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No. 1 Connecticut visits Sun Dome

The top two scoring offenses in the country will meet tonight at the USF Sun Dome, and the potential for an upset over No. 1 University of Connecticut by South Florida will likely be determined by USF’s two leading scorers.

Senior guards Shantia Grace and Jazmine Sepulveda will lead the Bulls into what could be their biggest game of the season when USF hosts the Huskies at the Sun Dome tonight at 7:00.
“I think this is probably the biggest game of my life,” Sepulveda said.

According to USF Athletics officials, the crowd expected tonight could break the single game record at the Sun Dome for women’s basketball, which is 5,241, set in 2007 when the Huskies visited South Florida.

Under Coach Geno Auriemma, who’s in his 24th season as head coach, the Huskies have been to nine Final Fours and have won five nationchips and  16 Big East regular season titles. When the No. 1 Huskies step on the court tonight, the team will be the highest ranked opponent the Bulls have ever faced at home.

USF Coach Jose Fernandez said, however, that he’s not focused on prior titles, records or achievements, but rather the way UConn has played this year.

Not exactly a comforting thought for Fernandez. The Huskies have a 13-0 record and are defeating their opponents by a margin of 34.4 points per game.

“If you can’t get up to play the number one team in the country, you’re not going to be able to get up for anybody,” he said. “I expect our kids to really compete.”

The Huskies are led by All-American forward Maya Moore, who ESPN selected as the preseason player of the year. The 6-foot sophomore leads UConn in scoring, averaging 18.1 points per game, and has helped make Connecticut the second-best scoring offense in the country.

The best scoring offense in the country is in Tampa. Led by Grace and Sepulveda, the Bulls (13-2, 0-1) are averaging 89.9 points per game.

Grace said there will be no shortage of offense tonight. She leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.8 points per game.

“I’m very excited to see the matchup,” she said. “Everyone, all the fans, know about these offenses, and we are going to play hard for them.”

The team is calling for a “white out” from USF fans, and the first 500 people to show will receive a complementary white USF T-shirt. Fernandez said he’s hoping to please the home crowd.

“I think it would definitely be the biggest win in school history,” he said. “And one of the biggest wins in the entire athletic program’s history.”

— Additional reporting by Alex Cobb.