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USF women’s basketball team loses another top scorer to injury

Six-foot-3 freshman Beatriz Jordao was averaging 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Bulls.
USF coach Jose Fernandez enters American Athletic Conference play with 10 healthy scholarship players. [GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | Times]
USF coach Jose Fernandez enters American Athletic Conference play with 10 healthy scholarship players. [GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | Times]
Published Jan. 3, 2019
Updated Jan. 3, 2019

Another prominent name has been shoehorned into the USF women's congested injury report.

Six-foot-3 freshman Beatriz Jordao, the Bulls' third-leading scorer, has been lost for the year to an unspecified leg injury, the school announced Thursday.

That leaves USF (9-5) with 10 healthy scholarship players for the 18-game American Athletic Conference schedule, which begins Saturday at Temple. Now, the program's quest for a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth appears in serious peril.

"This has been difficult for Beatriz, who has been a major contributor to our program in her first season and has a very bright future," Coach Jose Fernandez said in a statement released by the school. "She will take the time she needs to recover and allow the injury to heal and we will support her through this process."

In 12 games, Jordao — a member of Portugal's under-20 national team — averaged 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds. She had a double-double in her collegiate debut, totaling 17 points and 10 boards in a 71-47 victory at Ohio State.

The leg injury surfaced in late November, the school indicated, causing her to miss two games the following month. The decision to shut her down the rest of the season was made earlier this week.

It comes less than two months after top scorer Kitija Laksa suffered a torn ACL against Bethune-Cookman. Additionally, 6-1 sophomore F Silvia Serrat remains sidelined by injury, and veteran SG Vanessa Blagmon left the program days before the Bulls' season opener (she has since landed at Old Dominion).

Whether Jordao qualifies for a hardship waiver from the NCAA is unclear for now. Generally, applicants cannot have appeared in more than 30 percent of their team's games, but other moving pieces are involved in the process.

On a positive note, five-star Latvian prospect Luize Septe, initially set to enroll last summer, recently joined the program and is eligible, adding woefully needed depth on the USF perimeter.

"Losing Beatriz is another tough blow for our team," said Fernandez, whose team enters AAC play on a three-game losing streak and saddled with a modest RPI (145th). "But we remain resilient and focused on our goals this season."