Fernandez ‘disappointed’ in win
Even though 22 of its points came from the free-throw line Wednesday night, the women’s basketball team managed another high-scoring affair in its second win of the season.
Having three different players score in double figures in the 82-53 win over Jacksonville with every player on the roster seeing playing time, USF coach Jose Fernandez wasn’t bluffing when he spoke of the depth on the court during preseason.
But while on paper it looked as if the Bulls (2-1) rolled past the Dolphins (0-2) with ease, scoring a season-high 82 points, Fernandez was more than just unsatisfied with the team afterward, speaking briefly in a postgame press conference that lasted less than two minutes.
“I was disappointed on how poorly we played and took care of the ball,” he said. “I thought the only thing we did well tonight was we attacked the glass.”
Sophomore guard Courtney Williams, who is said to have increased her vertical by four inches in the offseason, was one of the many to attack the rim with a total 15 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
New starting point guard, sophomore Shalethia Stringfield totaled 13 points with 7 of them from the line.
The referees held their whistles tight as the Bulls went to the line a total of 38 times. USF had been to the line 48 times in its first two games alone. Through the barrage of players scoring, it was the turnovers that held the Bulls back from putting up even more points.
“To have 21 turnovers tonight, averaging 12 in the first two games, we’re playing careless with the basketball,” Fernandez said. “I think we’re more concerned with going out and making flashy plays rather than making simple ones.”
Even with 6-foot-4 senior center Akila McDonald, who hit double figures first and was the leading scorer with 16 points, Fernandez said she not only should have scored as much as she did but that she could have scored more.
“She’s scoring on 5-foot-10, 5-foot-11 post players,” he said. “What did she have, 16 (points)? She could have had 30.”
Apart from the Dolphins scoring first on a layup and then tying the game, 4-4, with 16 minutes left until halftime, USF went on a 16-3 run and never looked back.
The run was ignited by senior forward Inga Orekhova, who drained a three-pointer and then another two plays later in the run.
Orekhova was an abysmal 0-8 from behind the arc in USF’s first two games, shooting 1-of-16 from the field, but it seems like she finally found a groove.
Her two three-pointers would be her only ones of the game, going 3-of-7 from the field while knocking down her only free throw. Along with attacking the glass, Orekhova’s few shots were just about the only other thing to brighten Fernandez’s otherwise displeasing night.
“It was good to see Inga make a couple shots and get her going,” he said.
With a second straight win and a disgruntled Fernandez, the Bulls seem to have a lot to work on as they head on the road for the first time this season, taking on Bradley on Sunday at 4 p.m.
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