TAMPA — Twenty-four games into the USF-Connecticut women’s basketball series, a flawless contest against the Huskies remains the Bulls’ figurative white whale.
Instead, an announced Sun Dome crowd of 6,659 (a record for a Bulls women’s home game) settled for another whale of a performance Saturday by the conference juggernaut.
In a convincing display of superior length, sleekness and accuracy, the top-ranked Huskies rolled to a 100-49 romp of the Bulls, widely considered their most viable threat in the American Athletic Conference.
On a night when they needed perfection, the Bulls (12-4, 2-1 AAC) couldn’t even muster proficient, shooting 27.8 percent (20-of-72) from the floor and 22.6 percent (7-of-31) from 3-point range. UConn (13-0, 3-0) had a 33-8 lead before the Bulls made a shot beyond the free-throw line (a Laia Flores 3-pointer).
USF’s top three scorers —6-foot forward Maria Jespersen, 5-11 wing Laura Ferreira and 6-foot guard Kitija Laksa — combined to go 4-of-40 from the floor.
"I thought the ball didn’t go in the basket for us, and we didn’t defend and go to the glass as we usually do," Bulls coach Jose Fernandez said. "I think we’re a very good offensive team, but for us to have a chance, we can’t shoot as poorly as we did."
The conference’s No. 2 scorer (21.5 ppg), Laksa was smothered most of the night by Kia Nurse, finishing 0-of-11 from the floor with three fouls and betraying visible frustration. The scoreless outing was the second of Laksa’s career and first since a 10-point loss to Mississippi State on Dec. 30, 2015.
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