Women's hoops: Pujol leads Bulls past pesky JU
USF's women, who need every RPI-friendly win they can attain in non-conference play, notched a victory Monday evening that just might come back to help them in March.
Behind senior Ariadna Pujol's career-high 21 points, the Bulls topped reigning Atlantic Sun Conference champ Jacksonville, 64-52, in a sluggishly-paced game before an announced Sun Dome crowd of 1,776.
USF (2-0) now heads to the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas, where it can further fortify its postseason resume starting Thanksgiving Day against North Carolina. It likely will need to improve its scoring balance and tempo for a shot at upending the Tar Heels.
"It just seemed we could just never get up and down the floor," said Bulls coach Jose Fernandez, whose team managed only three fast-break points. "And I thought JU did a good job, transition-wise, taking some things away."
Hampered by a couple of scoring funks, USF watched the Dolphins cut their deficit to five, 32-27, before embarking on a 14-6 run in the third period. Sophomore Kitija Laksa had seven of her 15 points during that spurt, including consecutive dribble-drives to the basket.
Pujol also did significant damage via dribble penetration, with none of her points coming from behind the 3-point line. Junior forward Maria Jespersen (11 points) was the only other Bull in double figures.
"I thought (Pujol) attacked, she created off the dribble," Fernandez said. "But we've just got to get more production from some other guys, that's for sure. That's just not us, we can't be in the 60s."