Tampa, FL -- The No. 18 University of South Florida Bulls remain undefeated at home after beating the Butler Bulldogs 87-77. Though the Bulls walked away with a 10-point victory, USF head coach Jose Fernandez seemed thankful that his team got the win at all.
"This team can forget about Sweet 16, Elite 8, and all that other bullshit if we play like this," Fernandez said. "Tonight, even today at shootaround, our guys were excited to eat turkey, ham, and stuffing. That's what we looked like. Ready to go on break, ready to go on vacation."
The ball was in Butler's court for the first half of the game, where the Bulldogs shot 6-for-13 from the three-point range. USF struggled from the same range, missing all five shot attempts from beyond the arc. Though the Bulls only allowed one turnover and held Butler scoreless for the last seven minutes of the first half, the Bulldogs held a 36-34 lead.
"Tonight we just went through the motions," Fernandez said. "We thought we were just going to walk out here and play well on one end of the floor and not defend, and it's very disappointing."
USF created more opportunities during the second half, where Williams scored 15 of her team-high 29 points. The Bulls added five three-pointers, and created free throw opportunities where they converted on 18-of-23 chances. Butler's heat from beyond the arc kept them in the game, but wasn't able to push them past the Bulls.
"Today we didn't play well on defense," freshman forward Kitija Laksa, who hit two of the team's five three-pointers, said. "So we need to fix that. We need to prepare for the next game, and we definitely will be ready."
The Bulls will travel to St. John's on Sunday for a 2 p.m tipoff.