Grace, scoring 44, 'didn't want to overdo it'
Senior guard Shantia Grace set a USF basketball scoring record -- men's and women's -- by scoring 44 points in USF's 97-43 win against Coppin State on Sunday afternoon. What might be most impressive about her game -- which included a USF record eight 3-pointers -- is that she outscored USF's opponent all by herself while playing only 28 minutes.
"I didn't want to overdo it," said Grace, who watched the final 4:39 of the game from the bench, against a team that won 22 games last year and made the NCAA Tournament.
Grace went for 44 points on 16-of-24 shooting -- the field-goal attempts doesn't even crack the top 17 listed in USF's media guide -- included an 8-for-13 effort beyond the arc. Grace had gone 1-for-10 on 3-pointers in USF's two exhibitions, then went 4-for-19 in the Bulls' first three games -- a 21 percent clip. She had totaled 37 points in those three games.
"I wasn't happy with my shot, so the day before, I was in the gym shooting, all day and all night," said Grace, who estimated she spent four hours in the gym, taking 500 to 600 3-pointers. "So when the first one went in Sunday, I was like 'I'm good to go.' It was one of those nights."
Her 44 points is nine more than her previous high at USF -- she doesn't recall scoring more than 34 or 36 points in high school. It reset the Bulls' women's mark of 39 points, set by LaTonya Greer in 1997, and is two more than USF's men's record of 42, set by Charlie Bradley in 1982.
Grace's outburst shows USF's focus on playing an uptempo style -- "we don't even look at the shot clock," she says. The Bulls have scored at least 94 points in each game in their 4-0 start, after doing so just 10 times in Jose Fernandez's first eight seasons.
The Bulls are in the Virgin Islands this week, and their competition gets a lot tougher, with a game Thursday against No. 3 California, which has held three opponents to 48 points per game and beat No. 2 Rutgers 66-52 on Friday.