By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Courtney Williams is making a name for herself on the court and the Big East has taken notice.
USF's emerging point guard has been named Big East Freshman of the Week after averaging 14.5 points and seven rebounds in the Bulls' past two victories.
"She's made things happen," head coach Jose Fernandez said.
Williams started last week off by posting 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals in a 77-29 win at UNC-Asheville on Wednesday, Nov. 28. She followed that up with 13 points and seven rebounds in USF's 66-44 home win over North Florida on Saturday to help the Bulls get to 6-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Williams ranks fourth on the team in points per game (7.3), fifth in rebounds (24) and has earned three starts after being named a regional player of the year out of Charlton County High School in Folkston, Ga.
"She finishes in transition and plays hard on both ends of the floor," Fernandez said. "She deserves the minutes that she's getting."
A Look Ahead
The Bulls begin a new home-and-home series will in-state rival Florida Gulf Coast University 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sun Dome. The Eagles (4-3) won their second straight game Saturday when they routed Maine, 79-49, as redshirt junior Sarah Hansen became the sixth player in the program's history to score 1,000 career points.
FGCU is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance and Fernandez knows Wednesday's game will have that postseason feel to it.
"At the end of the day, this is the type of game that helps your RPI and strength of schedule," he said.
USF ranks 21st nationally in scoring defense (50.3 points allowed per game) and has pressed the issue, averaging almost 25 turnovers per contest. The Bulls set a season high at UNC-Asheville with 37 forced turnovers despite not pressing in the second half and totaled 30 against North Florida.
"I think our defensive package is getting a bit broader. We've been able to press out of different alignments, different formations, and been able to bring defensive pressure," Fernandez said.
Smith Twins Lead the Way
Senior guard Andrea Smith continues to lead the Bulls in scoring at 16.5 points per game and her sister, Andrell, isn't far behind with an average of 14 points. Both players are shooting at least 40 percent from the floor and are averaging at least four boards per contest.
Fernandez Getting Closer to 200 Wins
Fernandez already had the most wins of any USF men's or women's basketball coach heading into the season (189 victories) and he is five more away from reaching 200. The Bulls have played in eight postseason tournaments since Fernandez took over the program in 2000.