USF women’s basketball was seeded No. 8 for the March Madness Tournament on Sunday evening despite facing an early 65-53 elimination against Wichita State in the first round of the AAC tournament.
This is the ninth time the Bulls have made it to the March Madness Tournament. Being slotted this high in the bracket means South Florida (26-6, 15-1 AAC) will face No. 9 Marquette in the first round.
— USF W. Basketball (@USFWBB) March 13, 2023
Over the course of the season, the Golden Eagles (21-10, 13-7 Big East) have proven themselves to be one of the stronger teams in the NCAA.
The Golden Eagles average 65 points per game with a .409 field goal percentage. Senior guard Jordan King and forward Chloe Marotta are two fierce players the Bulls will have to keep an eye on for this match.
King has scored 494 points this season and averages 15.9 per game. She has a 42% field goal average and makes 36% of her three-point attempts.
Marotta has also been racking up strong stats this season. She has made over 400 points this year along with a 88% free throw attempt average.
If the Bulls are able to persevere over Marquette, they will likely play the defending NCAA national champions No. 1 South Carolina.
The Gamecocks (32-0, 16-0 SEC) are arguably South Florida’s biggest competition, as they enter the tournament with an undefeated slate and a new conference championship trophy.
They average 81.4 points per game on 47% field goal shooting, which will likely make them a challenge for the Bulls to keep up with during the game.
Defense, however, is where the Gamecocks pose the greatest threat. They rank sixth in scoring defense, allowing 51.1 points per game this year.
Anchoring their imposing defense is reigning national player of the year, senior forward Aliyah Boston. She averages 13.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and racked up 20 double-doubles this season. Boston is also one of the best shot-blockers in the NCAA, with 2.0 blocks per contest.
Boston’s play has her in position to claim her second Women’s College Player of the Year Award.
Despite winning the AAC regular season championship, USF’s weak performance last week spurred speculation on whether the Bulls will be ready for tougher opponents come Friday. However, coach Jose Fernandez said he’s ready to take on the Golden Eagles.
“The Houston loss at home hurt us, and then getting bounced in the first round of the conference tournament does not help your seed,” Fernandez said.
“Two and a half weeks ago, we were looking at probably a six seed, [but] last year we were a nine. [We] have to put that behind us and get ready [to] play a really good Marquette team.”
South Florida will take on No. 9 Marquette in the first round of the tournament on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina. Tipoff time is TBA. The game will be broadcast on CBS.