USF (2-0) topped Tennessee-Martin (0-2) with defense at the Image Depot Shootout at the Sun Dome on Sunday.
The Bulls’ defense forced 21 turnovers, had 17 steals and set a new single-game mark for blocks in a game (15) as the Bulls beat the Skyhawks 78-44 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Early in the first half, though, it was Tennessee-Martin’s zone defense that USF was struggling against.
“I think our team played well for the first 12 minutes,” Skyhawks coach Tara Tansil said. “But I thought they hit another gear after that. They forced us into some silly turnovers. That’s when we got a little flat, and they are too good a team for us to do that.”
The Bulls started to bury shots and attack the Skyhawks’ zone, scoring 20 points in the paint for the half. USF also took advantage of the Skyhawks’ mistakes by scoring 21 points off turnovers.
In the second half, the Bulls had 13 turnovers, but freshman Jessica Jackson picked up the slack with four three pointers, finishing the game 5-for-11 from behind the arc.
Ezria Parsons and center Nalini Miller were both named to the all-tournament team. Miller led the Bulls’ defense with five steals and a career-high seven blocks.
Forward Jessica Dickson scored 26 points and was named Most Valuable Player in the tournament.
“It’s great to start a season off the way we have,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said.