The USF women’s basketball team cruised to 64-54 win over SMU despite a big drop-off in offensive efficiency from their last game.  In their 84-65 blowout win over #13 Ohio State, USF 30-65 for 46%.  Against the Mustangs, the Bulls shot just over 32%. 

The offensive challenges were on display early in the game, and were not limited to USF.  Both teams went a combined 11-49 in the first quarter of play.  USF took the first quarter, 9-7.

Both teams would be better in the second period, but neither would be stellar.  The Mustangs shot just 25% in the quarter, good for 11 points.  The Bulls were slightly better at 33%, and took at 22-18 lead into halftime.

USF’s Maria Jespersen got warmed up in the third quarter of play.  She already led the team with 11 points scored in the first half.  In the second, she would go on to score ten in the third quarter and seven in the fourth to finish the game with a team leading 28 points scored.

The Mustangs would outscore the Bulls in the final quarter of play, but it wouldn’t be enough to make up for the double digit leads that USF held for much of the second half.  SMU had two double-digit scorers, led by Kiara Perry with 18, who was followed by McKenzie Adams with 11.  Adams went 4-4 from the free throw line.

Jespersen’s 28 points was nearly half of the Bulls’ total, but she got some help from Kitija Laksa, who scored 16 points.  No other Bulls scored in double-digits.  In addition to her big scoring night, Jespersen pulled down a team-leading 10 rebounds.

So disappointed by his team’s performance, head coach, Jose Fernandez, apologized to the fans in the postgame press conference.  “I want to apologize to all of the fans that took the time out on their Valentine’s day to watch that,” he said.  “It was not a pretty basketball game, for sure.”

The offensive shortcomings were not missed by the coach.  “We shot the ball atrocious for the first twenty minutes,” said Fernandez.  “It was just awful.  We played probably one of the best games all year (Ohio State), and then we come back and play like that.”

The Bulls are now 21-5 (10-2) and will visit nearby UCF on Sunday, February 18th.  That game will tipoff at noon.  

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