The USF women's basketball team got back to work today after being delayed by blizzard Nemo shutdown most of the Northeast for the last few days. Despite the cold conditions outside, it didn't affect the ladies as they beat Providence 82 to 59, running their record to 16-6 (5-4) on the season.
The Bulls led just 28 to 23 at the half, but the ladies cranked up the heat in the second half and ran away with the game late. Inga Orekhova had 21 points (5 out of 8 from 3-point range). Andrea Smith had 13 points, 2 assists, and 4 steals. Alisia Jenkins had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Akila McDonald had 4 points and 11 rebounds, cleaning up the paint on rebounds. Courtney Williams had 15 points, all coming in the second half as the offense took control of the game.
The Bulls now sit in a tie with three other teams for 6th place in the Big East and need to continue to beat the lower ranked teams in the Big East if they want to have a chance of making the NCAA tournament. They will have a chance to do so with St. John's coming to Tampa on Wednesday (game begins at 4PM).
SJU is led by senior guard Shenneika Smith (6'1") who averages 17.2 PPG, 7.2 PRG, had 47 blocks and 35 teals on the year, posing a huge threat on offense and defense. With her size, she will be a challenge for Orekhova on the perimeter and her ability to get in the paint and get the job done. Senior guard Nadirah McKenith (5'7") averages 12.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.4 APG, and has 34 steals on the year. She is the creator on offense for SJU and will be a key player to shut down by Andrell Smith and others. Freshman guard Aliyyah Hanford (5'9") averages 9.1 PPG, 4 RPG, and has 36 steals on the season. Junior guard Briana Brown (5'8") averages 8.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG, adding more firepower for their offense.
SJU sits at 11-10 (5-4) on the season (3-4 on the road) but is coming off of an overtime over Georgetown in their last game. USF, coming off of a strong game against Providence and back at home, should be the favorite to win this game, but in the Big East, things happen. USF cannot afford a let down in this game and need to take care of business against the Red Storm.