The women’s basketball team needed someone to fill in when senior guard Janae Stokes was suspended indefinitely last week.
Coach Jose Fernandez found someone this weekend in junior forward Sequoyah Griffin, who was inserted into the starting lineup.
Her 13.7 points a game during USF’s three-game road trip in California helped the Bulls win the Courtyard by Marriot L.A. Thanksgiving Classic.
“Sequoyah has been our ‘little fire’ because she has provided us with some much-needed energy,” said center Jessica Lawson. “She just started showing us what she can do and hasn’t even come close to reaching her full potential.”
Playing without Stokes, USF’s best three-point shooter, who was suspended after be a petit theft-related arrest, Griffin picked up the slack by going 8-for-12 this weekend.
“We definitely felt a little off playing without Stokes,” Lawson said. “But (Griffin) has stepped in and filled the void nicely in the last few games.”
Griffin, one of USF’s nine newcomers this season, signed with the Bulls in 2006 after averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game during her career at Hardaway High School. She went to junior college instead, however.
After sitting out her freshman season because of a knee injury, Griffin returned with nine points and eight rebounds a game at Chipola Community College last season.
“Playing junior college basketball got me ready for the level of play in Division I,” Griffin said. “The pace is a little faster here, but I feel like I am settling in with USF’s style of play.”
The Bulls got off to a slow start this season, but Griffin’s play has helped the team back to a 5-2 record. The Bulls look to continue their winning streak hosting Washington (2-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Sun Dome in the first of a six-game home stretch.
“(Griffin) played really well last weekend in California,” Fernandez said. “She shot the ball well and defended and has done everything we’ve asked of her.We need her and the rest of the girls to continue to defend well in order to beat Washington.”
Griffin said this year’s team is getting better, particularly with chemistry among players.
“Playing on this team has been a lot of fun so far,” she said. “We will continue to get better as the season progresses, because we are a talented group who sticks together. With more and more experience, I know that I am personally going to develop into the best player I can possibly be.”
On Friday, USF will honor last year’s WNIT Championship win by raising a banner to the Sun Dome rafters.