After a strong win over Seton Hall on Tuesday night, the Bulls return home to face Marquette on Saturday night (game begins at 6PM) in another important Big East match-up.
USF, sitting at 13-5 (2-3) has a chance to return to .500 in Big East play as they host the Golden Eagles of Marquette who enter the game with a 10-8 (2-3). The Golden Eagles nearly pulled off a huge upset on Tuesday night, falling to 12th ranked Louisville on the road by just two points. Marquette is a strong team that will be looking to hand USF a loss like the Bulls did last season to Marquette, beating them 61 to 48 on the road. In the win last season, Inga Orekhova led the way with 14 points and Andrell Smith had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
This season, Marquette is led by junior forward Katherine Plouffe (6'3") who does it all for Marquette. She is averaging 13.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3 APG, has 24 steals and 11 blocks. With her height and skill set, Plouffe will be a force the Bulls will have to contain for the entire game. Sophomore guard Arlesia Morse (5'10") is averaging 11.6 PPG and 3.4 RPG. Senior forward Sarina Simmons (6'1") is averaging 9.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and leads the team with 34 steals. Freshman guard Brooklyn Pumroy (5'9") is averaging 8.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG.
In the win over Seton Hall, USF was able to use their fullcourt press defense to frustrate and force SHU into bad turnovers and poor shot selections. Against Marquette, the battle for the Bulls will be inside the paint with the height of the two forwards, Plouffe and Simmons. Coach Fernandez will need his front court of Jenkins, McDonald, Rowe, and Johnson to clear the boards and play some of their best defense of the season and allow the USF backcourt to take over the game.