TAMPA — Amid its turnover deluge, USF clawed its collective nails to nubs Sunday afternoon against the nation's No. 5 team, whittling its second-half deficit from 17 points to two with seven minutes to play.
The rally stalled from there.
Louisville (16-1, 4-0 AAC) scored 11 of the next 12 to escape the Sun Dome with a 62-54 triumph, snapping the Bulls' three-game win streak before an announced 2,379.
The Bulls (8-8, 3-2) had one more turnover (19) than field goal.
"We let them go on a (late) run and we didn't answer," said Bulls top scorer Courtney Williams, who scored 15 of her 19 in the first half.
Williams was among five underclassmen who sparked a 17-2 run midway through the second, cutting Louisville's lead to 49-47 with 7:07 to play. Fellow sophomore Alisia Jenkins (12 points, 11 rebounds) scored eight of the 17, all on free throws.
Jenkins' thoughts at that juncture? "We could actually beat this team," she said. "I had all the confidence in the world and I still do have all the confidence. We are capable of beating Louisville."
The Cardinals veterans asserted themselves at that point. Junior Sara Hammond's three-point play gave them a 52-47 lead, then senior Shoni Schimmel hit two free throws after a midcourt steal.
Schimmel finished with 25. She hit all four of her 3-pointers in a five-minute span early in the second half, the last of which gave the Cardinals a 47-30 lead.
"Big players make big plays," Williams said, "and she showed up in the second half."
NO. 12 LSU 82, UF 68: Theresa Plaisance had 19 points and Danielle Ballard had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the host Tigers (13-3, 2-1 SEC), who survived a second-half rally by the Gators (13-4, 3-1).
NO. 13 UNC 65, NO. 18 FSU 61: Diamond DeShields had 25 points for the visiting Tar Heels (14-2, 2-1 ACC), who rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to beat the Seminoles (14-3, 2-1).
NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 79, UVA 72: Natalie Achonwa had a career-high 26 points and added 16 rebounds as the visiting Fighting Irish (15-0, 3-0 ACC) survived a late challenge.
NO. 3 DUKE 78, BC 57: Richa Jackson had a season-high 17 points and Haley Peters added 15 to lead the host Blue Devils (16-1, 3-0 ACC) to the 800th victory in their history.
NO. 4 STANFORD 87, NO. 17 COLO. 77: Chiney Ogwumike had 34 points and 16 rebounds for the visiting Cardinal (15-1, 4-0 Pac-12).
VANDY 74, NO. 8 TENN. 63: Jasmine Lister had 22 points for the host Commodores, who had lost three straight to the Vols (13-3, 2-2 SEC).
NO. 9 KENTUCKY 80, MISSOURI 69: Bria Goss had 20 points as the host Wildcats (14-3, 2-2 SEC) snapped a two-game losing streak.
NO. 10 S.C. 72, AUBURN 66: Tiffany Mitchell had 18 points and six steals to help the visiting Gamecocks (16-1, 3-0 SEC) rally.
NO. 21 PURDUE 84, NO. 14 PENN ST. 74: Courtney Moses had 25 points for the visiting Boilermakers (11-4, 1-2 Big Ten), who went on a 6-0 run after the Lions (11-4, 2-1) had pulled within 68-66.
NO. 16 NEBRASKA 75, ILLINOIS 56: Emily Cady had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the visiting Cornhuskers (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten).
NO. 19 CAL 68, UTAH 59: Brittany Boyd had 24 points and seven rebounds to lead the visiting Golden Bears (12-3, 4-0 Pac-12).
NO. 20 N.C. STATE 62, WAKE 54: Kody Burke had 18 points to help the visiting Wolfpack (15-2, 2-1 ACC) shake off poor early shooting.
NO. 23 ARIZ. ST. 59, UCLA 57: Adrianne Thomas hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer late to lift the host Sun Devils (14-2, 3-1 Pac-12).
TEXAS A&M 58, NO. 25 GEORGIA 44: Courtney Walker had 16 points for the visiting Aggies, who handed the Bulldogs (12-5, 0-4 SEC) their fourth straight loss.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.