With two wins this weekend, the Bulls can be 4-0 for the first time in their 10 years in Conference-USA play. It won’t be easy though, as standing in their way are two legitimate contenders for the conference title in TCU and Houston.
The Bulls will be without sophomore Nalini Miller, who is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury. The good news is that certain players have shown they can step it up without Miller.
“We need Rachael Sheats and Ezria Parsons to really step up their games the most,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said.
Sheats will look to build on her career-high 26-point game against Cincinnati on Jan 9. She showed the ability to be an efficient scorer despite having to guard the opposing team’s best player.
Also back in the lineup is Ezria Parsons, who has fully recovered from the concussion she suffered in the Jan 7. game against Louisville.
Defense will be key this weekend, as the Bulls have the best scoring defense in C-USA and will have to keep up with the high-octane offenses of TCU and Houston. TCU has already dispatched No. 3 Georgia and No. 13 Michigan State; Houston, on the other hand, is sixth overall in C-USA scoring offense, with USF two spots higher at fourth.
“Defending the post and getting rebounds will be most important this weekend, since any game on the road is tough in this conference,” Fernandez said.
Winning both games would provide a surge of momentum for the Bulls and would place them at the top of the C-USA standings. But Fernandez knows the dangers of looking too far ahead, and that March is still a dozen games away.
“Our goal is to win the C-USA title. We need to take it one game at a time and stay on an even keel,” Fernandez said.