Tampa, FL -- The No. 22 University of South Florida Bulls remain undefeated at home with a 108-63 win over intra-state rivals, the University of Central Florida Knights. Led by senior guard Courtney Williams and freshman forward Kitija Laksa, the Bulls improve to 9-3, 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference.
"I was pleased," USF head coach Jose Fernandez said. "I thought we did a really good job of sharing the ball."
Williams put the Bulls first points on the board with a pair of free throws in the first possession of the game. She added eight more by the end of the first quarter, leading all scorers with 10 points. Despite being held to a three-minute scoring drought near the end of the quarter, the Bulls recorded 19 rebounds and held a 21-11 lead.
"That first quarter we had five turnovers," Fernandez said. "But the rest of the way we did a good job of taking care of the ball and finishing in single digits."
USF only allowed UCF to add 12 points to the scoreboard in the second quarter, while the Bulls more than doubled their own score. An 84 percent free throw shooting efficiency and 13 points off turnovers allowed the Bulls to take a 47-23 lead heading into the locker room.
"I was really pleased in the first half how we defended and kept the ball to the side," Fernandez said. "Our kids attacked the basket and we got to the free throw line."
The Bulls started the second half strong, shooting at a 50 percent efficiency. With senior forward Alisia Jenkins leaving the game due to an ankle injury in the second quarter, sophomore forward Maria Jespersen filled in, putting up a total of 15 points and 7 rebounds. Back-to-back threes by Laksa helped the Bulls hold a 79-45 lead at the end of the quarter.
"I thought Maria came in and gave us good minutes when Jenkins went down," Fernandez said. "I thought Kit shot the ball extremely well. We found her. She struggled a little bit in the first quarter, but it seemed like she got her groove."
The Bulls continued to dominate offensively in the fourth, shooting at a 56 percent efficiency, while holding the Knights to 43 percent. By the end of the quarter, five Bulls were in double-figures. USF outrebounded UCF 53-40, and committed 9 turnovers compared to the Knights' 18. Though UCF guard Zykira Lewis led all scorers with 30 points, Laksa totaled a career-high 21 on the night, and Williams added 18.
"I think I can do better," Laksa said. "And I will do better."
The Bulls will look to remain perfect and home and in conference play as they host SMU on Sunday at 7 p.m.