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Working for the weekend


St. John’s (7-6, 0-2 Big East) at USF (6-9, 0-2 Big East)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Sun Dome

The story: After coming off two consecutive tough defeats against Syracuse and West Virginia, the Bulls are looking for their first Big East conference win against the St. John’s Red Storm at home on Saturday.

“Every conference game is going to be tough,” coach Robert McCullum said. “That is what makes conference play so special.”

St. John’s is also looking for its first Big East win of the season after losses to Seton Hall and Georgetown. The Red Storm are led in scoring by Darryl Hill, who has missed the last four consecutive games due to a knee injury. St. John’s is 2-2 in the games in which Hill did not play. The Red Storm are second in the Big East in scoring defense, allowing only 57.3 points a game.

“While St. John’s doesn’t have the record or ranking of a West Virginia or a Syracuse, they are a very tough team and they pose a number of match up problems for us,” McCullum said.

Both teams rank near the bottom of the conference in scoring offense, with USF averaging 62.5 points a game and St. John’s scoring only 61.5 points a game.

USF is led in scoring by senior guard James Holmes, who is a major force on the team. Holmes is averaging 19 points per game and averages 39.5 minutes a game.

The Bulls have only faced St. John’s once in school history, defeating the Red Storm 74-67 in the 1995 National Invitational Tournament.

Keep an eye on: Solomon Jones. The senior center is averaging almost a double-double a game with 13.7 points per game and 9.9 rebounds a game for the Bulls. Jones is also ranked seventh in the nation with an average of 3.4 blocks per game.

– Tyler Crane


USF (11-5, 1-2 Big East) at Cincinnati (10-4, 0-3 Big East)

When: Sunday, 2 p.m.

Where: Fifth Third Arena

The story: The women’s basketball team will go on the road to face conference foe Cincinnati on Sunday.

The Bulls are coming off a 66-65 loss to No. 10 Rutgers (11-3, 3-0) in a game that went down to the last second.

“It’s a tough way to lose. The last two games, we’ve lost with some kind of shot made by the opponent,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “I told our players that games aren’t won and lost in the last 30 or 40 seconds.”

The Bulls are going into their fourth Big East game of the season. Although they are 1-2 in conference play, their two losses have come by just a combined three points.

Forward Jessica Dickson led the Bulls in scoring with a career-high 37 points and nine rebounds Wednesday night against Rutgers. She continues to lead the nation in scoring, averaging 24.7 points per game.

Dickson’s performance against Rutgers was the third most points in single-game history for the Bulls. With 1,469 points in her college career, Dickson will move into fifth place on USF’s all-time scoring list if she can score at least two points against Cincinnati.

The Bearcats have lost three in a row, all of which were Big East matchups. Their latest defeat came Thursday to No. 7 Connecticut 92-71. With the loss, Cincinnati remains one of two teams left in the 16-team conference without a Big East victory.

Keep an eye on: Shantia Grace. The freshman guard was second on the team in scoring against Rutgers with ten points. She led the Bulls with six assists, added one rebound and played the entire 40 minutes. Grace has played in all 16 games and is second on the team to Dickson in minutes played, averaging 34.4.

– Kevin Smetana


USF Spring Classic

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: USF Varsity Tennis Courts

The story: The USF men’s tennis team will kick off its spring season this weekend when they it hosts the 2006 USF Spring Classic. The tournament will begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. and will feature Central Florida (14-9), Clemson (25-11), William & Mary (47-37) and Memphis (13-9). The USF men’s team is entering its first year as members of the Big East Conference and finished the fall season with a record of 10-15.

– Eric Moeller


FIU Invitational

When: Friday-Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: University Park Tennis Courts

The story: The USF women’s tennis team opens its spring season down in Miami starting today. The tournament, which runs all weekend, is hosted by Florida International. Along with the Golden Panthers, the Bulls are competing against squads from Miami and Illinois.