The South Florida Bulls are in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament for only the second time ever after recording a 21-10 record, and a 9-7 mark in Big East play. They were selected as an at-large team and given a #10 seed to the Spokane Region, where they will face the #7 seed Texas Tech Lady Raiders on their home floor in Lubbock on Saturday night. ESPN2 will cover the game as part of their whiparound coverage, meaning they will drop in for awhile and then move on to the other games going on at the same time. ESPN3 will carry the entire game online.
Texas Tech finished with an identical 21-10 record, with an 11-7 mark in Big XII play. The Lady Raiders were 14-3 at home, but USF has some matchup advantages that should make for an interesting contest. Let's look at both teams' lineups:
One key factor for Texas Tech will be avoiding turnovers. The Lady Raiders averaged only 14.1 turnovers per game (a low number in women's basketball, where turnovers are more common), and they'll be facing a USF defense that forced just over 20 turnovers per game this season and held their opponents to a scoring average of 59.3 points. Their four-guard offense does a pretty good job protecting the ball, which can keep USF from breaking out for easy baskets in transition.
The Tech roster is full of guards and their entire eight-player rotation is made up of juniors and seniors, giving the Lady Raiders a lot of speed and experience. They also have a balanced scoring attack, led by Chynna Brown's 13.3 points per game. On the other hand, USF has a deeper rotation and a definite size advantage, especially on the front line with Orekhova, Jenkins, and McDonald all listed at over 6 feet. While the Raiders do have 6'3" Shauntal Nobles and a pair of 6'5" sisters in Kellyn and Haly Schendier, none of them see a lot of playing time, and they may only come into the game for brief stretches.
The winner of this game moves on to the Round of 32 to play the winner of Saturday's early game between #2 seed California and 15th-seed Fresno State. A win would be the Bulls' first in NCAA Tournament play.