USF women roll Bethune 84-49 in opener
Here's a first look at the women's basketball game story from Tuesday's opener. I'll have notes and observations later tonight, plus our story from the men's team's loss at Buffalo.
TAMPA -- It's nothing like what USF will face Thursday, but as openers go, Tuesday's 84-49 win against Bethune-Cookman gave the Bulls a good dose of confidence heading into a downtown showdown against Duke.
"I'm excited. We had a couple of mental mistakes, but that's going to happen with a whole new team," said guard Shantia Grace, who scored all of her 14 in the second half, including 11 in the first four minutes.
Facing a BCU team that went 5-25 last season, the Bulls (1-0) led just 17-13 early, then ended the half on a 25-6 run and opened the second with a 20-5 spurt. Center Jessica Lawson and point guard Jazmine Sepulveda had 16 points each in their USF debut, and sophomore Porche Grant had 14 rebounds and seven points off the bench. In all, 11 USF players played at least 11 minutes, and a Sun Dome crowd announced as 927 fans saw the Bulls hit 11 3-pointers, matching the fourth-highest total ever.
"It was good to get everybody in the ballgame," coach Jose Fernandez said. "The reality is that's not going to happen every night that we play. We're not going to have the luxury to turn the ball over 20 times and shoot (55) percent from the free-throw line like we did tonight."