Editor's Note: The BIG EAST will be previewing both the men's and women's team from each BIG EAST member each weekday from October 22 to November 9 in advance of the 2012-13 season. Use hashtag #BECountdown to join the conversation on Twitter.
USF Bulls Women's Basketball
The Big Picture:
USF is poised for a successful season after finishing last year with a run in the WNIT and returning four of five starters for this season. USF has reached the postseason in eight of the past nine seasons. Last year, the Bulls advanced to the third round of the WNIT for the sixth time under head coach Jose Fernandez. The Bulls’ first two wins in the WNIT were double-digit victories. The Bulls totaled 19 wins, its highest mark since 2009.
The Bulls return all but one player from last year. Junior Inga Orekhova is the team’s top returning scorer after averaging 13.0 ppg a year ago. She led the team with 55 3-pointers. Senior Tiffany Connor was the team’s leading rebounder with 5.9 rpg and played in all 35 games. USF will also have the services of redshirt-senior guard Andrea Smith, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. Smith averaged 16.5 ppg in 2010-11. Seniors Kaneisha Saunders, Andrell Smith (WATCH INTERVIEW) and Caitlin Rowe all return after averaging over 21 minutes per game in 2011-12.
USF loses BIG EAST Most Improved Player of the Year Jasmine Wynne to graduation. Wynne scored in double figures in 28 games last season and ended her stellar USF career with 958 points and 185 steals. She was the team’s leading scorer with 15.4 ppg in 2011-12.
After playing in the Recreation Center last season, the Bulls move into the newly renovated Sun Dome this season. The team also has a two-story, 51,000 square-foot practice facility in the Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center. The split floor plan provides both the men’s and women’s programs their own practice court, locker room, offices, film room and lounge, while offering shared training room and strength and conditioning facilities USF has a tough schedule, playing 17 teams that made the postseason last season.