell behind in the early going as the Friars took a quick 7-0 lead capped by a three-point shot by Chelsea Marandola just 1:14 into the game. USF would then get back into the contest when Porche Grant cut the Providence lead to three points, 10-7 with 15:29 left in the half. On its next possession, Jazmine Sepulveda would tie the game with a three-point shot with 13:43 left on the clock. Sepulveda would then hit two more trey’s, in two consecutive possessions down the floor, to give the Bulls their first lead of the game, 16-14 with 12:23 left in the first stanza and capping an 11-4 run. Providence however would come out after the 12 minute timeout to score seven unanswered points to regain the lead 21-16 with 11:17 left in the half on a jumper by Marandola.

The Bulls would take the lead back for the remainder of the first game on a lay-up by Jessica Lawson off an assist from Shantia Grace with 7:39 left. USF would eventually extend its lead to as many as six points, 37-31, in the first half on Sepulveda’s final three-pointer of the half with 1:19 left before the intermission. The Bulls came out in the second half and took advantage of their athleticism and defensive intensity. USF took control of the game right out of the locker room with three of its first five field goals coming from behind the arc, with one coming from Janae Stokes and two from Grace, to give the Bulls a 50-39 lead with 16:13 left in the game.

The Bulls also forced the Friars into seven turnovers in the first nine minutes after recording eight in the entire first half. USF would eventually push its lead to as many as 26 points, 86-60 with 1:23 left in the game, on a lay-up by Grant. The Bulls would shoot 45.7 percent in the second stanza, including 50 percent (6-12) from behind the three-point arc en route to the win. On the night, USF would place five players in double figures led by Sepulveda with 25 points, one shy of her career-high of 26. In addition to Sepulveda, Grace would chip in with 18 points while Stokes and Lawson had 12 points and Brittany Denson chipped in with 10 points. The Bulls remain without leading scorer Starzynski, who still has 3 games left in her suspension.

USF also paced three players in double-digits on the glass hauling down 13 rebounds. Lawson and Denson had 12 and 11 respectively. It was Lawson’s third double-double of the season and was Denson’s first of the year.The Bulls will return home on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. when they face Georgetown in the second game of a day-night doubleheader. The USF men’s team will face Villanova at Noon.

Bulls Fall to Panthers 79-47

The University of South Florida women’s basketball team hit the road for the first of two, two-game road trips, that it will take this season, and it is extremely appropriate that the Bulls’ first stop on the trip comes in the city that is understandably pre-occupied with another big game this weekend ... Pittsburgh. Well, in its own world, USF’s game with the Panthers on Saturday afternoon was just as big, and as meaningful, as the AFC title game that will be played on the other side of town on Sunday night between the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

The Bulls came into the game with Pitt with a 1-3 record in BIG EAST Conference play, and in need of a big win to get momentum back as they head to Rhode Island to take on Providence on Tuesday night. In addition, to make things even more interesting, the two schools have created a nice little rivalry since the “Green and Gold” joined the BIG EAST, with four of the five games previously played being decided by a total of nine points and in the last 10 seconds of the contest.

Well, another close finish was not in the cards today as the Panthers handed the Bulls its second straight loss with a 79-47 setback at the Petersen Events Center. The defeat drops USF’s record to 14-5 and 1-4 in league play. The Bulls came out and battled from the opening tip leading by two, 13-11, with 12:27 left in the first half on two of Porche Grant’s six first-half points. Pittsburgh, however, would hold USF without a field goal for almost the next seven minutes, until Shantia Grace hit a driving lay-up with 5:34 left before the intermission to make the score 24-17. The Bulls’ only points during that stretch – before Grace’s lay-up – were two free throws by the senior guard with 7:34 left on the clock before the break.

The Panthers would then round out the final five minutes on a 13-2 run and holding a 37-19 edge entering the locker room at halftime. The Bulls’ last field goal of the half came on a lay-up from Grant off an assist from Allyson Speed with 3:57 remaining. USF’s 19 points were the fewest scored in the first half this season and the second fewest in a half all year. USF shot 20.7 percent (6-29) from the field in the first stanza while Pittsburgh hit 35 percent of its shots (14-40).

The Panthers came out of the locker room much like the same way it went in. Pitt outscored the Bulls 20-11 in the first 10 minutes of the final half, while shooting 23.8 percent (5-21). During that 10 minute stretch, the Panthers used an 18-4 run from the 17:42 mark to the 10:01 mark of the second half. Pittsburgh would extend its lead to as many as 37 points (78-41) before the final buzzer.

Porche Grant led USF with 11 points and 11 rebounds, recording her fourth double-double of the year. The Bulls were again without a key player in Danielle Starzynski who is still serving a suspension due to personal discrepencies.

Bulls Fall to No. 7 Louisville

The USF Bulls suffered a road loss to No. 7 ranked Louisville on Wednesday night. Brandie Radde gave Louisville a big lift off the bench. Radde scored 19 points and Angel McCoughtry added 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 7 Louisville to a 76-60 victory over South Florida.

