Bulls win on the road at Pitt
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 01:02
That’s how the USF women’s basketball team felt after losing to No. 12 Louisville in the Sun Dome last week.
They were “tired of losing close games,” senior guard Andrea Smith said.
But the Bulls (15-6, 4-4) didn’t look tired Sunday as USF pulled away with a win, in dominating fashion, on the road against Pittsburgh — beating the Panthers (9-11, 0-7) 78-60.
“The big thing we talked to our team about after Louisville was putting it behind us,” coach Jose Fernandez said.
“Communication,” senior guard Andrell Smith said, was a big issue after the loss last week.
While the Bulls held a solid double figure lead most of the game, the Panthers looked to test USF in both areas, with 11:39 left in the game.
Panthers sophomore guard Brianna Kiesel drained a jumper that had them trailing 56-49, hoping to give Pittsburgh a chance.
“Anytime you go on the road in this league its difficult, it’s difficult to win on someone’s home floor,” Fernandez said. “With a Pittsburgh team that lost to DePaul at the buzzer, we wanted to make sure we didn’t have a letdown.”
Going on a 25-12 run to end the game, the Bulls showed they weren’t about to give up another comeback.
Pittsburgh entered the game Sunday winless in the Big East and looked to take down a “tired” Bulls squad but ended up playing a team with
something to prove.
USF finished the first half beating the Panthers in nearly every statistic across the board and holding a 43-33 lead.
As the freshmen for USF continue to play a bigger role, Sunday was no different.
Freshman forward Alisia Jenkins was well on her way to a double-double early on with nine points and seven rebounds, earning the double by the end of the day with 11 in both categories.
Jenkins’ presence on the glass has been huge boost for USF this season, averaging 9.9 rebounds per game placing her at second in the Big East and the team at third in rebounds overall.
With USF crashing the boards, it allowed for the Bulls to share the wealth and get a rhythm going throughout the night.
Coach Fernandez felt that the Jenkins played a big role, but it was the team as a whole that earned this win.
“Well I thought she went to the glass well, coming up with the double-double, but we
really shared the ball well,” he said. Jenkins’ performance aside, four other players scored into double figures: Junior guard Inga Orekhova, the Smith sisters, and one player that isn’t a regular on this list. Junior center Akilia McDonald helped to lead the Bulls early on with 10 points in the first half alone.
Fernandez described McDonald’s game as “one her best all season.”
“I think she ran the floor well, she was active and she finished,” Fernandez said.”She stayed within herself and did a good job defensively as well.”
Andrea and Andrell Smith, arguably the biggest critics of the Louisville loss, helped show that communicating and closing out games may be behind USF as they look forward to the second half of Big East play.
The Smith sisters finished with 15 points each. Andrell communicated well with her six assists, Andrea helping the rebound effort with five total.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t play down to the level of our opponent,” Fernandez said. “We wanted to make sure we do what we needed to do, that was defending and taking care of the basketball, and we did that.”
USF heads into another road game to tip off with Providence on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“We have a week to prepare,” Fernandez said. “I think this week is a week we need to use to really be concerned about us and adding stuff to build to our offense and defensive packaging.”