Bulls roll over Stetson

The USF women’s basketball team goes into its Thanksgiving break on a positive note. The Bulls started fast and never looked back, easily defeating the Stetson University Hatters 86-44 on Tuesday.

The Bulls’ (3-2) victory over the Hatters (1-4) was not only a quick way to recover from a 25-point home loss Sunday, but will also help USF recover in the computer rankings that determine which schools play in the NCAA Championships in March.

USF came out of the gate scoring quickly, starting the game with a 14-0 run. The Bulls did not allow a single point until 13:55 remained in the first half. They would end the first half ahead 41-18.

The 44 points scored by Stetson was the lowest point-total the Hatters have put up in 31 all-time meetings with USF.

The reason for the big win was turnovers – or lack thereof. The Bulls, who had been averaging more than 20 turnovers per game, committed only six in the first half. The Bulls finished the game with a season-low eight turnovers.

“We had four games and 83 turnovers,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “When you only turn the ball over eight times, and you want to stay in that under-14 range, you get so many more shot attempts.”

Bench play was also a key factor for the Bulls. Caitlyn Mitryk had career highs in points and rebounds with 10 and six, respectively.

“It was good (having a career game),” Mitryk said. “We had really been working hard and we were coming off of the loss, so it was good to come out and play the way that we did.”

Porche Grant also had a career night off the Bulls bench. Grant set new career marks in both points (10) and rebounds (12). Junior guard Shantia Grace was happy to see her teammates have such big games.

“It was exciting,” Grace said. “They work hard in practice just like everyone else, and for them to come in and contribute in the game like they did is a real big positive for us.”

Fernandez wasn’t surprised by the performance of his bench.

“You’ll see a lot of our kids will probably have career nights this year, because a lot of them didn’t play much last year,” Fernandez said.

The victory gave the Bulls a much-needed dose of confidence heading into their holiday.

“This was definitely good,” Mitryk said. “Now everyone can go into the Thanksgiving break happy.”