Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stokes Leads USF Past Rutgers, 59-56

Shantia Grace converted a three-point play with 7.9 seconds to play and South Florida beat Rutgers 59-56 after blowing a 19-point second-half lead on Saturday. The Bulls (16-6, 3-5 Big East Conference) survived one final comeback by the Scarlet Knights (12-7, 4-4) when Epiphanny Prince's running 25-footer banked off the backboard and rolled off the rim.
Janae Stokes added 20 points for South Florida.

The Bulls seemingly took total control with a 28-4 spurt bridging the halves and then fell apart in the final five-plus minutes as Rutgers ran off 17 straight points, tying the game at 56 on a 3-pointer by Brittany Ray.

Grace missed the front end of a one-and-one with 47 seconds to play, giving Rutgers a chance to take the lead. However, the Scarlet Knights, who went long stretches with points in the game, could not get off a shot and turned the ball over on a shot clock violation with under 16 seconds to play. Grace broke the Rutgers' press -- which had been so lethal in the comeback -- and drove the lane for an off-balance layup, giving the Bulls their final lead and their first win over Rutgers in four tries. Grace finished with nine points on 2 of 8 shooting.

Prince had 25 points to lead Rutgers, including 10 in the 17-0 run. The Scarlet Knights were coming off an upset of No. 17 Notre Dame earlier this week. It was their first win over a ranked team this season. Despite not having head coach Jose Fernandez during todays game, due to health concerns, the Bulls pulled off this big conference win. The Bulls return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 3rd when they take on Marquette. USF will have their leading scorer Danielle Starzynski back, as she will be coming off a 6 game suspension. As always stay tuned for more updates. GO BULLS!!

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