Freshman center's range spreads beyond paint

Published November 9, 2006

TAMPA - USF basketball fans got their first look at 6-foot-5 freshman center Stephanie Sarosi in Sunday's exhibition against the Miami Sun.

That she would pull down 13 rebounds in her debut was no surprise. But one of her first shots being a 3-pointer?

Coach Jose Fernandez said she has confidence to hit the outside shot, creating all kinds of mismatches.

"She can trail on the break, and in our zone offense, we have her stepping out some," Fernandez said. "She plays like a European type of game. The girls give her a hard time. She'll hit a reverse layup or a 3 and the kids will call her 'Nowitzki.'

"She's not there yet, but she has a very bright future here."

KNOCK ON WOOD: For the second time in a year, the basketball teams are playing on a new home court in the Sun Dome.

Monday's men's exhibition broke in a new court bought from Connor Sports Flooring. During the summer, USF saved $20,000 by buying a maple court from Connor that had been used briefly in the making of the movie Glory Road, about the 1966 Texas Western team that sported the first all-black starting five in the NCAA Tournament.

Sun Dome executive director Scott Glaser said USF returned that court for a credit toward the new, unused surface, but said the problems had to do with moisture retention during the summer and nothing do with a string of injuries last season that included season-ending knee injuries to Chris Howard and Tristen Webb, the starting point guards for both basketball teams.

Greg Auman can be reached at 813 226-3346 or auman@sptimes.com Check his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/USF.