The USF Bulls hit the road for another critical Big East showdown with the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday at 2PM. USF, 12-4 (1-2) is coming off of a strong 77 to 44 win over Cincinnati, but faces a stiff test with 14-2 (3-0) Villanova that boasts a 5-0 home record this season (game begins at 2PM on Saturday).
In the win over Cincinnati, USF took control early and poured it on late, getting a lot of players involved and nearly everyone found their way on the stat sheet. Andrea Smith had a team high 17 points while sister Andrell added 16 points. Freshman Alisia Jenkins, who continues to get a lot of playing time, had 8 points and 12 rebounds. The Bulls will face a tough challenge on the road against a Nova team that will be to knock off the Bulls like USF did to them last season. In 2012, USF beat Nova 54 to 39 in a low scoring game.
Nova is led by senior forward Laura Sweeney (6'2") who leads the team with 16.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and has 28 blocks and 42 steals on the year (had just 9 points in the loss last year to USF). Senior guard Rachel Roberts (5'9") is averaging 10.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 2.5 APG. Sophomore forward Lauren Buford (6') is averaging 5.5 PPG and 1.6 RPG, adding another threat down in the paint for the Wildcats. Coming off of the bench is freshman guard Caroline Coyer (5'10") who is averaging 7.4 PPG and 3.1 RPG , providing a spark off the bench.
The key for the Bulls will be the play of their backcourt. The Smith twins have been firing a lot of shots recently and when they hit their mark, the Bulls can hang with any team. However, if they are cold (which has happened before) the Bulls often struggle. If Andrea, Andrell and Inga Orekhova (who has been quiet at times) get going early, the Bulls will hang with Nova on the road and could come away with a strong road win against a talented team.