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Osterman, Bulls prepare for No. 1 UConn at home


The USF women’s basketball team went through practice as usual with its coaching staff, concluding with routine free throws.

While the coaches’ time with players included basketball fundamentals, associate head coach Jeff Osterman felt the need to include intangibles, actions that players do to help the team win that don’t show up on the stat sheet, for their game Sunday at home against No. 1 UConn.

“I can teach how to box out and shoot, but it’s more about can you do it consistently at that high level,” Osterman said. “If I can get into their minds that (practicing 10 shots) are all game winners, that could be the difference against a UConn run before halftime or a last possession.”

Osterman was tasked with reinforcing intangibles in place of head coach Jose Fernandez, who was admitted to the hospital Sunday morning after having a delayed allergic reaction, which was reportedly caused by some prescribed medication. This stay follows his admission two weeks ago for diverticulitis, or inflammation of the large intestine wall.

During their 81-53 loss in Hartford, Conn., Osterman he thought it was “encouraging” to see the team scoring against UConn.

But USF was only able to keep UConn’s lead down to
single digits only for the first eight minutes before the Huskies
pulled away.

“I think the best part of UConn is their mental toughness,” Osterman said. “It’s almost robotic that they keep attacking, waiting for you to break down either physically or mentally and then it’s a six or eight to nothing run.”

Osterman’s message got through to senior guard Inga Orekhova, who hit two 3-pointers during that eight minute time span against UConn.

“We’re not going to get down on ourselves because (when we did), that’s when they went on a run and it was hard to get back,” Orekhova said.

While there is still no word from doctors on Fernandez’s return, Osterman expects him to return to the team soon.

The Bulls tip off against UConn at 4 p.m.