USF women beat Pitt for key home win
After opening Big East play with three straight losses against top competition, USF's women's basketball team has bounced back with a pair of home wins, the latest an easy 68-51 win against Pittsburgh.
"This team has continued to improve and develop throughout the season," coach Jose Fernandez said. "These guys have bought in, and they really believe for us to be successful, we need to defend and we need to take care of the basketball."
USF (11-7, 2-3) came out unstoppable beyond the arc -- their first seven made baskets were all 3-pointers, including five from senior guard Janae Stokes, who had 15 points in the first eight minutes.
"Once Janae gets started, she's the fire," said center Jessica Lawson, who had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. "I think Janae brought it out in us tonight. Coach said if you jump out on them early, they kind of start putting their heads down. They did that tonight."
Stokes finished with 20 points to lead four players in double figures, and the Bulls led by as many as 21 points in the second half before Pittsburgh (11-7, 0-5) cut the lead to single digits at one point.
The Bulls suffered a potentially significant injury as sophomore guard Jasmine Wynne left the game in the first half with a right knee injury, listed as a possible ACL sprain or tear, pending an MRI exam.
A week ago, USF was 0-6 against teams in the RPI top 120, but they've now added two wins, beating Syracuse on Saturday and Pittsburgh on Wednesday. USF's RPI was up to 78 entering the game, according to CollegeRPI.com, but that's still the 12th-best RPI in the Big East.
The Bulls now hit the road, with games at St. John's (15-3, RPI 28) and Cincinnati (8-8, RPI 108).