Alex Cobb, Correspondent

Despite a slow start, the University of South Florida women’s basketball team progressed into the quarterfinals of the WNIT with a 74-57 victory over Mississippi (18-15) at the Sun Dome on Thursday night, giving the Bulls a matchup with St. Bonaventure in the fourth round.

The Rebels began on an 11-4 run but the Bulls came back, putting together a 20-10 run to tie the game with 8:20 remaining in the first half.

The Bulls trailed Ole Miss 40-38 at halftime, and coach Jose Fernandez told senior Jazmine Sepulveda to help the team get energy back.

“I told Jazz to tell the team: Don’t let this be your last 20 minutes of your career,” Fernandez said.

The Bulls came out with the energy it needed, stringing together an 11-4 run of its own to begin the half. The Rebels tried to rally but never got within five points for the remainder of the game.

Junior Janae Stokes helped the Bulls with outside shooting, scoring 13 points.

“That’s (Stokes),” Fernandez said. “She’s a shooter. She’s the type of kid that can just get on a roll and think that basket is four-feet wide.”

All-Big East guard Shantia Grace struggled in the second round against FGCU, scoring eight points. Thursday, however, she put up a game-high 18 points, going 6-for-12 from the field.

“We just came out with heart and said we weren’t going to lose,” Grace said. “Once one person stepped up, the rest of the team stepped up.”

The Bulls shot 3-for-3 from the free-throw line, taking their season record to 11-0 when shooting 70 percent or higher from the stripe.

The Bulls advance to the quarterfinals of the WNIT and are scheduled to face St. Bonaventure in New York at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Advertisements