Four Bulls in double figures as USF downs Green Wave.
by Brian Hattab
TAMPA- USF women’s basketball (20-4, 9-2 The American) returned home for the first time in almost two weeks as they defeated Tulane (15-10, 6-6 The American) 66-56 on Sunday afternoon.
The win marked USF’s fifth straight 20-win season and tied the 2014-2015 team for fastest to 20 wins.
“It’s great to be home,” sophomore forward Kitija Laksa said. “There’s always a lot of support [at home] and we appreciate it because the atmosphere is completely different than on the road.”
Laksa put the home cooking to good use as she led all USF scorers with 21 points. Besides Laksa, three other Bulls would finish in double digits in scoring, including 10 points from junior guard Laia Flores, who played through some pain.
“[My ankle] is sore,” Flores said. “During the game, I had some pain. But as we started running, I felt better.”
Flores sacrifice was appreciated by her teammates.
“I’m proud of Laia”, Laksa said. “She’s battling an injury and is playing through it for the team, to help us.”
USF head coach Jose Fernandez was pleased with his team’s ability to keep Tulane from rebounding shots in the second half.
“We did a much better job keeping them off the glass,” Fernandez said. “They had seven offensive rebounds in the first half. They only had two in the next 20 minutes.”
On the other side of the ball, Tulane was led by their leading scorer, Kolby Morgan, who scored 21 points in the losing effort. Entering play on Sunday, Morgan was fourth in The American in scoring. Leslie Vorpahl would be second in scoring for Tulane with 19. However, no other scorer for the Green Wave would score more than four points.
Fernandez was quick to praise his opposition, saying they should be judged on their overall season and not their recent skid.
“Tulane is a good team,” Fernandez said. “They have two very good players in [Morgan and Vorpahl]. They shouldn’t be judged on these last two games. They should be judged on the quality of the season that they have had.”
The Bulls will stay at home for the next two games, as they host in-state rival UCF (15-9, 5-6 The American) Tuesday night at 7. USF then welcomes in Temple (19-5, 9-2 The American) Sunday afternoon at 1.