Women seek redemption against Mountineers

Coming off a tough loss to Marquette, the USF women’s basketball team will have no time to recover as the Bulls prepare for what promises to be one of their toughest challenges of the season.

The struggling Bulls (9-10, 0-5) will face off against the No. 9 Mountaineers (17-1, 4-1) in Morgantown, W. Va., this Saturday at 4 p.m.

USF, ranked 15th of 16 teams in the Big East, is in the midst of a six-game slide and is still searching for its first conference win. The Bulls haven’t had a win since their Dec. 19 game against Southern Methodist University.

Coach Jose Fernandez expressed his frustration in a press conference Tuesday.

“It’s tough because losing takes a toll on you,” he said. “It takes a toll on everybody, on your players, on your staff, because you’re working so hard to win basketball games and you’re coming so close and you’re not getting it done.”

West Virginia will come into the game on strong footing. It suffered its first loss of the season Jan. 11 at Marquette, 69-54, breaking the nation’s longest winning streak.

Thanks to the help of Madina Ali, who finished with 14 points, WVU was leading with 14:20 remaining but allowed Marquette to go on an 11-0 run, and would not lead again for the rest of the game.

With the victory, Marquette became the only team to score more than 60 points on the Mountaineers all season.

Despite the loss, West Virginia won at Syracuse in their following game and sits at No. 4 in the Big East and No. 9 in the Associated Press rankings.

Still, Fernandez believes the Bulls can win out.

“The big thing we told our guys is we’ve got 11 games left and we can win every one of them and we can turn this thing around,” he said. “What you need right now in the situation that we’re in is preparing for every single practice, and tomorrow’s practice, and then taking one game at a time. That’s the only way you can get there.”