Bulls win two, take USF Invitational

It took just two games for the South Florida women’s basketball team to win their first hardware of the season.

USF (2-0) defeated Loyola University of Maryland 94-46 in the final of the USF Shootout at the Sun Dome on Sunday, earning the USF Invitational trophy.

“I think we had a good weekend,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “We played with a lot of energy and a lot of effort this weekend … I was pleased to see that.”

Senior guard Jazmine Sepulveda led the Bulls with 14 points. She went 5-of-9 from the field and had four assists and three steals.

“We came out ready to play, and we handled our business on the court,” Sepulveda said.

Using an undersized lineup for a majority of the game, USF upped the tempo both offensively and defensively on the Greyhounds, who moved to 1-1 after the loss.

Juniors Porche Grant and Alexis Givands played at forward, while Fernandez put senior Shantia Grace, junior Janae Stokes and freshman Jasmine Wynne at the guard positions to open up the court.

Fernandez said he prefers that strategy to a half-court style. USF pushed Loyola into 35 turnovers.

“We’re going to play that lineup a lot with Givands at the four-position,” he said. “With her at that position, she can really cause some matchup problems.”

USF went on a 9-0 run midway through the first half to put the Bulls up 28-10 with 9:15 remaining. They then outscored the Greyhounds 25-12 to secure a 53-22 lead at halftime.

USF defeated Central Connecticut State 100-48 on Saturday to gain a spot in the final.

Sepulveda gathered 23 points, eight steals and nine assists over the course of the two games, and Sepulveda said she’s pleased with the way the tournament went.

“We were staying together as a team, and that helped me to get some steals,” she said. “When players are open like they were I can get those assists, as well.”

The Bulls will be back in action Tuesday when they host Stetson at 7 p.m. for their third game in four days.