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Thrown away: USF turnovers lead to loss in Big East home opener

USF women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez knew sooner or later the youth on his team would rear its ugly head.

A group of nine newcomers are getting their first tastes of Big East basketball, and the Bulls showed signs of growing pains, as USF had a season-high 31 turnovers and dropped its Big East home opener 66-52 to Georgetown (13-2, 2-0) on Saturday.

“When you look at the stats, the glaring thing that sticks out is the turnovers,” Fernandez said.  “Taking care of the ball has been a problem all year … losing (former starting guards Jazmine Sepulveda and Shantia Grace) who handled the ball last year and had the ball in their hands 100 percent of the time.”

After the loss of Sepulveda and Grace, USF has turned to mostly underclassmen to handle the ball in the offense. Sophomore guard Jasmine Wynne had a team-high nine turnovers, while the Bulls shot just 3-of-16 from 3-point range and 15-of-25 from the free-throw line.

“We played young tonight,” said senior center Jessica Lawson, who had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.  “We try to average under 12 turnovers and we had 31.  You’re not going to beat a lot of Big East teams with 31 turnovers. I think we just have to grow up a little bit.”

The road doesn’t get much easier for USF, as the Bulls (9-6, 0-2) will face No. 3 Notre Dame on Tuesday.

Lawson said Saturday’s game served as a measuring stick for USF.

“I think we just let it get out of hand with the turnovers,” she said. “The game plan we had was great. We just didn’t execute. They executed on our turnovers. I mean 31 … There’s no excuse for that.”