For the 24th consecutive time, the #1 UConn Huskies women’s basketball team defeated the USF Bulls 100-49 Saturday night in front of a women’s basketball record crowd of 6,659 at the Sun Dome.
The Bulls struggled right from the tip, quickly trailing 6-0 and 11-2 before head coach Jose Fernandez was forced to call a timeout a few minutes in.
“Bottom line... we got our ass kicked tonight,” Fernandez said. “You prepare and you watch film and you get your guys ready for their speed and their toughness and their aggressiveness and how hard they cut...you can’t mimic the pace and the way that UConn plays.”
USF (12-4, 2-1 AAC), couldn’t muster up much of anything offensively in the first quarter and trailed 33-11 at the end of one period.
Freshman guard Vanessa Blagmon provided a little bit of spark in the second quarter when she checked in and drained a three-ball, while grabbing two rebounds in four minutes. She finished with three points, four rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes.
Senior forward Maria Jespersen was silent in the first half with just four points, shooting 0-of-3 from three-point range and 2-of-9 from the floor. She finished the game with nine points and eight rebounds, shooting 3-of-13 from the floor.
Senior point guard Laia Flores led all Bulls at the break with seven points and three rebounds. She finished with seven points and four rebounds.
As a team, the Bulls shot 24% from the floor in the first half and 14% (2-for-14) from three-point range. It was a 51-20 Huskies lead at halftime.
“For us to have a chance, we can’t shoot as poorly as we did,” Fernandez added. “The bright spot for us was our bench of Blagmon, Rader, Leverett. Those guys got some really, really good minutes, experience wise.”
The third quarter was no different with UConn draining nearly everything out of the break. The Bulls didn’t make a basket in the second half until sophomore forward Tamara Henshaw swung in a layup three minutes in.
Henshaw played 23 minutes and totaled eight points and grabbed six rebounds.
USF was forced to call another timeout trailing 61-22 midway through the third quarter.
Redshirt sophomore Alyssa Rader drained back-to-back threes for a little boost following the timeout in the third quarter to trim the Huskies lead to 67-30.
Rader was sharp the majority of the game and finished with a team-high 11 points and was 3-of-5 from three-point range.
“The bright spot for us was our bench of Vanessa Blagmon, Alyssa Rader, Shae Leverett,” Fernandez said. “Those guys got some really, really good minutes, experience wise.”
Entering the final quarter, it was a 75-32 UConn lead and Bulls sharpshooters Kitija Laksa and Laura Ferreira were a combined 0-for-24 shooting.
Laksa played 25 minutes and was 0-for-the game. She did not score and was 0-of-11 from the floor, 0-of-8 from distance. Laksa, since scoring 40 points in a game against Southern, is shooting 31 % from the floor and only 25% from three in six games.
“I think the kid got a little frustrated and got a little hurried (with her shots),” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said about Laksa’s performance.
Ferreira was not much better, playing 37 minutes and finishing with just two points and four rebounds.
USF finished the game shooting 28% as a team and 23% (7-of-31) from three-point land.
The trio of Jespersen, Ferreira and Laksa combined to shoot 4-for-40 for 11 points.
UConn (13-0, 3-0 AAC) didn’t allow any assemblance of a USF run the entire game and the Bulls were held scoreless for several long stretches of time to remain winless all-time against the Huskies.
The Bulls will return to action on Wednesday night at Temple.
“It’s one game. This can’t affect [at] Temple. We gotta put this behind us,” Fernandez said.