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Women's basketball: Ahead to next season ...



The same strength that carried USF's women's basketball team to a WNIT championship -- a nucleus of four seniors in the starting lineup -- will make it that much harder next season for Jose Fernandez, who will welcome in a recruiting class of at least seven players to work with a few key returning Bulls.

The biggest players returning are junior guard Janae Stokes -- who led the NCAA and set a Big East record for 3-pointers in a season -- and freshman guard Jasmine Wynne, who moved into the starting lineup at the end of the season. The post has two solid players returning in juniors Porche Grant and Melissa Dalembert, who got steady minutes in a four-player rotation this past season. The only other returning scholarship player is junior Allyson Speed, who has seen spot duty off the bench this season.

The incoming recruiting class won't replenish the experience and leadership USF had from guards Shantia Grace and Jazmine Sepulveda, as well as post players Jessica Lawson and Brittany Denson, but there's enough talent to keep the Bulls competitive in the Big East despite the heavy losses to graduation.

The biggest impact might be Tahira Johnson, a 6-foot-1 forward from New York who is ranked among the nation's top 100 recruits -- No. 79 specifically -- by's HoopGurlz rankings; junior college standouts Dominique English and Sequoyah Griffin continue Fernandez's success at finding talent in the juco ranks, following Sepulveda and Stokes in the past two years. Center Jessica Monroe of North Carolina is the biggest in the class at 6-3, along with 6-1 forward Aleshia Flowers of Texas. The Bulls will bolster their guard depth with 5-9 Tiffany Conner of New Jersey and 5-7 Kaneisha Saunders from Delray Beach, and Fernandez still has at least one more scholarship available to use this spring ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:13pm]


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