After defeating Arkansas State 98-55 on Friday, No. 17 USF (4-0) was able to finish its four game homestand perfect by downing Butler (3-1) 71-55 in front of an announced crowd of 2,223 at the Sun Dome Monday night.
USF was propelled to victory by an explosive second quarter. The Bulls outscored the Bulldogs 23-8 in the second quarter while shooting 69% from the field. Head coach Jose Fernandez was pleased by the nice second quarter his team had.
“The second quarter was huge for us,” Fernandez said. “We went on a little bit of a run there.”
The Bulls were led offensively by three scorers in double figures. Senior guard Laura Ferreira and junior guard Kitija Laksa led all USF scorers with 17 points each. Senior forward Maria Jespersen had 14 points in addition to playing all 40 minutes of the game.
“Everyone’s been playing hard,” Laksa said. “[They’ve] been taking advantage of the minutes they’ve been given.”
On the other side of the ball, Butler was led offensively by three scorers in double figures. Junior guard Whitney Jennings and junior forward Tori Schickel led all scorers with 18 points each. Sophomore guard Kristen Spolyar was the third Bulldog in double figures, with 10 points off the bench.
“We’re an asterisk on everybody’s schedule,” Fernandez said about Butler’s offensive performance. “We’re gonna geteverybody’s best punch. Hand it to them, they came in here and those first ten minutes, they played aggressively and they made shots. We’ve just gotta stay in the moment and continue to do what we do well.”
Next up for the Bulls is a trip to the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, where they will take on Washington State on Black Friday at 5 p.m. The Bulls return to the Sun Dome on Dec.15 for a game against Southern University.
“It’s always fun to win games and start the season right,”Laksa said. “We’re excited to go to the tournament [in Estero] and get more wins.”