"We started getting stops on defense and we started knocking down shots,'' said Radde, who entered averaging 3.4 points per game. Louisville (17-1, 4-0 Big East) also got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Candyce Bingham. The Cardinals were able to outscore South Florida 15-8 after McCoughtry, the Big East player of the week, fouled out with five minutes remaining. "That's really when we needed to buckle down and make a stop,'' South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said. Shantia Grace scored 15 points, and Jessica Lawson had 14 points and 16 rebounds for South Florida (14-4, 1-3). The Bulls had 24 turnovers and hit just 14 of 28 free throw attempts. "Definitely turnovers,'' Lawson said. "They got us out of our element.''

Bingham scored 13 points and Radde had 11 as Louisville took a 38-24 halftime lead. The Cardinals had a 23-6 run over the final seven minutes of the first half. "I thought we did a very good job of breaking the press and scoring off of it,'' Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "I thought they stopped pressing us because we scored in transition. We only turned the ball over 14 times, and for us, that doesn't happen very often. I was pleased with that.''

McCoughtry had eight points, eight rebounds and four assists during the opening half. Three of her assists set up baskets by Bingham late in the half. South Florida pulled to 56-50 with 6:26 left. The Bulls were held to just 10 points the rest of the game. The Bulls were without their leading scorer Danielle Starzynski who was serving the first of her 6 game suspension.

"We knew they were going to make a run,'' Bingham said. "Coach talks about that. We just had to keep our composure and I think that's what we did.'' Louisville was outrebounded 53-46, something that Walz said was a concern. "They rebound the ball as well as any team in the country,'' Walz said. "They absolutely owned us in the paint. If we don't get stronger there, it's going to be tough.''

Monday, January 12, 2009

Starzynski Leads Bulls to Overtime Win Over St. John's

The University of South Florida women’s basketball team earned its first BIG EAST win of the season by defeating St Johns 81-71 in an overtime nail biter in the Sun Dome tonight. The win brings the Bulls to 14-3 on the season and 1-2 in BIG EAST play. St Johns is now 13-2 on the season and 1-1 in the BIG EAST.

The two team’s came out of the locker room and went toe-to-toe for most of the first half with neither team leading by more than six points for the first 12:10 of the game. The Red Storm would make the first move – albeit a small one – pushing the lead to as many as nine points twice, at 30-21 with 7:11 left in the half and at 41-32 with 1:58 left before the intermission.

Jazmine Sepulveda would record a steal and lay-up to cut the lead to seven, 41-34 with 43 seconds left in the first. After Monique McLean hit the second of two free throws to give the Red Storm an eight-point lead, Jana Stokes would hit, what would be arguable her biggest shot of her short USF career, draining a three-pointer with 13 seconds left to cut the St. John’s lead to five 42-37 at the break. The trey was the first for Stokes since Dec. 30 at Tulane who, up until her three at that point, was 0-17 from behind the arc.

USF tried to come out of the locker room for the second half and capitalize of the momentum that Stokes gave them at the end of the first, but St. John’s never bent despite the Bulls cutting the lead to two points, 42-40, on a three by Starzynski with 19:20 left and then later in the half as USF cut the lead to three, 53-50, off a steal by Porche Grant and a lay-up by Danielle Starzynski with 12:16 left in regulation.

The Bulls would then take its first lead since the 13:16 mark of the first half when Starzynski hit a short jumper to give them the lead, 57-55, with 9:12 left in regulation. The two teams would exchange the lead for the next five-plus minutes before USF would seemingly take control of the game leading by six points, 68-62, on a jumper shot by Jessica Lawson with 2:19 left.

The Red Storm, however would have none of that, closing regulation on an 8-2 run, tying the game at 70-all on two free throws by McLean with 1.4 seconds left on the clock. The Bulls had one last opportunity before the buzzer when Shantia Grace banked a midcourt shot from the sideline, falling out of bounds, off the rim.

USF came out in the extra session and took control holding St. John’s to no field goals and outscoring the Red Storm 11-1 en route to the win behind nine points from Starzynski in overtime. The Bulls placed four players in double figures led by Starzynski’s 19 points. Stokes would finish the game with 13 points while Sepulveda and Grace finished with 11 and 10 points respectively. Sepulveda tied her career-high with nine assists and Grant grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in the win.

The Red Storm had three players in double digits led by McLean with a game-high 30 points, including 17 in the first half, and Centhya Hart and Da’Shena Stevens who netted 12 and 10 points respectively. Hart also had eight rebounds.

USF will return to action on Wednesday night, at 7 p.m., with another key BIG EAST Conference match-up against No. 10/12 Louisville. AS always stay tuned for your USF Bulls updates. GO BULLS!

No. 1/1 UConn Defeats USF

Maya Moore scored 24 points and Tina Charles had 17 points and 12 rebounds Tuesday night, leading top-ranked Connecticut to an 83-37 rout of South Florida in the Huskies' Big East opener. UConn (14-0, 1-0) has opened the season with at least 14 straight wins for the second straight year and the eighth time since 1994-95. The Huskies have won 17 conference openers in a row and 100 consecutive games against non-ranked opponents since a loss at Arizona State in December 2004.

