Tuesday, March 17, 2009

USF Advances to Sixth Straight Postseason; Earn Bye in WNIT

The University of South Florida women’s basketball team will take part in its sixth straight postseason event and it’s fifth Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). USF, who receives a first round bye to this year’s tournament, will await the winner of the George Washington vs. Florida Gulf Coast game which will be played on Thursday, March 19 in Fort Myers, Fla. The Bulls will host their second game on Saturday, March 21 at 7 p.m.

The Bulls advance to the WNIT after posting a 22-10 record and an eighth place 8-8 record in BIG EAST Conference play. USF’s 22 wins marks the most wins in the program’s 37 year history. The Bulls have won four of their last five games, six of their last nine and eight of their last 13 games with three of those eight wins coming at Rutgers, at DePaul and at Villanova, all NCAA Tournament team’s.

First team All-BIG EAST Conference selections Shantia Grace and Danielle Starzynski are two of four players averaging double figures in the scoring column netting 39 and 16.2 points per game respectively, while Janae Stokes (12.7 ppg.) and Jazmine Sepulveda (12.2 ppg.) are the remaining two. Starzynski's playing status is day to day right now due to a nearly fatal car accident she was involved in on Sunday. No report on her injuries sustained although it was reported that she did participate in practice on Monday.

The Bulls earned the No. 8 seed, and a first round bye, in the BIG EAST Tournament where they defeated Cincinnati, 68-58, in the second round before losing to top seeded, and No. 1/1 ranked, Connecticut in the quarterfinals.

George Washington comes into the WNIT with a 17-13 record and finished fifth in the Atlantic-10 Conference with a 9-5 record. The Colonials have dropped their last three games; however have won 10 of their last 15.

Florida Gulf Coast comes into its game with the Colonials with a 25-4 record and winners of the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship with a 17-3 record. The Eagles, who were not eligible for the A-Sun Conference Tournament due to it being in its Division I transition phase for reclassification, have won 16 straight games entering the WNIT.

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