Bulls prepare to face FGCU on Wednesday night


Bulls junior guard Tamara Taylor said coach Jose Fernandez warned the team they’d be running extra after returning to campus Saturday from a three-day break for Thanksgiving.

“I guess the turkey got us,” she said. “We came back really sluggish. We spent two days running because of the shape we were in … I guess everybody took it for granted.”

Fernandez said he wasn’t sure what to expect coming back from the break but got his answer at practice.

“Maybe they had too much turkey and too much stuffing,” he said. “You figure you have three days off, then you shouldn’t be tired.”

The USF women’s basketball team (4-2) will snap a 10-day gap between games Wednesday night when the Bulls travel to Florida Gulf Coast University (4-3) for a 7 p.m. start against the Eagles.

Fernandez said every season is different when it comes to the schedule. This season the Bulls didn’t participate in a Thanksgiving break tournament such as the Great Alaskan Shootout they played in two seasons ago, which gave him the chance to rest the team in the middle of a 10-day break between games.

Taylor said she anticipated a sluggish return to basketball and was originally set on staying at USF during the break, but pressure from family drew her home to St. Petersburg. 

“When I go home, I know how I am,” she said. “I get lazy and the food (is there) and I won’t work out. I had it in my mind to stay here, but my mom kept saying, ‘Yeah come visit … Family time,’ So I went home. I don’t know why I did that. I didn’t work out. I came back and everything was downhill.”

Taylor said the Bulls shook off the sluggishness with a couple days of practice and are ready to go Wednesday against the Eagles.

Unlike USF, FGCU played in a Thanksgiving week tournament with games Nov. 26, 27 and 29 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where the Eagles lost to TCU by 21 points, lost to Stanford by 24 and beat South Dakota State by 25.

The Bulls are coming off a five-point loss to Clemson on
Nov. 24 and head out on the road for just the second time this season around 2 p.m. on a bus to Fort Myers.

The Eagles will have to contend with Bulls sophomore guard Courtney Williams, who leads the team in scoring at 16 points per game and comes in at third in rebounds per game with 5.7.

Williams recently got her first start of the year in place of senior Inga Orekhova, who was seen on crutches Monday. It was confirmed later in the evening the 6-foot-2 guard underwent knee surgery and will be out until sometime in January.