USF (13-3, 0-2) entered the game as the nation's highest scoring team (89.9 per game, just ahead of UConn's 88.8). The Bulls missed 20 of their first 27 shots to fall behind 45-26 at the half, then only managed 11 points after halftime.

Moore had 20 points, six rebounds and three assists at the break, and the Huskies held USF's leading scorer, Danielle Starzynski, without a field goal for the first 16 minutes of the game. Grace finished with 21 points on 11-for-19 shooting, and backcourt mate Jazmine Sepulveda was 0-for-8.

The victory extended UConn's regular-season winning streak to 22 games and ended USF's school-record 12-game home winning streak before a crowd of 4,290, up from the 737 the Bulls averaged for their first 10 games at the Sun Dome. Moore scored 15 of the Huskies' first 21 points and finished 10 of 19 from the field. Charles had her 29th career double-double and Kalana Greene added 13 for UConn. Renee Montgomery had 9 points, as no UConn starter played no more than 26 minutes.

UConn led 26-16 before using a 9-2 spurt to pull away for good. As poorly as USF shot in the opening half (10-of-35, 28.6 percent), the Bulls struggled even more after halftime (5-for-26, 19.2 percent). The Huskies scored the first nine points of the second half, building the lead to 54-26 with 15:39 to go. The closest South Florida got after that was 24 points.

Starzynski led USF with 21 points. Brittany Denson had six points and 12 rebounds, while the Bulls' leading scorer off the bench, Janae Stokes, missed all six of her 3-point attempts and finished 1-for-9 with four points.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bulls Win Streak Snapped at Marquette, 68-60

The University of South Florida women’s basketball team knew coming into tonight’s game that it was going to have to elevate it’s intensity, and it’s effort on the floor a notch, with the start of BIG EAST Conference action if it wanted to continue it’s winning ways and make a splash on the conference scene this year. USF also knew that despite the best start in school history coming into the game, it didn’t want to be 0-1 heading into a match up with top ranked Connecticut on Tuesday night at the Sun Dome (7 p.m.). Well, the Bulls’ luck ran out tonight as Marquette handed USF a 68-60 loss tonight at the Al McGuire Center, snapping its nine-game winning streak one-game shy of tying the school mark for consecutive wins.

The Bulls (13-2, 0-1 BIG EAST) came out and took control in the first half leading by as many as eight points, on a lay up by Brittany Denson with 7:32 left in the first stanza. After exchanging baskets for nearly the next six minutes, Marquette (10-5, 1-0 BIG EAST), would take advantage of USF’s 0-3 shooting and two turnovers in the final 1:48 of the first half to take it’s first lead of the game, 30-29, on a lay up by Marissa Thrower with 14 seconds left before the break. The Bulls, who trailed at the intermission for just the third time this year, and for the second straight game, shot just 34.3 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes while the Golden Eagles hit 34.4 percent of their shots. Marquette, however hot 80 percent from the charity stripe to USF’s 66.7 percent. Much like the Bulls in the first half, the Golden Eagles came out and established themselves out of the locker room. Marquette opened the second half on a 7-2 run holding USF without a field goal for the first 4:11 of the second, when Jessica Lawson hit a lay up off a rebound.

After Marquette took a 41-33 lead, Danielle Starzynski would get the Bulls right back into the game hitting a jumper with 14:30 left and then a three-pointer with 13:57 left in the contest to make the score 41-38. Starzynski would not stop there during the stretch grabbing a rebound off a missed trey by Lauren Thomas-Johnson and taking it the length of the floor to hit a lay up making the score 41-40 with 13:35 left. Jasmyne Wynn would then hit field goals on three of the next five possessions to cut the 50-46 on a jumper from 15-feet out with 8:11 left in the game while getting fouled. Wynne would miss the field goal. Marquette would seemingly open the game up with a 9-3 run over nearly the next five minutes to take its biggest lead of the game to that point, 59-49, with 4:01 left in the contest on a lay up by Tatiyana McMorris. The Bulls Following a time out, with 3:21 left in the game, Denson would convert a three-point play getting a put pack while getting fouled and hitting the free throw to make the score 59-52. USF would make one last surge when Starzynski would convert on a lay up off a steal to make the score 59-54 with 2:56 left, however the Bulls would not get any closer.

The Golden Eagles, however, would go 5-6 from the free throw line, including 4-4 in the final 35 seconds to ice the win. Starzynski would finish with 17 points while Jasmine Wynne had 11 points in the loss. Lawson grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds on the night. Angel Robinson scored a game-high 23 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds for Marquette. The two schools will meet one more time this season when Marquette head to Tampa for a match up on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. The Bulls will return home on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. for their home BIG EAST opener when No. 1/1 Connecticut visits the Sun Dome. As always stay tuned and we'll keep you updated. Go Bulls!