SOUTH BEND, Ind. — USF came into Purcell Pavilion unfazed by playing the No. 3 team in the country in its regular-season home finale.
The Bulls scrapped, attacked and even forged a lead early in the second half but couldn't maintain it to pull off the big upset, falling 80-68 on Saturday.
"This group has battled all year," USF coach Jose Fernandez said, reciting a list of close games.
Natalie Novosel had a career-high 32 points and Devereaux Peters added 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for the Irish, who clinched at least a tie for the Big East title.
The Bulls (15-14, 7-8) got 18 points apiece from Jasmine Wynne and Inga Orekhova and forced 22 turnovers.
"We're up three, had a transition break to go up five and then got a little winded," Fernandez said.
Andrell Smith had two baskets and Sasha Bernard one as USF scored the first six in the second half to take a 44-41 lead. But the Irish (27-2, 14-1) scored the next six to regain the lead for good.
USF's Tahira Johnson was knocked to the floor under the basket with 13:58 left and left with a hip injury.
NO. 2 STANFORD 69, UTAH 42: Coach Tara VanDerveer earned her 700th victory as the host Cardinal (26-1, 17-0 Pac-12) ran its conference winning streak to 74.
NO. 4 UCONN 85, MARQUETTE 45: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored a career-high 27 and Tiffany Hayes scored 18 of her 20 in the second half for the visiting Huskies (26-3, 13-2 Big East).
NO. 12 GREEN BAY 78, BUTLER 53: Julie Wojta had 27 points and 13 rebounds as the host Phoenix (25-1, 15-1) earned its 14th straight Horizon League title.
NO. 14 TEXAS A&M 79, TEXAS TECH 51: Adaora Elonu scored 14 for the host Aggies (20-7, 11-5 Big 12), who shot 59 percent.
NO. 15 GEORGETOWN 65, SYRACUSE 62: Sugar Rodgers scored 21, including a three-point play in the last minute, as the visiting Hoyas (22-6, 11-4 Big East) won it with a 5-0 game-ending run.
NO. 16 LOUISVILLE 75, NO. 21 DEPAUL 62: Becky Burke scored 20 for the host Cardinals (20-8, 9-6 Big East), who pulled away with a 12-2 run on either side of halftime against the Blue Demons (20-9, 8-7).
NO. 19 St. Bonaventure 58, Rhode Island 32: Megan Van Tatenhove scored 17 for the visiting Bonnies (27-2, 14-0 Atlantic 10), who won their 16th straight.
NO. 20 St. John's 69, Villanova 49: Da'Shena Stevens scored 21 for the host Red Storm (20-8, 12-3), which won its seventh straight.
NO. 24 Rutgers 68, Providence 47: Khadijah Rushdan scored 21 for the visiting Scarlet Knights (20-8, 9-6 Big East), who beat the Friars for the 19th straight time.
NO. 25 Gonzaga 77, BYU 60: The host Bulldogs (25-4, 14-2) clinched their eighth straight West Coast Conference regular-season title.
PRINCETON CLINCHES BID: Senior Lauren Edwards scored a career-high 29 as host Princeton clinched the nation's first NCAA Tournament berth with a 94-57 win over Dartmouth. The Tigers (21-4, 11-0) won the bid from the Ivy League, the only conference that does not have a tournament.
ECKERD 66, LYNN 51: Linsey Niles, one of three honored on senior day, scored 20 for the host Tritons (15-10, 8-8), who clinched the No. 4 seed in the Sunshine State Conference tournament. Eckerd hosts Nova Southeastern Wednesday in the first round; no time was announced.
TAMPA 61, FLORIDA TECH 59: Jaleesa Harmon scored 21 for the host Spartans (11-15, 4-12 SSC), who play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at No. 2 seed Florida Southern.
BARRY 71, SAINT LEO 51: Chelsea Williams scored 23 in a season-ending loss for the visiting Lions (7-19, 1-15), who will miss the eight-team SSC tourney.