GAINESVILLE — The Florida women made six quick 3-pointers and defeated USF 61-54 in a WNIT first-round game on Thursday at the O'Connell Center.
The Bulls (15-16), the defending WNIT champions, fell behind 22-6, rallied to tie it at 32 early in the second half, then the Gators (15-16) pulled away to a 45-36 lead. USF made one more rally, getting within 49-46 with 5:36 left, but Florida pushed its lead back to double figures.
USF center Jessica Lawson finished her career with 26 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs, for her Big East-leading 18th double double of the season.
Houston: Women's coach Joe Curl was hospitalized in Lubbock with chest pains and missed Thursday's game against Texas Tech in the WNIT. Curl was in stable condition and under doctors' observation. Fourth-year assistant coach Wade Scott will fill in as head coach. Curl missed five games in late February with health issues and he missed the 2007-08 season after a heart attack.
graduation rates: Players on teams headed to the NCAA women's tournament are graduating at a higher rate than those in the men's field, a study released this week showed.
An annual report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida also found that the graduation gap between white and black players is smaller among women than men.
There were 19 women's teams that had a 100 percent graduation rate compared to six men's teams. And 51 women's teams graduated at least 70 percent of their players compared to 29 men's teams.
SETON HALL: Former Pirates player Robert Mitchell pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of robbing eight people at gunpoint this week.
Mitchell, who played in 31 games this season for the Pirates, appeared in court in Newark via video conference. He's held on $650,000 bail.
The Brooklyn resident, 23, is accused of robbing eight people in a house in South Orange on Monday. Police say Mitchell took credit cards, cell phones, cameras and about $300 cash.
Mitchell had been scheduled to graduate in May. He was kicked off the team Sunday by coach Bobby Gonzalez, who has since been fired. Seton Hall did not give a reason for Mitchell's dismissal.