No. 20/22 USF Faces No. 1 UConn Tuesday
Matchup: No. 22 USF (13-1, 2-0 The American) vs. No. 1 UConn (14-0, 2-0 The American)
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 10
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Hartford | XL Center
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: AM 1040 (Mike Lefko)
Follow: Listen | Stats | Twitter
TAMPA, JAN. 9, 2017 – In its first Top-25 showdown this season, the 20th-ranked University of South Florida women’s basketball team will face No. 1 UConn Tuesday night. The Bulls return to the XL Center in Hartford for the first time since 2014 and the 7 p.m. game will air on CBS Sports Network.
The USF (13-1, 2-0 The American)-UConn match-up has become a familiar one in NCAA women’s basketball, as only one other team in the country has faced the Huskies six times in the past two seasons. While UConn holds the edge, USF was the only team to lead the top-ranked Huskies at the half last season.
The Bulls are looking for their first win over a No. 1 team in program history, and enter Tuesday’s showdown with the best start in USF’s 45 seasons. In the 2008-09 season, the Bulls also opened the season 13-1. USF is on a five-game win streak, including two conference wins over Tulane and Tulsa.
American Athletic Conference Player of the Week Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) is fresh off a 37-point performance against Tulsa. The sophomore was deadly from behind the arc, shooting 50 percent (7-for-14). Laksa’s 3.86 three-point field goals per game are second in NCAA Division I and her 54 three-pointers this season are ninth.
USF and the UConn will meet for just the 21st time in program history. The Huskies hold a 20-0 series record. The pair last met in the American Athletic Conference Championship March 7, 2016. Connecticut defeated USF, 77-51.
Connecticut (14-0, 2-0 The American) is shooting for its 90th-straight win, which would tie the NCAA Division I record for consecutive games won. The Huskies, who defeated East Carolina 90-45 in their last game, return to action following five days off.
· Only one other team in NCAA Division I has faced UConn six times in the past two seasons (East Carolina).
· USF has faced a No. 1 team 14 times since 1994, and the Bulls are seeking their first No. 1 upset in program history. The highest ranked team USF has defeated was No. 11 DePaul in overtime, 79-77, in Dec. 7, 2005.
· Junior Laia Flores (Mataro, Spain) continues to lead the country in assist-turnover ratio. Her 3.81 ratio leads Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen, who checks in at 3.65.
· Sophomore Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) averages a league-best 21.6 points per game which rank ninth in Division I, but she is one of only four underclassmen on the top-10 scorers list, and one of only two freshman.
· Head coach Jose Fernandez is two wins away from reaching 300 career wins. Only two active coaches in the American Athletic Conference have achieved the feat.
· USF has a rebounding margin of +14.2, which ranks fourth in the country. The Bulls average 45.6 rebounds per game.
· The Bulls have only committed 178 fouls this season (12.7 per game), which ranks in the top-five as the fewest fouls committed this season.
· The Bulls’ 129 points versus Saint Francis U (Dec. 14) are the second-most points scored by any team in Division I this season. Baylor turned in 140 points the next day, Dec. 15, against Winthrop.
· In her 36th game as a Bull, Laksa reached 500 career points, joining Jessica Dickson, Wanda Guyton and Angie Snyder as the fastest players in program history to reach the mark. Dickson reached 500 points her freshman season in 29 games, while it took Guyton 32 games. Laksa tied Snyder in 36 games, both reaching 500 points as sophomores.
· USF’s 16 three-pointers against FIU (Nov. 30) are the most three-pointers of any team in the American Athletic Conference this season. The top mark in conference history is 18 set by UConn at UC Davis on Nov. 14, 2014. The 16 three-pointers list second in The American history.
· USF is the only team in NCAA Division I with nine international players on its roster.
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.
To purchase season tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to USFBullsTix.com.
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