Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez excited about new-look team

TAMPA — Jose Fernandez has raved about the talent level on USF's women's basketball roster, and Friday's opener against Jacksonville offers the first chance to see a lineup loaded with newcomers, such as high-scoring junior G Andrea Smith and 6-foot-4 freshman C Akila McDonald.

"This group has been very fun to coach; they've brought a lot of energy, a lot of intensity, a lot of commitment," Fernandez said Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to Friday to get things kicked off."

Smith, the national junior college player of the year, should give the Bulls the elite scorer they haven't had since Shantia Grace (2005-09) and Jessica Dickson (2003-07). McDonald starts a new era in the post after three seasons with Jessica Lawson entrenched there.

"She's still a freshman, she's going to make mistakes, but for a 6-4 kid and her physique, we've been very impressed," he said.

Fernandez could have three or four players making their first starts. Smith's twin, Andrell, might start on the wing, and he joked Tuesday that the two — who wear mirror jersey numbers in Nos. 21 (Andrea) and 12 — could create problems for game officials.

Fernandez should have his best depth ever, especially once PG Sasha Bernard, who has to sit out this semester because of NCAA transfer rules, joins the team next month. The Bulls will play their first two games without senior F Porche Grant, who has a suspension for an NCAA issue from before last season.

RECRUITING: Since USF joined the Big East, few Bulls coaches have gone into the Northeast and landed elite players the way softball coach Ken Eriksen has.

He'll get two more standouts today in pitcher Samantha Greiner of Sparta, N.J., and D'anna "Dee" Devine, a speedy outfielder and leadoff hitter from Fairless Hill, Pa. Both were teammates on the Newton Rock Gold travel team.

Eriksen, who will start his 15th season as head coach in February, signed one of their teammates last year in current freshman C Brittany Garvey, and it's the same travel program as former USF P Courtney Mosch. Three years ago, Eriksen landed another top pitcher from New Jersey in junior Capri Catalano.

THIS AND THAT: Today opens the fall signing period for basketball, baseball, softball and more. Stan Heath will sign two huge post players in 6-11 Andre Jackson and 7-3 Jordan Omogbehin, and Fernandez is expected to sign three, including Boca Ciega G Tamara Taylor. … USF started rolling out the sod on its new football practice fields Tuesday, and construction continues all over the Bulls athletic district — there's a "U" logo on the side of the third-base stands on the new baseball stadium. … Kickoff for next week's football home game against Pittsburgh has been set for noon, with national broadcast on ESPN2.

Greg Auman can be reached at and (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at

USF Bulls women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez excited about new-look team 11/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 6:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    Adeiny Hechavarria is quick to make his presence felt.
  2. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  3. Rays sign first-round pick Brendan McKay to record bonus

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — Determining whether top draft pick Brendan McKay will be more productive as a pitcher or a hitter or can handle the demands of doing both professionally will be a long endeavor that could take years.

    Louisville pitcher Brendan McKay  connects for a grand slam home run during the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament against Notre Dame in May in Louisville, Ky. [Timothy D. Easley/ via AP]
  4. At College World Series, the save goes to an LSU dad/doctor


    OMAHA, Neb. — The father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche' helped revive an 87-year-old man who was slumped on the TD Ameritrade Park concourse with no pulse during Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

    UF’s Tyler Dyson delivers against LSU in Tuesday’s late CWS Game 2. Go to
  5. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December


    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.