By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 6, 2002
RECORDS: UAB 8-5, South Florida 10-3.
COACHES: UAB -- Jeannie Milling (244-181, 15th season, 405-291 overall). USF -- Jose Fernandez (14-27, second season).
KEY PLAYERS: UAB -- Natasha Thomas, F, 6-2 So.; Michelle Smith, C, 6-3 Jr. South Florida -- Aiya Shepard, SG, 5-7, Jr. (13.9 ppg, 4.5 spg); Sonia Cotton, F, 5-11, Jr. (16.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg); Alana Tanksley, G, 5-8, Fr. (11.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg).
NOTES: So far, so good for the Bulls' rapid rebuilding process. Fernandez projected USF, which won four games last season, would win as many as 10 non-Conference USA games, and his team delivered. Goal No. 2 was to go .500 in C-USA, and that quest begins today. Stress fractures to starters Jen Kline and Sarah Lochmann have hampered USF, but UAB has it worse. Deanna Jackson (26.2 ppg, 12.3 rpg), the C-USA preseason player of the year and an All-American, broke her leg Dec. 29 and is out at least another five weeks. She led the nation in scoring and rebounding at the time. ... The Blazers have won 20 of 24 meetings. Except for a cameo Dec. 18 against Manhattan, Lochmann has been out since the opener, but she could return; Kline is expected back in 2-3 weeks. USF point guard Dione Smith is averaging 5.0 steals. In USF's 77-72 win Dec. 30 at Jacksonville, Tanksley was 6 of 14 on 3-pointers, equaling the school record for made and attempted 3-pointers.