The most excruciating season of the 19-year Jose Fernandez era got even grimmer earlier this week with the news that fifth-year senior Laura Ferreira is out indefinitely with an unspecified illness.
For those filling out this bleak scorecard at home, that's the fourth significant strike of adversity to this program since the summer. As a result, the Bulls (10-6, 1-1) head to third-ranked Connecticut on Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN) with nine healthy scholarship players (five of them freshmen).
"Let me tell you right now, they're gonna have a lot of adversity in the real world," Fernandez said following Tuesday's 62-49 loss to UCF.
"They're gonna have to deal with a lot tougher things than winning or losing a basketball game. But the good thing is, we've got some excellent young ladies in our program, and we will continue to prepare and fight and attack each day with great enthusiasm, and get 'em ready for the next game."
It's all they can do in the face of mounting misfortune. And has it ever mounted this season.
Here's a timeline of the injuries/departures that have stricken Fernandez's squad in the last several months:
* June 2018: F Silvia Serrat, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, suffers a season-ending knee injury while competing with her age-group national team in Spain. Serrat had redshirted the 2017-18 season while rehabbing an Achilles injury.
* October 2018: Days before the season opener, veteran SG Vanessa Blagmon stuns the Bulls staff by requesting her release (she later lands at Old Dominion).
* Nov. 15, 2018: Top scorer Kitija Laksa, a two-time first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick and All-America candidate, suffers a torn right ACL and meniscus damage in a victory against Bethune-Cookman.
* Jan. 3, 2019: USF announces 6-3 freshman Beatriz Jordao will miss the rest of the season with a left leg injury. Jordao averaged 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 12 games.
* Jan. 8, 2019: Prior to the Bulls' home game against rival UCF, the school announces fifth-year senior wing player Laura Ferreira will be sidelined indefinitely due to an unspecified illness.