#17 South Florida Women's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

South Florida Bulls
Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #2 American
 South Florida Logo
South Florida had a very good 2016-2017 season, finishing with 24 wins. However, their trip to the NCAA Tournament was brief. After winning a game in 2015 and 2016, the Bulls lost their opener to Missouri in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. But this year could be better. Four starters are back, including junior guard Kitija Laksa. She led the Bulls with 19.2 points and is one of the most prolific shooters in the country. Laksa knocked down 101 three-pointers last year and has the ability to take over any game.
2016-17 Record: 24-9, 11-5
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jose Fernandez
Coach Record: 309-235 at South Florida, 309-235 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Ariadna Pujol, Guard/Forward, 12.4 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kitija Laksa, Junior, Guard, 19.2 ppg
Maria Jespersen, Senior, Forward, 14.7 ppg
Laia Flores, Senior, Guard, 8.7 ppg
Tamara Henshaw, Sophomore, Center, 7.0 ppg
Laura Ferreira, Senior, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Dorottya Nagy, Sophomore, Forward, 3.8 ppg
Jazz Bond. Sophomore, Guard, 1.9 ppg
Key New Players
Vanessa Blagmon, Freshman, Guard
Shae Leverett, RS Freshman, Center
Enna Pehadzic RS Freshman, Guard
Alba Prieto, Freshman, Guard
Silvia Serrat, Freshman, Forward
Alyssa Rader, Sophomore, Center, Transfer, Northern Arizona
Laia Flores makes this team tick. The senior point guard is a capable scorer, but she dished out 6.1 assists per game and will set up her teammates efficiently and effectively. Laura Ferreira, a 5-11 wing, was a two year starter before missing most of last season with an injury. Two years ago she averaged 9.6 points and 4.4 rebounds and, if she can stay healthy, should find a spot back in the starting lineup. In the frontcourt, Maria Jespersen and Tamara Henshaw will return to their starting roles. Jespersen is a versatile scorer who averaged 14.7 points and 9.0 rebounds as a junior, while Henshaw is another strong rebounder who can block a few shots. With a solid group of freshmen and Alyssa Rader joining the team from Northern Arizona, South Florida has the depth to compete with everybody except Connecticut in the AAC.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.7 (67th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.8 (103, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.1 (58, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (116, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (90, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (91, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.2 (55, 2)
Rebound Margin: 8.1 (14, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (126, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (32, 2)
Madness 2017 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#133 Alba Prieto
#158 Sylvia Serrat