TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The women’s basketball team at the University of South Florida is in the midst of one of their best seasons in program history, most recently earning the top seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time ever. They also won the regular-season conference title for the first time ever, setting a school record with 13-straight wins at one point, and were ranked as high as 12th in the nation this season.
“It’s incredible to do something like that and just see the joy in all the student athletes’ faces,” said USF women’s basketball Head Coach Jose Fernandez about winning the conference title. “You don’t accomplish something like that if you don’t have incredible student-athletes like we do in our program — and also an incredible staff.”
“I’m just glad we got an opportunity,” Fernandez continued. “We’ve been in a conference with one of the best teams in the country year in and year out– 16 years in two different leagues with Connecticut. So when you get an opportunity to win a regular-season title, it’s awesome.”
Even more impressive still, is that this team is accomplishing all of this through a pandemic, which Fernandez said has been hands-down the most challenging year of his 21 seasons coaching at USF.
“We’ve had an amazing year,” Fernandez said. “But has this been an enjoyable year for the whole student-athlete experience and a basketball experience? It hasn’t been fun. But the thing that keeps me going every day and my staff is guess what? These 18 to 22, 23-year-old’s are going through a much tougher time than we are and everything’s about them.”
With the top seed in the AAC Women’s Basketball Tournament, the Bulls get a first-round bye and will face the winner of Tulsa and Wichita State Tuesday, March 9 at 3 p.m. ET.