Freshman Williams to start at point for USF women
USF women's basketball opens its season Saturday afternoon with a 2 p.m. tipoff against Stetson in the Sun Dome, and coach Jose Fernandez has been impressed enough by freshman Courtney Williams that she'll open the season as the Bulls' starting point guard.
Williams, a 5-foot-8 freshman from Folkston, Ga., has shown enough in the past month to get the nod ahead of veterans Sasha Bernard, who is recovering from ACL surgery, and Kaneisha Saunders. Fernandez said he also expects to have guards Andrell Smith and Inga Orekhova, forward Tahira Johnson and center Akila McDonald in his starting lineup against the Hatters.
Senior guard Andrea Smith, the team's top scorer from 2010-11 who missed last season recovering from ACL surgery, is still recovering from recent arthoscopic surgery and will come off the bench Saturday as she returns to full strength. The Bulls should be able to showcase unprecedented depth this season, with as many as 10-11 players working into the regular rotation. Stetson, like USF, made the Women's NIT last season; the Bulls won 77-62 in Tampa in their meeting last season.
The Bulls will open the season without guard Laura Marcos Canedo, a freshman from Spain who underwent surgery Friday morning to repair a foot fracture; she'll miss a significant portion of the season and may take a redshirt. USF is already without sophomore point guard Shalethia Stringfield, who suffered an ACL injury in preseason.