Bulls ready for third round of WNIT

The Bulls (23-10, 8-8) have a luxury that most teams don’t get in the postseason: playing on their home court.

“I won’t say it gives us an advantage, but it gives us energy because it feels good to play on your home court,” said USF senior Jessica Lawson.

USF tips off its second consecutive postseason home game when it hosts Ole Miss (18-14, 5-9) tonight at 7 in the third round of the WNIT. The contest marks the furthest the Bulls have been in a postseason tournament.

Two weeks ago, the Bulls were left out of the NCAA tournament. Lawson said she is making the best of the situation at hand, however.

“We’re just enjoying the moment,” she said. “Not many teams can say they’re still playing in the postseason.”

The Bulls are coming off an 88-81 overtime victory over Florida Gulf Coast in the second round. Mississippi took care of Murray State Sunday with a 38-point victory.

Coach Jose Fernandez said he and his team are working toward a postseason championship.

“Practice has been really good,” Fernandez said. “I think they’re focused on playing and moving on — that’s what this tournament is about.”

It’s the nature of the postseason that each game carries with it the possibility that it’ll be the seniors’ last. Though this could be daunting for some, Lawson, who scored 19 points against Florida Gulf Coast, said it serves as motivation for the team.

“You never want to play your last game,” Lawson said. “You always play to win because you don’t want it to be your last.”

Senior guard Jazmine Sepulveda, who played a game-high 42 minutes against Florida Gulf Coast, said she is not dwelling on the fact that her time at USF is drawing to a close.

“There always comes the end to college basketball, and there’s always your life with what you decide to do after,” Sepulveda said. “It just gives us more motivation to work hard and want to play the game.”

In an effort to strengthen support for the home team, USF will let the first 100 students into the game free with a valid student ID, according to www.gousfbulls.com.

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