South Florida Headlines Exciting Cancun Challenge Field

After getting out to a strong start this season, the No. 21 University of South Florida women’s basketball team heads to the Cancun Challenge this weekend looking to continue its early success. 

The Bulls are sitting at 5-1 through their first six games, with the lone loss coming on the road at No. 2 Baylor on Nov. 19 by a score of 58-46. USF trailed by just four points entering the fourth quarter of that matchup but was outscored, 17-9, in the final period to lose. 

Watch South Florida at the 2019 Cancun Challenge LIVE on FloHoops

The Bulls have only played two ranked teams thus far — the aforementioned road loss to Baylor and a home win over then-No. 15 Texas earlier in November. That won’t change this weekend in Cancun as none of USF’s opponents currently appear in the AP Top 25 poll, but the trip to Mexico still presents a challenge for the Bulls. 

USF is the only ranked team of the 10 making the trip to Cancun — the other participants are Creighton, Florida Golf Coast University, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Dakota State, Temple and West Virginia. 

Of those teams, Notre Dame is the only other team receiving votes in the AP Poll and was the second team out in the most recent rankings with 44 votes.  

As this weekend’s tournament approaches, the Bulls travel to Cancun with one of the best defenses in the country. USF currently ranks eighth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 47.5 points per game to its opponents. The Bulls haven’t allowed more than 60 points this year — the most is the 58 they allowed to Baylor in the loss. Most recently, USF defeated Saint Francis (Pa.) and allowed just 23 points to the Red Flash, including just two points in the second quarter and just four points in the third. 

On that top-10 defense, the Bulls are led by junior Bethy Mununga as a starter and junior Shae Leverett off the bench. Mununga averages 12.5 points and 10.2 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game, and Leverett plays about 20 minutes per night while putting up, on average, 3.7 points and grabbing 6.8 boards. 

In the Bulls’ dominant win over Saint Francis, Leverett notched her first double-double of the year and sixth of her career at USF with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The team’s lone senior, Tamara Henshaw, is also an important contributor alongside Leverett as the Bulls’ other key post.

Defense is the calling card of this year’s edition of the Bulls. USF ranks 184th in the nation in total scoring offense, averaging 66.8 points per game. Mununga’s 12.5 points per game lead the team, and junior guard Enna Pehadzic is in a close second averaging just under 12 points per game at 11.8. 

Last year, the Bulls dealt with the injury bug quite a big, and Pehadzic was tasked with scoring quite a bit of volume to keep the team’s offense afloat. Now that USF is healthier, Pehadzic is able to share the offensive load and doesn’t have to be the go-to scorer every single night. After a breakout year last season, Pehadzic was tabbed as a preseason All-Conference Second Team selection in the AAC. 

Elsewhere on the offensive side of the ball, freshman guard Elena Tsineke, who comes to USF from Thessaloniki, Greece, made her season debut in the Bulls’ win over Saint Francis on Nov. 24. In 20 minutes of action, Tsineke went 4-of-8 from the field and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe for a team-leading 13 points in her first appearance in a Bulls’ jersey. 

This weekend in Cancun, Tsineke could expect to see more time and continue that early success — just like her team is looking to do. 

USF’s first game in Cancun will be on Thursday, Nov. 28 against South Dakota State, and the Bulls will then face FGCU on Friday and last year’s national runner-up, Notre Dame, on Saturday. The weekend promises to bring stiff competition and will serve as a good test for a team that hasn’t faced too many challenges yet, outside of the games against Baylor and Texas. 

All three of the Bulls’ opponents this weekend made the NCAA Tournament last year, and Notre Dame went all the way to the championship game before falling to Baylor. So, after Saturday, USF will have already played last year’s last two teams standing, as well as another team from last year’s tournament — Texas, which the Bulls already beat this year.

For the Bulls, trying to reestablish prominence after an injury-decimated 2018-19 season — where they still made the AAC Tournament semifinals and the second round of the WNIT — three straight games against tournament teams from last year will present a good early-season measuring stick. 

We Stand With You

The events of the last week have been tremendously painful to us all.

2019-20 EuroLeague and EuroCup Seasons Cancelled

The Euroleague Commercial Assets Shareholders Executive Board met remotely on Monday, May 25, for the fourth time since the season was suspended on March 12 due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic.

Youth Sports Leaders Form PLAY Sports Coalition

400+ youth sports leaders join forces to form the PLAY Sports Coalition to support young athletes through COVID-19.

PacWest & FloSports Announce 3-Year Partnership

null

FloSports Acquires Streaming Rights To Complete Basketball and Volleyball Seasons Across The Conference’s 11 Member Institutions In California And Hawaii 

2020 Cayman Islands Classic Returns To FloHoops For Second Year In A Row

FloSports, the innovator in live sports streaming and original content, and Caymax Sports Ltd. announced that the 2020 Cayman Islands Classic will once again return to FloSports for the second consecutive year and third year overall. The highly regarded preseason tournament will be broadcast on FloHoops November 23-25 and will showcase all 12-games across the three-day event.

COVID-19 Might End The Age Of Skyrocketing NCAA Expense Sheets

Ten billion, three hundred fifty-seven million, one hundred forty-nine thousand, fifty-one dollars. 

Towson Day Watch Guide

Calling all Towson Tigers.

William & Mary Day On FloHoops

Tell you whole Tribe. We have big news.

James Madison Day On FloHoops

Calling all JMU diehards.

There's No Precedent For What Happens To Basketball If Football Is Canceled

If the college football season is canceled, what happens to college athletics?