PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Shantia Grace did more than give USF one of its biggest wins with a late three-point play.
The senior also put some doubt in the mind of Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer whether the once highly thought of Scarlet Knights can make the NCAA Tournament this season.
Grace snapped a tie with her three-point play with 7.9 seconds left, and the Bulls beat the Scarlet Knights 59-56 Saturday after blowing a 19-point second-half lead.
"This is a big win," Grace said. "I've been here four years and we haven't won (against them). It was a close game my freshman year and it came down to a missed free throw with me. But this is Rutgers, a team that's always in the Top 25, so this is a big win."
USF (16-6, 3-5 Big East) had to sweat out the final minutes and seconds.
Rutgers (12-7, 4-4) tied it with a late 17-0 run and had another chance to force overtime in the waning seconds. Epiphanny Prince's running 25-footer, however, banked off the backboard and rolled off the rim.
Stringer was at a loss to explain how Rutgers could knock off No. 17 Notre Dame on the road last week, its first win over a ranked team this season, then fail to show up for a 19-minute stretch Saturday in which it was outscored 28-4.
"I don't know what to expect," she said. "I wish I did."
Her concern now is the NCAA Tournament. Rutgers played in the title game two years ago and was within a game of making it back to the Final Four last season before Connecticut rallied.
TAMPA 58, FLAGLER 56: Gianna Messina hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to lift the visiting Spartans (14-5).
ECKERD 59, NOVA SE 50: Olivia Nagle had 13 points as the host Tritons (12-8, 5-4 Sunshine State) won their fifth in six games.
SAINT LEO 61, BARRY 60: Marquita Fenn hit a free throw with five seconds left to lift the host Lions (9-10, 1-8 SSC) to their first conference win.
NO. 1 UCONN 80, GEORGETOWN 61: Tina Charles scored 17 for the visiting Huskies (21-0, 7-0 Big East) in a close game by their standards: They had won by an average of 34, including eight wins of 40 points or more.
NO. 2 OKLA. 78, MISSOURI 56: Nyeshia Stevenson and Ashley Paris scored 14 each as the host Sooners (18-2, 7-0) won their 14th straight and avenged their last loss to a Big 12 foe, in the first round of last season's conference tournament.
NO. 6 L'VILLE 81, PROVIDENCE 49: Senior Angel McCoughtry scored a career-high 43 and became the school's all-time leader, men's or women's, with 2,373 points for the visiting Cardinals (20-2, 7-1 Big East).
NO. 7 CAL 73, USC 71: Devanei Hampton sank a layup with 2.2 seconds left as the host Golden Bears (18-2, 9-0 Pac-10) tied a school record with their 10th straight win. Cal is off to its best conference start.
NO. 11 TEXAS A&M 73, KANSAS 60: Danielle Gant scored 21, including five straight during an 11-0 second-half run that put the host Aggies (17-3, 5-2 Big 12) ahead for good.
NO. 22 IOWA ST. 60, NO. 14 KANSAS ST. 50: Heather Ezell made 8 of 8 free throws in the last 35 seconds to lead the host Cyclones (16-4, 4-2 Big 12) past the Wildcats (18-2, 5-2).
NO. 17 NOTRE DAME 66, CINCINNATI 50: Lindsay Schrader matched her season high with 19 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds, and the host Irish (16-4, 5-3 Big East) had a season-high 21 steals.
NO. 24 SOUTH DAKOTA ST. 88, OAKLAND, MICH. 75: Jennifer Warkenthien scored 19 of her 29 in the first half as the host Jackrabbits (20-2, 9-1) won their sixth straight to take over first place in the Summit League.
NO. 25 DePAUL 74, W. VA. 56: Sam Quigley scored 17 as the host Blue Demons (17-5, 5-3 Big East) won their fourth straight.