The Bulls will start the 2014-15 season on the road in the Chattanooga Invitational as they face off against Villanova in the first game (game begins at 4 PM). USF went 23-13 last year but missed the NCAA tournament. They are hoping to start the year off with some strong wins over top RPI opponents and Villanova is the first chance at that.
The Wildcats went 23-9 last year, falling in the second round of the WNIT. They averaged 64 PPG last year while allowing 58. Villanova enters the year with an RPI of 55 but USF has had great success over the Wildcats, holding a 7-1 edge over them all-time. The last meeting came back on 1/19/2013 with the Bulls dropping that only loss on the road 49 to 52 to Villanova. Nova dropped their opener last night to UT Chattanooga 45 to 49, so they are 0-1 and hoping for their first win in this game.
Nova is led by junior guard Caroline Coyer (5’10”) who averaged 10.2 PPG last year (was 36 for 136 from 3-point range) while averaging 4.4 RPG and adding 115 assist (30 turnovers) and 37 steals. She was scoreless last night and committed 4 fouls and turned the ball over 5 times. Senior forward/center Emily Leer (6’2″) averaged 9.2 PPG (49 for 137 from 3-point range) an added 3.4 RPG, 29 blocks, and 24 steals. She is inside post player that is not afraid to shoot from long range, posing a threat to the USF post players. Senior forward Lauren Burford (6′) averaged 8.9 PPG (64 for 160 from 3-point range) and added 2.3 RPG, 18 blocks, and 16 steals. She had 19 points and 5 rebounds in the first game of the year. Junior guard Katherine Coyer (5’11”) averaged 7.3 PPG, 32. RPG and added 19 steals and 10 blocks last year. She added 2 points and 3 rebounds last night. Keep an eye on senior forward Taylor Holeman (6’1″) who averaged 7.1 PPG, 5 RPG, 23 blocks, and 24 steals last year in 35 games (did not start any). She is another big inside post player that gives Villanova a lot of depth in the paint. She added 10 rebounds in the loss to UT Chattanooga.
This is going to be a tough first test for the Bulls. We all know about Courtney Williams and Alisia Jenkins, but there are a lot of questions after them. Who takes over at center? Can Paige Cashin and Katelyn Weber take over and provide defense and something on offense? Can Adriana Pujol take over in her new starting role and add long range shooting to the offense? Who starts at point guard? Will new comer like Bree Brooks take over or will a veteran like Laura Marcos Canedo take over and lead the team? Coach Fernandez has a lot of decisions to make in this first game and it will be tough with a loaded roster. Let’s see how this new look roster performs in the first game of the year.