The clichÃ© says that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, but the USF women’s basketball team is trying to dispel that notion. With only seven winning seasons in the program’s 29-year history, maybe they should forget most of that history.
The Bulls (11-3, 1-0 in Conference USA) will try to erase more of their past when they host Marquette tonight at 7 and DePaul (8-6, 1-0) 2 p.m. Sunday. The Bulls and Golden Eagles (7-7, 0-1) have only met seven times, all since 1996, but USF has yet to beat Marquette. Last year, Marquette knocked off the Bulls 64-55 Feb. 18 in the Sun Dome.
That game should have no bearing on this year’s contest, according to USF coach Jose Fernandez.
“Last year’s game was a lot different because we played such a slow-down, control-the-ball tempo style of offense, so we really matched up well with Marquette,” Fernandez said. “And the tempo of the game really played into our hands. This year, we cannot afford to let Marquette take 25, 26 seconds off the shot clock. We really have to force them into playing our style – and up-tempo style because we’re much smaller and we want the game to be fast paced.”
A fast-paced game in the ilk of the men’s game vs. TCU would certainly seem to favor the Bulls. USF leads the conference with a +13.36 turnover margin, while Marquette is 11th out of 14 squads, with a -1.08 in the turnover department. The Bulls are also scoring nearly 83 points per game. Conversely, the Golden Eagles’ average output is 60.8 ppg, good for 10th in C-USA. Marquette is yet to allow anyone to score more than 70 points in a game, while USF has scored less than 70 just once – its 90-66 loss to then-No. 20 Florida Dec. 8.
“We want to create a lot of our offensive points to feed off our defense – getting up and making them turn the ball over,” Fernandez said. “Hopefully, as we did in practice, (we’ll) make them get out of what they want to do, and that is walking the ball up the court and running a ton of sets.”
- Anthony Gagliano covers women’s basketball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org