#18 South Florida Women's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

South Florida Bulls
Overall Rank: #18
Conference Rank: #2 American
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South Florida has reached the NCAA Tournament four straight years, but they have not had much success once there. The last two seasons the Bulls have lost in the first round. But they should get another shot at it this year with Kitija Laksa back for her senior season. The guard averaged a team high 21.1 points last season and is lethal from beyond the arc. Once again, South Florida will go as far as Laksa can take them.
2017-18 Record: 26-8, 13-3
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jose Fernandez
Coach Record: 335-243 at South Florida, 335-243 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Maria Jespersen, Forward, 18.1 ppg
Laia Flores, Guard, 8.0 ppg
Alba Prieto, Guard, 4.0 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kitija Laksa, Senior, Guard, 21.1 ppg
Laura Ferreira, Senior, Forward, 10.0 ppg
Tamara Henshaw, Junior, Center, 6.5 ppg
Alyssa Rader, Junior, Center, 6.2 ppg
Vanessa Blagmon, Sophomore, Guard, 1.8 ppg
Shae Leverett, Sophomore, Center, 1.7 ppg
Enna Pehadzic, Sophomore, Guard, 1.6 ppg
Key New Players
Sydni Harvey, Freshman, Guard
Beatriz Jordao, Freshman, Center
Makaela Kestner, Freshman, Guard
Elisa Pinzan, Freshman, Guard
Janeta Rozentale, Freshman, Forward
Silvia Serrat, RS Freshman, Forward
Irida Tsafara, Freshman, Guard
There are some key pieces gone though, including second leading scorer Maria Jespersen and point guard Laia Flores. That will put pressure on Laura Ferreira and Tamara Henshaw to step up their production in the South Florida frontcourt. Ferreira, a 5-11 wing, averaged 10.0 points and 6.8 rebounds last season, while Henshaw added 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. Alyssa Rader could step into the starting spot vacated by Jespersen if Coach Jose Fernandez wants to put out a taller lineup. The 6-2 junior has shown plenty of potential on both ends of the floor and could see a big boost in production with more playing time. Finding a backcourt mate for Laksa will be very important for this team. Sophomores Vanessa Blagmon and Enna Pehadzic have a bit of experience, but South Florida may have to rely on a few freshmen to fill in some minutes as well.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.2 (36th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.0 (124, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (57, 3)
Field-Goal Defense:38.6 (84, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.5 (28, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (63, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.6 (20, 3)
Rebound Margin: 9.6 (8, 2)
Assists Per Game:15.3 (64, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (36, 2)
Madness 2019 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#12 Kitija Laksa