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Okpaleke, Messina out for USF women's hoops



If USF can land a spot in the Women's NIT next week, the Bulls will have to venture into the postseason without two key contributors sidelined for the rest of this season.

Senior forward ChiChi Okpaleke, who made crucial plays in her final home game to lead USF past Pittsburgh, tore her MCL in USF's win at Marquette last week. When the Bulls returned from Milwaukee, they learned that freshman guard Gianna Messina had mononucleosis and would not play again this season. Okpaleke has been USF's top rebounder, averaging 6.4 rebounds, while Messina has averaged 4.6 points, mostly off the bench.

The Bulls (16-15) closed with three wins in the last four games, including two against RPI top 30 teams in Pittsburgh and Syracuse, and coach Jose Fernandez said Monday he's optimistic about his team's chances of earning a berth in the Women's NIT. The field is expected to be announced either late on Monday, March 17 or early on March 18.

"I think this team is very deserving of getting into the postseason," Fernandez said. "I couldn't be happier with the way we finished."

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:15pm]


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