Bulls look for size, momentum to help against Temple

While a new semester brings in new opportunity for students, the women’s basketball team is looking to continue the momentum they earned over break.

The Bulls (7-7, 2-1) are coming off two consecutive wins against conference teams Southern Methodist and Houston.  Their game against Temple tonight gives them the opportunity to win their third straight conference game – this time at home.

“The confidence is pretty high,” senior center Akila McDonald.  “We aren’t going to get big headed.  We are still humble and we are taking it one game at a time.  We can’t think about the next game until we have this one.”

The Owls (8-5, 2-1) have been utilizing their success in three-point shooting to their advantage.  Three different Owl players, Tyonna Williams, Rateska Brown, and Erica Covile, all average more than 39 percent from long range.  Temple is tied for first in the conference in 3-pointers with UConn, shooting 35 percent total. 

“I think we have to do a good job defending the three,” USF coach Jose Ferandez said.  “Temple is one of the better three-point shooting teams in the conference.  They got very good guard play, they are very athletic and they can attack the rim.  We are going to have to use our size advantage.”

The size advantage has allowed USF to be the third best among the conference in rebounds per game, averaging 46. The Bulls have eight players more than
six feet tall, compared to the Owls’ four. 

But the Bulls will be battling for boards with an Owls team that has allowed the second least amount of rebounds in the American Athletic Conference.

“That is one of our strong suits (going to the rim),” McDonald said.  “I think that getting stuff off the board is just a big advantage for us.  It’s going to be good having competition with someone that can rebound.”

McDonald joins teammates Alisia Jenkins and Courtney Williams as players on the USF roster averaging over 5.9 rebounds a game.

In addition to the size and rebound contribution by the forwards, the guards have also added qualities that helped the team at the top of the key.  

The latest addition has been Ariadna Pujol, who was recently named the American Freshman of the Week after she averaged 11 points and five rebounds during both their conference wins.

USF will tip off against Temple tonight at 7 in the Sun Dome.