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Bulls head to AAC championship

USF sophomore forward Kitija Laksa broke former USF guard Courtney Williams’ record for most points in a sophomore season when she scored 602 points this season.
ORACLE FILE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

For the third straight season, No. 1 UConn is the only team left standing between USF women’s basketball and a conference championship.

The Bulls earned their first win against a ranked opponent Sunday night on their way to the AAC championship, defeating No. 21 Temple 63-58 at Mohegan Sun Arena. 

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “We played five kids in that first half the entire time. In that third quarter, we were up seven with the ball and we went on a drought there. But in that fourth quarter, we made big shots and we got the stops we needed. It was an important game for both teams, for NCAA seeding, us winning up there and them winning at our place. We wanted this game. This is the third year in a row that we’re playing on Monday night. That’s one thing, when you play in this tournament, you want to play for a championship.” 

The Huskies, winners of 106 consecutive games, have proved to be an insurmountable foe for the Bulls. 

USF has never beaten UConn in women’s basketball, and the Huskies continued the trend in dominating fashion this season. 

In the team’s first meeting, USF suffered its worst loss in program history as it fell 102-37. Then the Huskies spoiled the Bulls’ senior night with a 96-68 victory at the Sun Dome. 

Led by sophomore forward Kitija Laksa, who scored a game-high 18 points against Temple, USF will look to end the longest winning streak in college sports history tonight when it plays UConn at 7 at Mohegan Sun Arena. 

Former Bulls excel at NFL Combine

 

Former USF football players Rodney Adams and Marlon Mack were in Indianapolis over the weekend for the NFL Combine as they prepare to take the next step in their football careers. 

Adams was clocked at the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash time, coming in at 4.44 seconds. His vertical jump, which he used to drum up donations for a foundation for kids who have lost parents, was registered at 29 ½ inches. 

Mack was just behind Adams in terms of speed at Lucas Oil Stadium, running a 4.5 40-yard dash. However, the former USF running back bested Adams in both benching and jumping. 

Adams managed eight repetitions of benching 225 pounds whereas Mack put up 15 reps. When it comes to vertical jumping, Mack leapt 35.5 inches, tied for eighth best among running backs. 

Adams and Mack will see how their weekend’s performance impacted their futures when the NFL Draft begins April 27.

 

Men’s basketball concludes regular season

 

USF put a merciful end to its 2017 regular season Sunday afternoon at the Sun Dome as it fell 72-60 against Temple.

In a season in which USF fired its coach and is under investigation for academic fraud, the on-court product mirrored the off-court issues. 

The Bulls began the season 5-3, but struggled to compete in conference play, winning just one game in AAC play. 

USF (7-22, 1-17) will have a chance to keep its season alive when it plays UConn in the opening round of the AAC tournament on Thursday at 8 p.m.