Ladies will face one of the best in the country

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL GAME TIMEUSF (11-9, 1-6) at Louisville (14-7, 3-5)When: Sat., 2 p.m.Where: Freedom HallTV/Radio: 1010 AM

The South Florida women’s basketball team (11-9, 1-6) has been struggling to stop opposing teams’ star players, which has led to defeats that have pushed them into the cellar of the Big East.

In their last two games, the Bulls lost to Marquette (12-8, 4-3) 79-66 and No.1 Connecticut (20-0, 7-0) 71-48. Huskies freshman forward Maya Moore scored 23 points against USF, and Eagles junior guard Krystal Ellis scored 30 points against the Bulls. Twenty-three of her points came in the second half.

USF will continue to compete against standout players. The team heads to Kentucky on Saturday to face the Lousiville Cardinals (14-7, 3-5) and junior forward Angel McCoughtry.

“(Louisville) got one of the better players in the country in Angel McCoughtry,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “She was Player of the Year in the Big East. We are going to have to do very, very well defensively against her.”

McCoughtry is averaging 23.7 points, 9 rebounds and 4.4 steals per game. She’s been hot lately – this week she averaged 30.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. She leads the Big East in scoring and steals.

This week she was announced as a candidate for the midseason John R. Wooden Award, the most sought-after college basketball award in the nation. Twenty players made the list.

The Big East has six of the 20 players on the Wooden list, more than any other conference in the country. Moore is also on the list.

The Bulls played against McCoughtry last year. She scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds.

However, South Florida beat the then-ranked No. 15 Cardinals 74-58 in that game. USF had four players with double digits in scoring. Grace – the team’s leading scorer – led the Bulls with 20 points.

This victory was over the second-highest ranked opponent USF had ever defeated. The highest-ranked team was then-ranked No. 11 DePaul, who lost against USF’s 79-77 overtime victory in 2005.

The Louisville win came in part thanks to poor three-point shooting by the Cardinals. McCoughtry made the only three-pointer of the game for the Cardinals, who shot 6.7 percent from behind the arc.

The Bulls shot 8-of-18 from three-point land with four players contributing to the tally.

USF needs a victory to move up in the conference. They are in second-to-last place. Another performance like last year’s Louisville game would be well-timed.