By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 11, 2002
TAMPA -- The Conference USA basketball season might be only days old, but the South Florida women's team is one of the league's front-runners.
The Bulls are 1-0 in conference play and 11-3 overall. They have the second-highest win total in the league, trailing Tulane's 13-3 mark.
USF opened C-USA play Jan. 6 by downing Alabama-Birmingham 73-64.
The win was just the Bulls' fifth in 25 games against UAB.
Sonia Cotton led USF in scoring for the fourth time in the past six games with 16 points. Alana Tanksley and Dione Smith each added 13 points, and Aiya Shepard came off the bench to score 12. The Bulls were 11 of 32 from 3-point range, tying the mark for attempts in a C-USA game.
Cotton continues to lead the Bulls in scoring with 16 points per game. Shepard and Tanksley are chipping in 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Jen Kline, who is expected to be out three weeks with a stress fracture in her left leg, was averaging 14 points per game before the injury.
The Bulls host Marquette tonight at 7 and DePaul on Sunday at 2 p.m. Both games are in the Sun Dome and the DePaul game will be televised on a tape delay by Fox Sports Net on Monday at 7 p.m.
MEN'S BASKETBALL: Saturday tips off a brutal stretch of games for the Bulls, who will play five of their next seven away from the Sun Dome.
The schedule not only has USF spending most of January on the road, but playing some of Conference USA's toughest squads.
The Bulls, (10-3 overall, 1-0 in C-USA) play at DePaul on Saturday, at Memphis (8-2 in its last 10 games) on Tuesday and are back home Jan. 18 against Charlotte. USF will face No. 12 Cincinnati at home Jan. 26 and Louisville at Freedom Hall on Feb. 1.
BASEBALL: The start of the season is less than a month away as the Bulls open the regular season Feb. 9 with a home game against Stetson.
The Bulls went 33-31 a season ago, finishing third in Conference USA and advancing to the NCAA regionals.