Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Sports

Coach Jose Fernandez earns 300th win as USF women rout Memphis

TAMPA — On an atypical night when they delivered coach Jose Fernandez his 300th career victory, USF's women delivered little else resembling a 3.

Subsisting more in the paint than the perimeter for a change, the 23rd-ranked Bulls topped Memphis 79-49 to give Fernandez his milestone triumph before a Sun Dome crowd of 1,951.

All 300 wins have come at USF, which promoted Fernandez (300-228) after the dismissal of Jerry Ann Winters shortly before Fernandez's 29th birthday in 2000.

"It's special," Fernandez said. "I'm thankful for the support, for (former Bulls athletic director) Paul Griffin hiring me, for Lee Roy Selmon giving me my first extension, and for the support of women's basketball since (current AD) Mark Harlan has arrived."

Fernandez was honored with a short video tribute — with testimonials from players and administrators — after the game. His team honored him during it by proving it can win via the layup as effectively as the long ball.

The Bulls (15-2, 4-1 American Athletic Conference) entered the game averaging eight 3-pointers but finished 4-of-15 from long range. Far more efficient in the interior, they scored 42 in the paint and finished with a 43-33 rebounding advantage.

Inflicting a bulk of the damage was 6-foot junior Maria Jespersen, who tied her career high with 26 points; and senior Ariadna Pujol, who notched her second career double double (17 points, 10 rebounds).

"Memphis is a really aggressive team," Jespersen said, "and they got us a little higher than other teams do. And then our 3-point shot didn't really fall today, so we had to take it to the rim and that worked."

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