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Women to face DePaul and Marquette

The USF women’s basketball team has a chance to make history this weekend.

With two wins, the Bulls (14-6, 4-2 C-USA) would tie the school record for wins in a season with 16. It won’t be easy though.

USF faces Marquette (12-6, 3-2 C-USA) tonight in the Al McGuire Center. The Bulls will then take on No. 17 DePaul (15-3, 4-1 C-USA) in the DePaul Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon. USF has struggled against both teams in recent years, and both the Blue Demons and the Golden Eagles made the NCAA tournament last year.

The Bulls are 0-10 against the Golden Eagles all-time and 3-8 versus the Blue Demons. However, this season’s team is much better than the teams before them. They have a legitimate shot at their first ever NCAA tournament berth. They also have their best scorer in years in sophomore forward Jessica Dickson, who scored 45 points in USF’s last two games and leads the team with 318 points, averaging 15.9 points a game.

Coach Jose Fernandez has an idea of what his team will need to do in the next month to have a chance at a tourney bid.

“Hopefully we can get to 19 or 20 wins, which will put us in good position for the NCAA tournament,” Fernandez said. “You figure that if they take five teams from Conference USA, we should be in the top five of the conference with 19 or 20 wins.”

USF will probably be without starting center Nalini Miller for at least two more weeks, but Miller should be ready to go in time for the Conference USA tournament.

With a successful weekend, everything could be in place for that NCAA tournament berth, but one or two losses will take the Bulls out of contention. Fernandez is confident in his team’s chances at the women’s tournament, but is making sure his players aren’t looking ahead to March too soon.

“We just have to continue taking it one game at a time and everything will fall into place,” Fernandez said.