Written by Brian Hattab
TAMPA - USF women’s basketball (19-5, 9-2 The American) was victorious in their return to the Sun Dome Wednesday, downing ECU (13-11, 5-6 The American) 88-47 in front of an announced crowd of 2,009.
The Bulls had five scorers in double-figures, with junior guard Kitija Laksa leading the way with 25 points. Laksa was happy to be back home after playing four out of the last five games on the road.
“#HomeSweetDome,” Laksa said. “It’s great to be back. It’s fantastic to play in front of our crowd and we missed that.”
Joining Laksa in double figures was senior guard Laura Ferreira with 16 points, freshman guard Alba Prieto with 13 points, senior forward Maria Jespersen with 12 points and freshman guard Vanessa Blagmon with 11 points. USF finished the game 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the three-point line.
“I think we just came with another energy and attitude,” Prieto said. “We felt like the team was really supporting us and telling us to shoot the ball, so we just did it.”
USF outrebounded the Pirates 49-34, but allowed ECU to collect 16 offensive rebounds which led to ECU being able to attempt 15 more field goals.
“Yeah, we won the rebounding battle,” head coach Jose Fernandez said. “But we gave up so many offensive rebounds and that’s just not us.”
ECU was led offensively by junior guard Alex Frazier with 13 points. Frazier was the only Pirate to finish in double-figures scoring, despite being forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent head injury after colliding with Laksa. After being helped back on her feet, a very wobbly Frazier had to be helped off the floor by multiple members of ECU’s staff.
“She looked dazed when she went down,” Fernandez said. “Hopefully she comes out of that healthy.”
Up next for USF is a non-conference home matchup with Big 10 opponent Ohio State Sunday at 2 p.m. The Buckeyes currently sit at No. 13 in both the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.
“Got to move forward and get ready for a very good team coming in here this weekend,” Fernandez said. “I think it’s a very important game for them and us, RPIwise and strength of schedulewise.”