Bulls’ defense flexes muscles

For the second consecutive season, the USF women’s basketball team opened its exhibition season against EA Sports.

Different year, same result.

After being tested by the EA Sports team last season, the Bulls won in dominating fashion 96-65 in their first action of the year.

The exhibition game was to be the return of Anedra Gilmore to the Sun Dome. Last year, Gilmore scored 15 points against the opposition. Apparently, EA Sports was impressed. The former point guard was slated to be the starting guard, but Gilmore was not present for the contest against her former team.

Led by Ezria Parsons, who notched her first double-double of the year with 10 points and 17 rebounds, the Bulls outplayed EA Sports for most of the game. USF forced 20 turnovers and blocked six shots on the evening.

The Bulls did not leave the game unscathed. Less than two minutes into the contest, senior guard Tristen Webb was fouled hard while driving the basket and was carried off the court by trainers. Coach Jose Fernandez said Webb will have an MRI today to see the extent of the damage.

“I’m really disappointed,” Fernandez said. “(Webb) had a really good spring and summer.”Webb had returned from last year’s season-ending ACL injury. On the second play of the game, Webb drained a 3-pointer to put USF up 5-0.

The loss of Webb opened up the door for freshmen guards Jessica Jackson and Shanita Grace, as the two combined for 21 points off the bench. The Bulls began the game on a 13-0 run behind a strong defense that forced 12 first-half turnovers that led to 14 USF points.USF led 46-27 at the half.

“I told everybody that these two newcomers are very good,” Fernandez said. “Rachel Sheats can play the point as well.”

Sheats led the Bulls in scoring with 19 points, while USF only dressed eight players for Tuesday’s game.

Fernandez now has to worry about replacing Webb in the lineup.

“The big concern right now is our depth,” Fernandez said “I really thought that (Webb) could do a great job of replacing Anedra Gilmore.”