USF continues home stretch against No. 7 Rutgers

The USF women’s basketball team notched an overtimevictory over a ranked team Tuesday night, but will havelittle time to regroup as an even tougher test awaits inNo. 7 Rutgers on Saturday night.

The Bulls (11-8, 3-2) had three players reach double figures as they dropped the Blue Demons 66-63, led by16 points each from senior guard Jasmine Wynne andjunior guard Kaneisha Saunders. Junior guard IngaOrekhova added 13 points.

The game was onlyOrekhova’s fourth of theseason since becomingeligible after the Bulls’first conference game. Inher short time on thefloor, Orekhova has excelledas a strong offensive optionfor coach Jose Fernandez.

The Bulls have played the first half of the seasonwithout last year’s leadingscorer, Andrea Smith. Smithaveraged 16.5 points pergame before tearing her ACL in the Big East Tournament in March.

She was close toreturning this season, but is using a medical redshirt topreserve a year of eligibility.The Bulls will have to finishthe season without her.

In Orekhova, USF found a talented sharpshooter. Sheaverages 15.5 points per game and shoots at a high46.7 percent from the floor and an exceptional43.2 percent from 3-point range.

Orekhova will be put to the test against the ScarletKnights (15-3, 4-1), one of the most established programs in the country. Rutgers reachedthe NCAA Tournament for theninth consecutive time lastseason and is one of10 schools to achieve that streak.

Rutgers returns four starters from last year’s team inApril Sykes, Khadijah Rushdan, Monique Oliverand Chelsey Lee. Thosefour players combinedaccounted for 45.3 points pergame, nearly 75 percent ofthe team’s total.

Tipoff at the CampusRecreation Center, where theBulls are 5-1 this season, isset for 7 p.m.