Securing the No. 3 seed in its conference tournament may have been the least of USF's achievements Monday. The women's team also might have improved its March vantage point from a bubble to a bracket.
Its resume bereft of a signature win entering March, USF (18-11, 13-5 American Athletic Conference) led No. 24 Rutgers (21-7, 12-6) wire to wire on the Scarlet Knights' home floor in a 60-51 triumph.
The win was USF's first in nine tries against teams currently among the top 50 in the realtimerpi.com standings. Four of those losses came in November and December, when the Bulls, besieged by injuries, went 5-7.
Since then, their only losses have been to No. 1 Connecticut and No. 3 Louisville.
"I believe we're an NCAA Tournament team the way that we've done in our conference," said coach Jose Fernandez, whose team enters the AAC tournament on a five-game win streak. "But we've been on that wrong side of the bubble too many times. We need to make a statement in (the conference tourney) and continue to play the way we're playing."
Nursing a three-point lead with a little more than a minute to play, sophomore Courtney Williams (26 points, 13 rebounds) hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to thwart Rutgers' late surge.
NO. 1 UCONN 68, NO. 3 LOUISVILLE 48: Breanna Stewart had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the visiting Huskies (31-0, 18-0 American Athletic), who outrebounded the Cardinals (28-3, 16-2) 47-30 to clinch the inaugural league title.
TEXAS 65, NO. 18 OKLA. ST. 58: Imani McGee-Stafford had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the host Longhorns, who led the Cowgirls (22-7, 11-7 Big 12) nearly the entire game.
AP POLL: Connecticut remained a unanimous No. 1. DePaul re-entered at No. 25, and Arizona State dropped out.
NO. 14 UNC 63, NOTRE DAME 61: James Michael McAdoo hit the go-ahead shot in the lane with 3:09 left, and Marcus Paige blocked Eric Atkins' driving shot on the final play to seal the 12th straight victory for the host Tar Heels (23-7, 13-4 ACC).
FAMU 78, MORGAN ST. 73: Jamie Adams hit two key shots in the final 1:35 as the visiting Rattlers (13-16, 8-7 MEAC) won their fifth straight game.
NO. 8 KANSAS: Freshman center Joel Embiid will sit out the final two regular-season games so that he can rest a lower back strain.
UT MARTIN: Coach Jason James was fired after a fifth consecutive losing season.
AP POLL: Florida remained No. 1. No. 19 Connecticut and No. 23 Oklahoma replaced Ohio State and Texas.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.