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USF continues home stretch against No. 7 Rutgers

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012

Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2012 02:01


The USF women's basketball team notched an overtime victory over a ranked team Tuesday night, but will have little time to regroup as an even tougher test awaits in No. 7 Rutgers on Saturday night.

The Bulls (11-8, 3-2) had three players reach double figures as they dropped the Blue Demons 66-63, led by 16 points each from senior guard Jasmine Wynne and junior guard Kaneisha Saunders. Junior guard Inga Orekhova added 13 points.

The game was only Orekhova's fourth of the season since becoming eligible after the Bulls' first conference game. In her short time on the floor, Orekhova has excelled as a strong offensive option for coach Jose Fernandez.

The Bulls have played the first half of the season without last year's leading scorer, Andrea Smith. Smith averaged 16.5 points per game before tearing her ACL in the Big East Tournament in March.

She was close to returning this season, but is using a medical redshirt to preserve a year of eligibility. The Bulls will have to finish the season without her.

In Orekhova, USF found a talented sharpshooter. She averages 15.5 points per game and shoots at a high 46.7 percent from the floor and an exceptional 43.2 percent from 3-point range.

Orekhova will be put to the test against the Scarlet Knights (15-3, 4-1), one of the most established programs in the country. Rutgers reached the NCAA Tournament for the ninth consecutive time last season and is one of 10 schools to achieve that streak.

Rutgers returns four starters from last year's team in April Sykes, Khadijah Rushdan, Monique Oliver and Chelsey Lee. Those four players combined accounted for 45.3 points per game, nearly 75 percent of the team's total.

Tipoff at the Campus Recreation Center, where the Bulls are 5-1 this season, is set for 7 p.m.

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