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USF-UConn women’s hoops clash set for Feb. 16 in Tampa

The Bulls also have an afternoon home game the same day as the Gasparilla parade.
USF guard Enna Pehadzic (0), USF center Shae Leverett (21) and Houston guard Julia Blackshell-Fair (33) battle for A loose ball at the Yuengling Center last season. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
USF guard Enna Pehadzic (0), USF center Shae Leverett (21) and Houston guard Julia Blackshell-Fair (33) battle for A loose ball at the Yuengling Center last season. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Sep. 19
Updated Sep. 19

Though USF women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez has insisted his team will continue playing Connecticut regularly, the Big East-bound Huskies have only one upcoming trip to the Yuengling Center definitively slated.

The Bulls and Huskies will meet in Tampa for the last time as American Athletic Conference foes on Sunday, Feb. 16. The 2 p.m. matchup ― to be live-streamed via ESPN3 ― was confirmed as part of the complete conference schedule released Thursday by the league.

USF’s return trip to UConn ― to be televised on ESPN2 ― is set for March 2 at 7 p.m. The teams could meet a third time in the AAC tournament, also to be held in Connecticut from March 6-9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville.

The Huskies join the Big East in the 2020-21 season.

Sure to attract far less fanfare is a 2 p.m. home game against Tulane on Jan. 25, same day as the annual Gasparilla parade. The scheduling glitch comes three years after the Bulls played an evening game at Memphis on Super Bowl Sunday.

Thursday’s conference schedule unveiling completes the Bulls’ 2019-20 slate, which includes a Nov. 19 trip to reigning national champ Baylor; a Nov. 30 contest against ’19 national runnerup Notre Dame in Cancun, Mexico; and a Dec. 19 contest against 2017 and ’18 NCAA runnerup Mississippi State in Las Vegas.

RELATED: Baylor, Notre Dame, Mississippi State highlight USF women’s non-league slate

“We are excited about this year’s conference schedule, but we can’t control who and when we play,” Fernandez said in a school news release.

“One thing that we can control is the months of November and December during the non-conference schedule because we choose those games. I think that there is no doubt that we have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country and that will prepare us for conference play.”

Ten of the Bulls’ conference games will air on an ESPN network (including ESPN3). They host UCF on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. (ESPN2), and face the Knights in Orlando on Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. (ESPN3).

Fernandez returns seven players who started at least 12 games last season, when the injury-ravaged Bulls (19-16) still clinched a WNIT berth. The five-member freshman class includes four European-born players.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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