The USF Bulls paved the UNF Ospreys 78-42 on Tuesday night at the Sun Dome.
The Bulls outrebounded the hapless Ospreys 58-35, holding the visitors to just 18-64 from the field and 4-20 from three-point range.
Kitija Laksa led all Bulls with 18 points, but a mid-game slump held her to just 7-21 from the floor. Junior Maria Jespersen added 16 points, and freshman Tamara Henshaw was 5-5 from the field for 11 points and eight rebounds in just 15 minutes of action.
“Typical opening night,” said Bulls head coach Jose Fernandez. “I thought we played with a little bit of nervousness and jitters, but this team really shares the ball well. I was happy we had 16 assists on the 26 field goals.”
“I’m relieved that I got the first game out of (the way)” said Henshaw. “All the nerves are gone.”
The biggest surprise of the evening was the participation of junior Laura Ferreira, who had been rumored to be out for the season with plantar fascia issues. She played nine second-half minutes, with three points and four rebounds.
“Just wanted to get her a little bit of time,” said Fernandez. “We’ve been using her limited in practice, just wanted to get her up and down the floor, but she picked up two fouls in the first 30 seconds.”
Laia Flores led the Bulls from the point guard spot for most of the evening, playing 36 minutes with eight assists and zero turnovers.
Fernandez also confirmed the preseason practice injury to freshman Enna Pehadzic is an ACL tear and that she is out for the season.
The Bulls face Jacksonville next Monday before heading to The Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam, facing North Carolina, Georgia, and Minnesota.