USF tests its depth, extends winning streak to three against Grambling State

Freshman guard Vittoria Blasigh scored 21 points off the bench, fueled by six three-pointers. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF women’s basketball won 83-57 against Grambling State at the Yuengling Center on Monday night.

The Bulls (3-0) experimented with their lineup in the 26-point win against the Tigers (1-2). Bulls coach Jose Fernandez said he’s still trying to grasp his rotations.  

“I think it’s us trying to find the right people that play the best together on the floor,” Fernandez said. “I still think we are fighting through a lot of that right now.” 

After her 20-point double-double on Friday against Stetson, sophomore wing Carla Brito made the starting lineup for the first time this season. She started in all 34 games last year.

Senior forward Evelien Lutje Schipholt, who transferred from UC Berkeley this year, also made her first start in a Bulls uniform.

The Bulls used this line-up to take an early lead. 

Grambling State committed to a full-court press from tip-off. USF capitalized by making 13 free throws – more than half of its first-quarter points. 

Although the Bulls won, foul trouble and turnovers – 28 each – disrupted their offense. Bulls coach Jose Fernandez said the team’s offense needs to be more consistent.

“We’ve had a lot of times where we didn’t stay true to playing possessions out…because when we share it and we run [the] offense, we’re really good,” Fernandez said.

The Bulls bench made up for the turnover trouble in the second quarter. By the end of the first half, they were responsible for 35 points.

Freshman guard Vittoria Blasigh led the second unit with 16 points by halftime. Blasigh finished with a career-high 21 points, but she said her team’s cooperation is what made her strong performance possible.

“I think my teammates really searched for me on the floor,” she said. “I am really proud of my team.”

Foul trouble continued for Grambling State in the second half. Three Tigers players ended the game with more than four. This fueled USF’s lead as the Bulls ended the third quarter ahead 72-47.

South Florida’s second unit finished the game with 54 points, just three shy of the Tigers’ total points.

Sophomore forward and center Emma Johansson had a career-high 12 points and nine rebounds. She said there is room for improvement for her and her team.

“I think all of us did a better job of crashing the boards today, but they also got a lot of second chances,” she said. “We know that we need to take care of the ball.”

USF is gearing up for a highly anticipated road game against Alabama. The Bulls will be looking to limit their turnovers when they face the Crimson Tide on Thursday.

South Florida has been inconsistent throughout its first two games. However, Fernandez said he sees Monday’s game as a step in the right direction.

“I think a lot of things we did over the weekend carried to today,” he said. “So we’ll come back tomorrow, practice well, we’ll lift, we’ll watch film and continue to grow and get better game by game.”

USF will travel to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SECN+ and Bulls Unlimited Radio