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USF Women’s Basketball Opens Conference Play With 75-46 Win Over Tulane

The Bulls picked up a win in the conference opener for the fourth straight year.


It was a total team effort on New Years Eve at the Sun Dome as the #25 USF Bulls used contributions from nine different players on the scoresheet to win their fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference opener 75-46 over the Tulane Green Wave.

“It was a great way to open up conference play here at home,” head coach Jose Fernandez said. “I was really impressed with the turnout here on New Years Eve... and now we have to get ready for a quick turnaround this week at Cincinnati.”

After a back-and-forth beginning, the Bulls held the Green Wave scoreless for the final few minutes of the first quarter and ended the period on an 8-0 run to grab a 22-13 lead.

Junior sharpshooter Kitija Laksa drained her first three-ball 20 seconds into the game and finished 4-of-8 from behind the arc with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists.

Laksa’s 4.38 three-point field goals entering the game was the nation’s best mark and her 61 three-pointers this season is second in the country.

The Green Wave couldn’t get anything to drop and were held scoreless for several minutes again as USF outscored Tulane 22-7 in the second quarter and led 44-20 at halftime.

Senior forward Maria Jespersen put together her 12th double-digit points performance of the season finishing with 17 points to lead all scorers, adding 11 rebounds.

As a team, the Bulls shot 47% from the floor and 39% (9-for-23) from three-point range and took a 59-37 lead into the final quarter.

Redshirt freshman Enna Pehadzic of Denmark saw some action and drained her first three-pointer on the Bulls home court in the third quarter. She would go on to play five minutes and grab a rebound.

Sophomore forward Tamara Henshaw provided some secondary scoring, playing 21 minutes and adding 14 points with two rebounds.

USF will hit the road for a quick midweek matchup at Cincinnati on Wednesday before returning home on Saturday for the “big one”. A conference showdown with powerhouse UConn at 7 p.m. from the Sun Dome.