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November 7, 2013

USF Women's bkb opens with Terps

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The 2013-2014 USF Women's Basketball season begins as the Bulls take the court for the first time at the Sun Dome and as they face 6th/8th ranked Maryland Terrapins Friday to get the year started.

Maryland went 26-8 (14-4) last season and made a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. Maryland averaged 75 PPG last year and held opponents to just 56 PPG last year, showing how good they are on both ends of the court. Head Coach Jose Fernandez and his team are facing a daunting challenge to start the season.

The Terrapins will face to replace Tianna Hawkins after she graduated last season (scored 18 PPG) but return junior guard Laurin Mincy who averaged 8.6 PPG in just 5 games of action before her season was ended with a torn ACL. Mincy will probably be limited to start the year, but she is someone to keep an eye on.

The star for the Terrapins is senior forward Alyssa Thomas (6'2") who averaged 18.8 PPG last season (led team) while shooting 45% from the floor. Thomas also averaged 10.3 RPG, and added 181 assists (137 turnovers) along with 26 blocks and had 61 steals. Thomas is their big time scorer in the paint and will provide a huge match-up challenge for Akila McDonald and Alisia Jenkins inside. The Bulls will have to attempt to limit her touches and make life difficult in the paint if they want to slow down the Terrapin attack.

Thomas is not the only Terrapin that will prove to be a touch match in the first game of the year. Senior guard Katie Ruton (5'8") averaged 9.5 PPG (shot 37% from the floor) and added 4.1 RPG last season. She also added 76 assists (56 turnovers) along with 10 blocks and 27 steals, running the point for the Terrapins and feeding Thomas inside the paint. Courtney Williams, Laura Marcos Canedo, and others will have to play smart basketball and take away easy passing lanes to Thomas in the paint. Senior center Alicia DeVaughn (6'4") averaged 8.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG last season and added 30 blocks, making her a problem inside the paint for Akila McDonald and others. Another player to watch is sophomore guard Chloe Pavlech (5'9") who averaged 5.5 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and added 33 steals, giving the Terrapins another weapon on the edge.

This is going to be a very tough opening draw for the Bulls to start the 2013-14 season, but Head Coach Fernandez has proven he can coach up his team and will have them prepared. The Bulls will face Central Connecticut State on Sunday at 2 PM after this game.



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