No. 25 USF routs SMU in Dallas

Shavontae Naylor was one of four Bulls to score in double digits as she scored 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

SMU never seemed to keep up with No. 25 USF’s fast pace throughout the game Tuesday night in Dallas. 

The Bulls’ energy and defensive threat proved to be too much for SMU (5-18, 1-11) with only one player reaching double-digits in Destynee Hives-McCray at 11 points. 

USF junior point guard Shalethia Stringfield knocked down a rainbow three-point shot with 4:22 remaining in the first half to give the Bulls a 15-point lead. From there, the margin never dipped below 12 and USF (20-4, 11-1) came away with the 72-51 victory. 

This year’s team is the fastest in USF women’s basketball history to reach 20 wins in one season, and the first team to do so for three consecutive seasons. 

All 14 players that made the road trip got some playing time, as the starters went to the bench shortly after 10 minutes left in the second half. 

“I think it’s great for our team,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “Being able to give these players some playing time really means a lot.” 

Standout junior guard Courtney Williams only played 25 minutes, but still continued her streak of games with 20 points or more, moving to nine games in a row Tuesday when Williams scored with 21 points and nine rebounds. 

“I always think about defense,” Williams said. “Once your defense gets going, your offense just starts on a roll.” 

The Bulls outrebounded the Mustangs by only nine, but let their physical play dominate the game, committing 17 total fouls.

Even with 13 free throw attempts, SMU only managed to convert on seven, missing easy opportunities to pick up extra points.

USF will head to Greenville to face East Carolina (16-8, 7-6) on Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPNU in the two teams’ first meeting of the season.