USF women pull out opener vs. Dolphins
TAMPA -– USF’s shooting needed a half to come around, but the Bulls dug out of an early 11-point hole and held on for an 82-77 win against Jacksonville in the Bulls’ opener on Friday night in the Sun Dome.
“We knew our offense was going to get going. It was just a matter of time,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “We came out of the locker room ready to play, and got stuff off our defense.”
Junior guard Andrea Smith had a game-high 21 points in her Bulls debut, but did so on 10-for-29 shooting. Sophomore KaNeisha Saunders provided a much-needed spark off the bench with 18 points and a game-high seven assists, and junior forward Daleisha Carn had 16 points in her debut.
The Bulls used a 16-3 run to pull out to a 67-52 lead, then saw Jacksonville (0-1) get within four, mostly on free throws. USF went 1-for-12 on 3-pointers and 19-for-34 on free throws, but won by forcing 26 turnovers.
“It’s very disappointing when you shoot that poorly from the field and from the free-throw line,” said Smith, who started alongside her twin sister Andrell. “That’s something we’re going to work on as we move on this year.”
USF travels to face Middle Tennessee State on Sunday, then returns home to face Stetson on Wednesday.