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Jose Fernandez gets 400th win as USF women beat High Point

Fernandez has helped the Bulls to seven NCAA Tournament bids, 16 postseason appearances in the last 17 years, and nine 20-victory seasons.
USF coach Jose Fernandez celebrates after the Bulls beat High Point 62-46, giving him his 400th career win.
USF coach Jose Fernandez celebrates after the Bulls beat High Point 62-46, giving him his 400th career win. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Dec. 18, 2021|Updated Dec. 18, 2021

TAMPA — From recruiting coordinator, to months later head coach, to 22 seasons later a milestone.

Happy 400th victory, Jose Fernandez.

The USF women’s coach reached the mark Friday night as Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu scored a game-high 19 to lead the No. 16 Bulls past High Point 62-46 at the Yuengling Center.

Fernandez, who in November 2000 was elevated from recruiting coordinator to coach after just months at USF, took over a moribund program that hadn’t finished better than one-game over .500 since moving to Division I in 1982.

USF's Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu goes up for a layup against High Point on Friday.
USF's Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu goes up for a layup against High Point on Friday. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

After going 4-24 in his first season in 2000, Fernandez has helped the Bulls to seven NCAA Tournament bids, 16 postseason appearances in the past 17 years, and nine 20-victory seasons. His record is now 400-279.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Fernandez, 50, dead-panned after the game. “I should have a lot of wins.”

The Bulls (8-3) missed their first seven shots and committed two turnovers in the first five minutes as High Point (3-6) scored eight of the first nine points. But USF closed the quarter on a 13-4 run to take a two-point lead.

The Panthers’ Nakyah Terrell made a layup to open the scoring in the second quarter and tie it at 14, but Bethy Mununga answered with a 3 and the Bulls led the rest of the way.

Mununga shot 6-of-8 from the field and finished with 16 points for USF. Elena Tsineke added 14 points and five assists, and Elisa Pinzan had a game-high 10 assists.

Jensen Edwards made 7 of 11 overall, and was 3-of-4 from 3-point range, to finish with 17 points for High Point. The rest of the Panthers shot just 21 percent (8-of-38) from the field.

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