DATE: April 14, 2019
USF women’s basketball had their annual banquet at the Columbia restaurant in downtown Tampa, surrounded by family, friends and treasured supporters.
TAMPA, APRIL 14, 2019 – USF women’s basketball held its annual end-of-year banquet on Sunday evening at the Columbia Restaurant in downtown Tampa to celebrate the 2018-19 season with family, friends and valued supporters.
The Bulls had their eighth straight season winning 19 or more games, and their eighth straight postseason appearance, finishing 19-16 on the year and qualifying to the second round of the WNIT.
Head coach Jose Fernandez and his staff distributed nine individual awards to the recognize the top performances of the season that saw the Bulls overcome immense adversity, and young Bulls rise to near-impossible challenges, to again make history.
Nine Bulls earned team awards in the evening program. Silvia Serrat (Banyoles, Spain), who missed the season due to injury, and Beatriz Jordao (Pombal, Portugal), a standout freshman through 12 games before missing the remainder of the season due to injury, both earned the Weight Room Warrior award. Jordao was twice named Freshman of the Week and nearly averaged a double-double in her debut season.
Freshman Elisa Pinzan (Murano, Italy) earned the Miss Dish award, despite a slow start and missing some early games due to injury. Pinzan grew into an established point guard and started 15 games, dishing out a team-high 103 assists on the season. She handed out a career-high eight assists twice on the season.
Freshman Sydni Harvey (Nashville, Tenn.) was named the Newcomer of the Year, after a standout debut season as a true freshman. She started 24-of-32 contests and after scoring 366 points on the season was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team. She was twice named the AAC Freshman of the Week and twice earned AAC Honor Roll. Additionally, she was named to the Paradise Jam Tournament All-Star Team after accumulating 52 points in a three-game week in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Redshirt Sophomore Shae Leverett (Rincon, Ga), earned the Queen of the Boards award, after starting 24-of-35 contests and taking down 261 rebounds on the season. She pulled down 146 defensive boards and 116 offensive rebounds. She averaged 7.5 rebounds per game on the season to go along with her 7.4 points per game. She was named to the AAC Honor Roll once this season after earning a double-double.
The John and Cynthia Ruzic Offensive MVP award undoubtedly went to Enna Pehadzic (Horsens, Denmark), who rose to the occasion this season when nearly all USF’s returners were confined to the bench, totaling over 50 points of scoring not in action. Pehadzic started 23-of-35 games and amassed almost 1,000 minutes. She led USF with 422 points on the season, where in 2017-18, Pehadzic scored 14 total points on the season. She averaged 12.1 points per game and earned second team All-AAC. She also earned All-Tournament in the AAC, four AAC Honor Roll awards, was named to the NCAA Starting Five, and was named to the Florida Sunshine Classic All-Tournament Team.
The John and Cynthia Ruzic Defensive MVP award was presented to Luize Septe (Ventspils, Latvia) who was presented with the difficult task of guarding Bulls’ opponents’ best offensive weapons, after moving to America at the end of December. She quickly joined USF’s starting lineup and was a relentless defender, averaging almost 30 minutes per game and earning 104 points in her 22 games played.
Tamara Henshaw (Palm Coast, Fla.) earned the Unsung Hero award, presented to the student-athlete who works tirelessly to impact the team. Henshaw led USF with 8.1 rebounds per game and averaged 6.5 points per game. She had 228 points and 284 rebounds this season in 902 minutes of action in 35 games. Despite battling injuries, Henshaw never missed a game and started 21 games in green and gold.
The evening concluded celebrating senior Laura Ferreira (Lisboa, Portugal), who was awarded the Shannon Edens Golden Bull award, presented to the player who exemplifies everything a USF student-athlete stands for: a champion on the court, in the classroom and in the community. Ferreira is a five-year SAAC member and graduated with a degree in exercise science in 2018. She pursued a masters degree in 2018-19 while leading the Bulls in scoring for 15 games, until she was diagnosed with a heart condition, which sidelined her for the remainder of her senior season. She was named the AAC Player of the Week, the AAC Honor Roll, and the NCAA Starting Five. She joined the 1,000 career point club when she had a career high 34-point game to lead USF past Oklahoma in a magical time of the season.
The Bulls will return to action in 2019-20.
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USF notched its sixth consecutive 20-win season and fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017-18. It marked the ninth 20-win season in program history, with head coach Jose Fernandez at the helm for all nine. The Bulls posted 26 wins in 2017-18, just shy of the program record of 27 set in 2008-09 and 2014-15.
USF has made 14 postseason tournament appearances and had six NCAA Tournament berths in head coach Jose Fernandez’s 18 seasons. The all-time winningest coach in program history, Fernandez has guided USF to nine 20-win seasons, two WNIT final four appearances, the 2009 WNIT championship and won more than 300 games.
Assistant Director, Communications // WBB, MSOC
@lowgarnett // @USFWBB // @USFMSOC