Playing with only eight healthy players, the USF women’s basketball team rolled past Tulane 73-46 on Saturday afternoon at the Yuengling Center.
“I’m really proud of this group...they’ve just continued to work and play for one another,” an emotional Jose Fernandez said. “You can really look at the character of the people we have in our program and on our roster.”
In light of today’s rout of Tulane, I asked @CoachJFernandez if his injury-ravaged team’s postseason goals remain in play. His response was the most emotional I’ve seen from him. @USFWBB pic.twitter.com/TuH0MgsrtG— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) January 19, 2019
Fueled by a career-high, 25-point performance by freshman Sydni Harvey, the Bulls (11-7, 2-2 AAC) exploded for a 12-0 run to open the second quarter and went on to outscore the Green Wave 24-8 to close the first half.
Harvey drained four three-balls and dished off four assists to lead all scorers.
After committing 23 turnovers in a loss to No. 3 UConn on Sunday, USF turned it over just 12 times and forced 18, all while out-rebounding Tulane 39-28.
Sophomore Shae Leverett registered her third double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“Honestly, my teammates trust me and find me inside,” Leverett said. “I know I can kick it out and anyone can knock down a three so that really opens it up for me.”
As a team, the Bulls shot 43% (26-for-61) from the floor and 43% (9-for-21) from three-point range, including a toasty 58% from the field in the final quarter to seal away the blowout.
Redshirt sophomore Enna Pehadzic joined the career-best fun, adding 21 points and hauling in eight rebounds. The Denkmark native swooshed in three consecutive treys in the fourth and finished with a career-high five three-pointers.
“You have to step up. It’s like, next man up is how it is,” Pehadzic said. “That’s what Coach says; he recruits players he trusts, and we all get prepared in practice.”
Despite missing more than 50 points from five unavailable/injured players, the USF lead never dipped below 16 points in the final half.
“Just because we’ve had adversity, this is still an NCAA Tournament team,” Fernandez added. “I think it’s something that they’re gonna take away from the University of South Florida and use that in the real world.”
USF returns to action at the Yuengling Center on Wednesday night vs. Memphis at 7 p.m.