1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

Bulls women fall in second round of WNIT

USF has a miserable offensive night in a 71-54 loss
USF women's coach Jose Fernandez's team fell to James Madison in Sunday's second round of the WNIT. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Mar. 25

In a season when they've overcome adversity and odds, USF's women couldn't overcome a miserable offensive effort Sunday.

As a result, their quest for 20 wins and a WNIT championship came to an end. The Bulls (19-16) shot 31.7 percent from the floor (19-for-60) and went 2-for-14 from 3-point range in a 71-54 second-round loss to James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va.

Up by a point after one quarter, the Bulls managed only two second-period field goals as the Dukes ended the half with an 18-1 run for a 42-26 lead at intermission. They cut their deficit to seven midway through the second half, but went 3-for-14 from the floor in the final 10 minutes.

“We beat ourselves,” Bulls coach Jose Fernandez said on USF’s official radio broadcast. “I thought we didn’t close out that first quarter when we were up five, and then it trickled to the second quarter when they shot (71.4) percent from the floor.”

Buoyed by the return of junior guard Kamiah Smalls (17 points) from a hand injury, the Dukes (27-5) shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and hit 10 3-pointers. Guard Jackie Benitez led the hosts with 26 points, finishing 7-for-15 from long range.

“They got excited with (Smalls) coming back,” Fernandez said. “If she doesn’t get hurt in their conference tournament, they’re in the NCAA Tournament right now.”

Low-post standouts Tamara Henshaw and Shae Leverett combined for 26 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Bulls, who had three starters on the shelf to season-ending injuries by early January.

“We didn’t get to 20 wins like we wanted to, but we got a lot from this bunch,” Fernandez said. “Now we’ve got to get them better in the offseason.”


  1. USF quarterback Blake Barnett (11) tackled by SMU linebacker JC Rispress (32) while throwing during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 28. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The graduate transfer quarterback injured his ankle against SMU.
  2. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) celebrates his touchdown reception with wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (89) and tight end Kyle Pitts (84) in the first half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: Times college football writer Matt Baker discusses Florida-South Carolina, USF-Navy, FSU-Wake Forest and the conference already out of the College Football Playoff picture.
  3. Florida head coach Dan Mullen prepares to take the field with his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Some mid-year thoughts on the Florida Gators, FSU Seminoles, USF Bulls, plus some predictions for what happens next.
  4. USF quarterback Jordan McCloud (12), scoring a touchdown during the second half against BYU, had to wear a glove on his injured throwing hand to help him grip the ball. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Additionally, the redshirt freshman continues nursing an injured shoulder
  5. USF quarterback Jordan McCloud (12) runs past BYU defensive lineman Zac Dawe (99) for a touchdown behind Bulls guard Demetris Harris during the second half of Saturday's 27-23 triumph at Raymond James Stadium. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Bulls’ resurgent offensive line has helped spark a two-game win streak
  6. Former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers was drafted by the XFL's Tampa Bay Vipers on Tuesday.
    The XFL club selects the record-setting Bulls quarterback as a running back.
  7. A Navy ROTC cadet matches his pushups with the USF-Navy score during a 2016 game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A stout defense and sleek quarterback have sparked the Midshipmen’s resurgence.
  8. USF point guard LaQuincy Rideau (3) was named to the coaches preseason All-American Athletic Conference first team on Monday. JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Bulls point guard Laquincy Rideau is a first-team pick on the preseason all-conference squad
  9. USF defensive lineman Kelvin Pinkney (96) celebrates the stop against BYU during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Suddenly, bowl eligibility doesn’t seem so far-fetched for the Bulls.
  10. BYU quarterback Baylor Romney (16) is stopped on fourth down by the USF defense during the second half Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Journal: The school also announces $2.5 million in athletic department donations, a good chunk of which will go toward an indoor practice facility.