By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The Bulls cooled off one of the Big East's hottest teams on Wednesday and will be looking to do the same Saturday when No. 18/21 Syracuse visits the Sun Dome.
The USF women's basketball team started its week off by beating No. 11/12 Louisville, 73-62, in Kentucky. The Bulls (18-7, 7-5) have four regular season games left and know success on Saturday would give their NCAA tournament chances a huge boost.
"You get this one on Saturday and now you have two big-time signature wins on your resume," USF head coach Jose Fernandez.
Seizing a victory from Syracuse certainly won't be easy. The Orange (22-3, 10-2) are off to the best start in program history and have won six consecutive contests.
"This is a game that we've got to get at home," Fernandez said.
The Bulls' defense will be put to the test against a Syracuse offense that's third in the league in scoring (74.4 ppg) and is led by senior center Kayla Alexander (17.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg). Alexander became the school's all-time leading scorer earlier this season and she leads all active Big East players with 28 career double-doubles.
"She can beat you on the glass. She posts up and she finishes," Fernandez said. "Our post players are going to have their hands full."
One Bull that's been solid in the paint lately has been Akila McDonald. The junior center has averaged nine rebounds in the past seven games and is coming off a 10-board performance against the Cardinals.
"She wants to win. She wants to go to the NCAA tournament," Fernandez said. "For us to be successful, having her in the middle as a post presence is what we're going to need."
Purchase tickets for Saturday's game HERE. Tickets start at $7 for adults and admission is free for students in grades K-12.