By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA (Jan. 3, 2014) – The Bulls look to build off their first American Athletic Conference victory on the road 4:30 p.m. Saturday at SMU.
Head coach Jose Fernandez’s squad handled Houston, 77-54, on Tuesday and heads back to Texas to face a very dangerous SMU team at the newly renovated Moody Coliseum in Dallas. The Mustangs (10-3, 1-1) got their first league win Wednesday by getting past Cincinnati, 54-43, in Ohio.
“They’re very well coached, they have one of the best players in the league and they’re a veteran team,” Fernandez said. “It’s definitely a great road test for us and a great opportunity to play a good team.”
The Bulls defeated SMU, 61-55, in the programs’ first meeting Dec. 19, 2010 at the BTI Classic in Las Vegas.
The Last Time Out
Senior Inga Orekhova tied her career-high with six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points against Houston. Sophomore Alisia Jenkins registered her sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Ariadna Pujol posted her third double-digit scoring game of her young career with 14 points.
“I think we’ve really seen the player she is, what she can do and what she can become,” said Fernandez of Pujol, who is averaging a team-leading 15.5 points while shooting 56 percent from the field in conference play.
Get to Know SMU
Keena Mays passed the 1,000-point mark in her career with 15 points against Cincinnati. The 5-foot-7 senior guard leads the conference with 19.4 points per game and ranks 44th in the NCAA in scoring.
SMU has three players averaging double-digit scoring figures (Akil Simpson, 14.0 ppg; Destynee Hives-McCray (11.0 ppg) and the Mustangs have been steady on the glass with 43.5 rebounds per game. Head coach Rhonda Rompola’s squad also has been strong on the defensive end, averaging 17.8 turnovers and 7.8 steals per game.
“We have to make sure we value the ball. I think it starts from there,” Fernandez said.
A Look Ahead
The Bulls return home for a two-game stint starting Tuesday, Jan. 7 against Temple at 7 p.m. USF faces its third ranked opponent this season Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. when No. 7 Louisville visits the Sun Dome. Purchase tickets HERE.