Playing against a squad featuring graduates from programs such as Florida, Tennessee and UCONN, the Bulls got tested and they passed.
In their first action of the season, the USF women’s basketball team defeated EA Sports 74-68 in an exhibition game Monday at the Sun Dome.
EA Sports is a traveling team consisting of former Division I basketball players, and Monday’s game at USF was the first on their 15-game schedule.
“You look at their roster and you see a bunch of All-Americans,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “It shows our kids that we could have a really special season.”
The Bulls were up by as many as 19 points in the second half and were led by senior point guard Anedra Gilmore, who did it all, with 14 points, four assists and five steals.
“(Gilmore) is a captain and leader,” Fernandez said. “What she did is expected of her.”
USF’s leading scorer was center Nalini Miller with 17 points. Miller, a sophomore, also had seven rebounds. Forward Ezria Parsons had a double-double, scoring 14 and getting 17 rebounds. Sophomore Jessica Dickson dropped in 13 points for the Bulls, who next face the Miami Sun in an exhibition game Saturday. USF’s regular season starts Nov. 12 at the WNIT when it faces Middle Tennessee State.
The Bulls withstood a furious comeback late in the second half as EA Sports turned a 19-point deficit with five minutes to go into a seven-point deficit with two minutes to go.
“A lead like that could be erased in a short amount of time with the kind of players they had,” Fernandez said. “We didn’t play with the same amount of effort and intensity down the stretch. Free-throw shooting and a couple missed layups turned a big lead into a small lead.”
Guard Maria Conlon, a three-year starter at UCONN, led EA Sports with a game-high 20 points. Conlon, who won three NCAA championships as a Husky, graduated in 2003.