Bulls cruise in final exhibition

It isn’t hard for South Florida to score points when Shantia Grace is playing well.

Led by the senior’s five assists and 13 points, the Bulls defeated DT3, a team of former college players, 81-55 on Wednesday night in an exhibition.

“I think I shared the ball well,” Grace said. “I try to get my teammates involved as much as possible. Jazmine (Sepulveda) was making her shots tonight, so I tried getting her the ball.”

Grace, a preseason first-team All-Big East selection, compiled all of her five assists in the first half — when she played the most minutes. She said it’s nice to have a guard like Sepulveda, who scored 18 points, with her in the backcourt.

“It’s good to know whichever one of us is on the court, either can play the one or two (guard position),” she said.

Coach Jose Fernandez said he was happy with how his team played in the transition offense. The Bulls jumped out to a 45-24 lead at halftime by playing a high-tempo style.

“I thought we jumped out of the gate right away and did some very good things,” he said.

Grace was influential on defense as well, totaling five steals.

“Defense makes your offense better,” she said. “Coach (Fernandez) stresses defense all day and every day. I hear it in my sleep.”

The win wraps up USF’s preseason schedule. The Bulls have a week before tipping off the regular season against Central Connecticut at home on Nov. 15. Grace said she’s excited to finally start playing meaningful games.

Coach Jose Fernandez received an oral commitment from 6-foot-1 forward Tahira Johnson this week. Johnson, from Queens, New York, is the fourth commitment in this year’s class.

Johnson joins three guards that have already committed for the 2009 class. Tiffany Conner of Teanick, New Jersey, Taneisha Saunders, of Delray Beach, and Seuoyah Griffin of Columbus, Georgia all have pledged their oral commitments.

Senior guard Crystal Ayers did not play Wednesday night. Ayers did not dress in uniform but attended the game from the bench. She picked up a knee injury in Tuesday’s practice, but was able to limp off the practice court on her own.

Junior Janae Stokes also sat out of Wednesday’s exhibition. Stokes, who scored 13 points in 17 minutes in the first exhibition, was experiencing flu-like symptoms. Fernandez said she will be ready to play by the season opener on Nov. 15.