TAMPA – The Bulls stifling defense catapulted them into the second round of the NIT on Thursday night.
Jasmine Wynne scored 20 points, Andrell Smith scored 15 points and Kaneisha Saunders and Inga Orekhova both added nine points to lead USF past FAU, 76-20, in the eighth largest victory in program history.
“We shared the basketball real well and we defended,” said head coach Jose Fernandez.
USF (18-15) opened the game on a 6-0 run just 3:02 into the game on three straight buckets from Wynne. The senior guard has scored in double figures in 27 games this season.
The Bulls closed the first half shooting 51.6 percent from the field to take a commanding 35-8 lead into halftime.
“I like their focus, enthusiasm and energy level,” said Fernandez.
The Bulls defense dominated in the first half holding FAU to just 10.3 percent shooting from the field. The defense also held the Owls to only eight points in the half, which ties the third fewest points allowed in a half in program history.
Smith came off the bench shooting 6-of-12 from the field to help contribute to the 34 points scored by the Bulls bench.
“I thought we needed to get some lift off the bench and get some scoring off the bench and she (Smith) responded,” said Fernandez. “She (Smith) had some big shots.”
The hot-shooting continued for the Bulls in the second half shooting 47.1 percent from the field for the game.
The Bulls unrelenting defense outrebounded FAU 55-34, forced 25 turnovers and held the Owls to 13.8 percent shooting.
“We just continued to defend, get on loose balls and help each other out,” said Fernandez.
The Bulls will host FIU in the second round of the NIT at 7 p.m. on Saturday at USF Recreation Center