The USF women’s basketball team had a tough first weekend, dropping its first two games of the season by 11 points each.The Bulls (0-2) lost at Miami 60-49 on Friday night, and lost to Florida 70-59 in Gainesville on Sunday.
USF shot under 30 percent from the field and turned the ball over more than 20 times in both games. These two areas prevented the Bulls from breaking into the win category against two quality opponents on the road.
“We’re shooting the ball terrible right now,” Coach Jose Fernandez said. “We’re getting good looks at the basket, but the ball just isn’t dropping. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the way you want it to.”
In the first game against Miami, the Bulls shot 29 percent from the floor, including just 7 percent (1-14) from three-point range. USF also turned the ball over 24 times.
To make matters worse, the Bulls only shot 36 percent from the free-throw line (8-of-22). Had the Bulls capitalized better at the line, the end result could have been different.
Aiya Shepard led the Bulls with 16 points but only managed to shoot 6-of-21 from the field and missed all seven attempts from three-point range. Center Jameelah Trimble chipped in 10 points and six rebounds in the loss to Miami.
The Bulls’ shooting woes got worse when they traveled north to Gainesville for a matchup against the Gators. USF shot just 24 percent from the field in the loss.
Forward Sarah Lochmann had a good day against Florida, producing career and game-highs in both points (26) and rebounds (14). It was also Lochmann’s first career double-double.
“Sarah is finally healthy,” Fernandez said. “She did a great job, especially on the offensive glass.”
No other Bulls scored in double figures against the Gators. But USF’s defense did a good job containing pre-season Naismith candidate Vanessa Hayden, limiting her to just 13 points.
Fernandez said he knew the first two games of the season would be difficult, and although the Bulls failed to win, he did see some good signs from his team.
“We played two quality tournament teams this weekend,” Fernandez said. “We knew what we were getting into. Our effort and intensity levels were great. We dug ourselves out of some big-time holes and continued to battle.
“We have to stay confident and positive. We’re not going to keep our heads down.”
Although the first weekend didn’t go as well as the Bulls would have liked, Fernandez and his team know there are plenty more games to go in the season.
“I’m not concerned,” Fernandez said. “We’ve just got to come out and value every possession. We’re not going to change anything.”
The Bulls’ next game is their home opener Wednesday night against Chicago State at the Sun Dome.
Adam Adkins covers USF women’s basketball and can be reached at email@example.com