TAMPA, DEC. 30, 2016 – Two double-double performances highlighted the University of South Florida women’s basketball team’s win over visiting Stetson Friday in its final outing of 2016. Maria Jespersen and Tamara Henshaw turned in career nights at Sun Dome Arena and propelled the Bulls past the Hatters 74-60.
Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) turned in a new career-high 26 points, shooting 53 percent from the floor (10-for-19) and made two of the Bulls’ four three-pointers. Jespersen nabbed her second 15-rebound outing, grabbing seven offensive boards and eight on the defensive end. The double-double outing was the juniors fourth of the season.
In her first career double-double, Henshaw (Palm Coast, Fla.) tallied a career high 12 points and new season mark 13 rebounds. Defensively, the newcomer tallied a team best three blocks and seven defensive boards.
Sophomore Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) tallied 20 points while junior Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) edged closer to a triple-double with nine rebounds, eight assists and six points.
The Bulls overcame a slow start, shooting 55 percent in the third quarter. After scoring a season low 31 points in the first half, USF outscored Stetson 25-15 in the third frame and never trailed after taking the lead one minute into the quarter. The Bulls’ largest lead was in the fourth quarter when they led by 17 with eight minutes left to play. Jespersen scored eight of her 26 points in the final 10 minutes, putting in both of her shots from behind the arc, accounting for two of the Bulls four total three-pointers.
55- USF outrebounded its opponent for the 11th time this season, grabbing 55 rebounds. The Bulls excelled on the offensive glass, outrebounding Stetson 22-9.
16 – The Bulls continue to share the ball, tallying 16 assists on 30 field goals. Flores led the team again with eight assists, while senior Ariadna Pujol (Mataro, Spain) added four.
26.7 – USF held Stetson to a 27 percent field goal percentage in both the second and third quarters. The Hatters didn’t score more than 16 points in a single quarter.
USF extended its series win streak to 11 against Stetson. The Bulls have not lost to the Hatters at home since Nov. 29, 1995.
The Bulls extend their home win streak to 11 consecutive games. USF has not dropped a home contest in the Sun Dome Arena since hosting No. 1 UConn Jan. 10, 2016. USF’s home record over the past three seasons improved to 33-4.
Head coach Jose Fernandez notched is 296th career win. Fernandez is already the winningest coach in USF history (297-226) and with four wins he will become the third active coach in the American Athletic Conference to reach 300 career wins.
USF opens American Athletic Conference play on the road for the second consecutive season. The Bulls travel to Tulane Jan. 4 for a 8 p.m. ET match-up. Fans can catch the game on ESPN3.
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The Bulls return eight players from last season, and have signed six newcomers to the roster. American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Kitija Laksa will lead a squad full of international flavor that boasts nine players from around the world. USF will look to extend its postseason streak to five consecutive seasons and return to the conference championship for the third time in as many years.
USF has made 12 postseason tournament appearances and had four NCAA Tournament berths in Head Coach Jose Fernandez’s 16 seasons. The all-time winningest coach in program history, Fernandez has guided USF to seven 20-win seasons, two WNIT final four appearances, the 2009 WNIT championship and won more than 280 games.
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