USF women’s basketball head coach Jose Fernandez earned his 300th career victory as the #21 Bulls routed an overmatched Memphis Tigers squad 79-49 on Tuesday at the Sun Dome.
Fernandez earned the milestone in the middle of his 17th season in charge of the Bulls, and is far and away the all-time winningest coach in the 45-year history of the program. He passed Trudi Lacey’s 86 career victories in 2007.
“When you sit there and you look at that video and I been here since President Genshaft’s first year,” said Fernandez. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of really good players to get to 300, but also I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for all the assistants. I’ve had a very good staff.”
“When you win 300 games, just multiply 130 practices times 17 years. That’s where you really win games.”
Maria Jespersen shined for the Bulls, tying her career high with 26 points on 11-18 shooting. “Memphis is a really aggressive team,” said Jespersen “and our three-point shot didn’t really fall today, so we had to take it to the rim.”
Senior Ari Pujol picked up the game’s only double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, her second of the season, and added five assists to lead the home team.
The Bulls (15-2, 4-1 AAC) held the Tigers to 20-61 shooting and forced 17 turnovers. Memphis (8-10, 1-4 AAC) was led by Taylor Williams and Cheyenne Creighton with 13 points each.
But the night belonged to Fernandez, who was fetted with this video at the end of the game:
“I think we got really good kids. They’re good students. Our kids graduate, they have great GPA’s. They’re in the community, they do the right things off the court,” said Fernandez when asked about the reason for the growth in fan support of the program. “And I think we also play an exciting style of basketball. But winning does help put people in the stands, that’s for sure.”
“Who’d of thought that every courtside seat is sold, and that there’s a waiting list for courtside seats?” He also mentioned over half the team scholarships are now endowed via the USF Foundation.
The Bulls are back in action on Sunday as they take on #8 Louisville 2 p.m. at the Sun Dome. It will be the first matchup of the teams in the Sun Dome since the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament where Louisville beat USF to advance to the Sweet 16.