Rivalry was renewed as the USF womens basketball team took on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on Wednesday night.
With help from senior guard Andrell Smith and junior guard Inga Orekhova, the Bulls defeated the Eagles 67-46 to move to 7-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Smith led the way with 19 points, shooting 46 percent from the floor, along with two assists. Orkekhova helped with 15 points, shooting four of five attempted three-pointers.
Smith said she credits her teammates for her performance.
I feel like my teammates helped me get 19 points, Smith said. It was a collective 19 points. I couldnt done it without Tahira Johnsons rebounds and getting me good passes. Without them, I couldnt have those 19 points.
In the first half, both teams played tightly, with each team leading by no higher than six points. USFs defense forced 13 turnovers and held the Eagles to 33 percent shooting from the floor where the Bulls shot 44 percent in the half.
The game remained tight until Orekhova hit a three-pointer with 6:23 remaining in the game to put the Bulls up seven that sparked a 14-0 run to end the game.
Coach Jose Fernandez said he was proud of the victory.
I thought this was a very good win for our group, Fernandez said. We knew were going to have a very good basketball game. We made it a priority to go to the glass, get some second shots. It was that run with about seven or eight minutes we strung stops together, inverted on the other end we were able to pull away.
The Bulls defense held the Eagles to 26 percent shooting from the floor and forced 19 turnovers and grabbed 10 steals.
We talked about playing teams defense and keeping guys in front of us. I thought they did that, Fernandez said. Its a credit to them.
USF is back on the road this weekend as they travel to take on Jacksonville University on Saturday.