#11 Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball will have their hands full when they compete in their second-ever NCAA Tournament game on Saturday against #6 South Florida (25-7, 13-3 AAC). The game is more than likely going to push the pace from the start to finish—which will be exciting for fans.
The South Florida Bulls are led by head coach Jose Fernandez. In his 18 year coaching history, Fernandez has compiled over 300 wins, several NCAA Tournament and WNIT appearances, and a WNIT championship. To say he’s had a successful career is an understatement.
USF is a tough, balanced team that has no problem scoring the ball at 75.1 points per game and holding off opponents to just 61.8 a contest. On paper, they look a lot like this year’s UB Women’s Hoops team, but, USF will ultimately have an advantage in both height and athleticism.
Bulls fans should be on the lookout for USF’s two threats that stretch the floor pretty well. Kitija Laksa is a 6-0 guard that leads the Bulls in scoring with 20.9 a game. She’ll be dangerous beyond the arc and has the size to take it into the lane and put up points down low. USF also has Maria Jespersen, a forward who averages nearly a double-double at 18 and 9.6. Jespersen will also be a problem from beyond the arc if left unchecked.
Buffalo’s best chance at taking home the upset victory over the 19th best team in the country will be slowing the pace down and keeping the score low or applying a strong, consistent ball pressure on USF’s guards. Personally, I think the latter option is more feasible because of how well UB has turned the ball over. South Florida has struggled this season against the better defensive teams, especially when they implement a full court press into the game plan.
Tip-off for the game is scheduled at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. If you are in Western New York or Tampa, the game will be available in full on ESPN2. If you aren’t, you’ll have to stream on ESPN3 or settle for whip-around coverage.