No. 1 UConn downs Bulls again on senior night

Senior Ariadna Pujol led USF with 16 points on senior night at the Sun Dome in a loss to No. 1 UConn. 

At least it wasn’t as bad as last time.

Playing in front of 5,948 at the Sun Dome, USF just didn’t have enough firepower to run with the high-powered offense of the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies, falling 96-68 on senior night.

The loss, despite it being the Bulls’ second-worst of the year, somehow doesn’t seem so bad given the opponent. USF was beat down by Connecticut in January, losing 102-37 at the Huskies’ home in Storrs, Connecticut.

“Definitely a much better performance than the game we had up there, that’s for sure,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “There was a lot more fight in our kids today.”

The fight did not turn into a win for the Bulls however, as the Huskies never trailed, and never let up in the victory, having their starting five score 94 of the 96 points in the matchup.

Led by forward Napheesa Collier’s 39 points, UConn’s offense simply could not be slowed down.

“We just had no answer,” Fernandez said. “We have to find other ways for (Collier) not to get touches, because when she gets touches, she’s hard to stop.”

Despite the defeat, the Bulls’ offense remained potent throughout the game, energizing the Sun Dome’s largest crowd of the year throughout.

Playing in her last home game as a Bull, guard Ariadna Pujol led the Bulls in scoring with 16 points, while also grabbing a team high seven rebounds.

The game was kept close throughout the first half, and the beginning of the third quarter, but fatigue then began to take a toll on the short-handed Bulls, and the Huskies pulled away for the remainder of the contest.

“They’re logging a lot of minutes,” Fernandez said. “In the last week and a half they’ve had two games in three days.

“We have four girls in the top six of the conference for minutes played per game. That’s difficult, but it’s not going to change. That’s who we are.” 

With Monday’s loss being the regular season finale, the Bulls will finally get the rest they deserve before competing in the AAC tournament.

The tournament begins Friday in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Bulls enter the tournament as the three seed, and will have a bye in the first round.