The Bulls (1-0) are taking on Chattanooga Invitational host UT Chattanooga (game begins at 2 PM). UTC went 29-4 (18-0) and 13-0 last year, finishing the 2013 season with an RPI of 44 and a trip to the NCAA tournament, giving the Bulls another tough foe right at the start of the year. USF is 2-3 all time against the Mocs, the last game coming back in 1998. UTC is 1-0 on the year after beating Villanova in their season opener. The Mocs have won 40 straight at home, so something has to give in this game.
Last year the Mocs averaged 69.8 PPG while allowing 56.2 PPG. They will face to replace their top 3 scorers from last year, but still have a veteran team ready to take on USF.
The Mocs are led by sophomore guard Chelsey Shumpert (5’4″) who started 26 games last year. She averaged 6.9 PPG (leading returning scorer) while shooting 44% from the field and 36% from 3-point range. She also averaged 2.1 RPG, had 54 assists (50 turnovers) and 21 steals last year. She had 5 points and 3 rebounds in the opening win over Villanova. Sophomore guard/forward Aryanna Gilbert (5’9″) started 25 games last year averaging 4.3 PPG, 2 RPG, adding 11 blocks and 24 steals. She had 2 points and 4 rebounds in the opening win. Between the two of them, they are part of the small returning nucleus from last year’s tournament team and will be a primary focus for the Bulls on defense, but they aren’t the only players to watch for in this game. They were quiet in the first game, but are still deadly and ready to go.
Sophomore forward Jasmine Joyner (6’2″) played in 25 games last year, averaging 3.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and led the team with 56 blocks. She will make life tough in the paint for the Bulls. She had 16 points and 20 rebounds in the opening win, giving her a lot of momentum heading into this game. Another player to watch for is senior guard/forward Ka’Vonne Towns (5’10”). She averaged 5.2 PPG last year in 33 games, shooting 41% while adding 2.3 RPG and 31 steals. She is another guard with good size and has the ability to hit long range shots. She had 4 points and 3 rebounds in the first game.
This is going to be a very tough game for the Bulls against a team that hasn’t lost at home in nearly 3 years. USF has the talent to get it done, they just have to execute better than they did against Nova if they want this win.