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USF women roll, get No. 1 UConn next; Gators stun No. 12 Vols

TAMPA — Kitija Laksa scored a career-high 38 as No. 22 USF crushed SMU 83-56 Thursday night at the Sun Dome, the Bulls' last game before No. 1 Connecticut comes to town.

Laksa, a freshman from Latvia, was 15-of-24 from the field, including 8-of-12 from 3-point range. Her 38 points are the second-most in league history, behind only UCF's Zykira Lewis, who scored 41 last season.

"They trusted me," said Laksa, who was coming off a 21-point performance in Tuesday's 108-63 win over UCF. "They gave me open looks and like here in America you say, 'I just let it fly.' "

Laura Ferreira had 12 points and 12 rebounds for USF (11-3, 4-0 AAC) and teammate Shalethia Stringfield scored 11. The Bulls shot better than 47 percent and outrebounded SMU 50-43.

Gabrielle Wilkins made the first shot of the game, a 3-pointer, to give the Mustangs (6-9, 1-3) their only lead. USF led 18-12 after the first quarter, then went on an 11-2 run at the start of the second — including a 3 by Laksa — and built a 44-17 lead at halftime.

The Bulls host UConn at 5 Sunday at the Sun Dome. The Huskies, who have won 49 straight, play tonight at Houston.

Gators, minus their coach, upset No. 12 Vols on road

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Eleanna Christinaki had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds as Florida withstood its coach's absence and capitalized on No. 12 Tennessee's poor shooting in a 74-66 upset.

Coach Amanda Butler wasn't with the Gators, and assistant Shimmy Gray-Miller served as acting head coach. UF athletic department spokeswoman Kathy Cafazzo said Butler was dealing with a family emergency.

Florida (13-2, 1-1 SEC) ended an 11-game losing streak in the series and beat the Vols for the first time since a 66-57 decision on Feb. 8, 2009. UT (10-4, 1-1) leads the series 48-4.

Diamond DeShields scored 16 and Bashaara Graves had a career-high 19 rebounds for Tennessee. After shooting 11-of-21 in the first quarter, the Vols were 13-of-61 the rest of the game.

Carlie Needles scored 15 for Florida before leaving with a cramp in her leg in the fourth quarter. January Miller added 11 as UF shot 60 percent in the second half to win for the 13th time in its past 14 games.

FSU ROUTS BC: Leticia Romero hit back-to-back 3s and Emiah Bingley added a third as No. 19 Florida State opened with an 11-0 run en route to a 75-42 victory over Boston College in the Seminoles' conference home opener. FSU (11-4, 4-1 ACC) built a 26-10 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 39-15 over the Eagles (11-2, 0-2) by halftime. The 'Noles shot 48.1 percent from the field (26-of-54), 9-of-19 from 3-point range, and outrebounded Boston College 35-30. Romero finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

NO. 2 S.C. 71, VANDY 61: Tiffany Mitchell scored a season-high 22 and the visiting Gamecocks (14-0, 2-0 SEC) remained perfect.

NO. 3 NOTRE DAME 74, VIRGINIA 46: Brianna Turner had 19 points and nine rebounds as the visiting Irish (14-1, 3-0 ACC) won their seventh in a row.

NO. 5 OHIO STATE 97, INDIANA 70: Kelsey Mitchell and Shayla Cooper each scored 23 as the host Buckeyes (11-3, 3-0 Big Ten ) won their seventh straight. Ohio State fell behind 18-10 in the first quarter before taking over. Ahead by 12, it outscored IU 30-15 in the fourth quarter.

NO. 8 MARYLAND 89, NEBRASKA 50: Malina Howard scored 15 to lead the rout for the host Terrapins (13-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who rebounded from losses to No. 1 UConn and No. 5 Ohio State last week.

NO. 10 KENTUCKY 73, ALABAMA 48: Evelyn Akhator scored a career-high 21 to boost the host Wildcats (12-1, 1-1 SEC), who were coming off a loss to Auburn on Sunday to open conference play.

ARK. 67, NO. 13 TEXAS A&M 61: Devin Cosper scored 18 as the host Razorbacks (6-9, 1-1 SEC) won for the first time over former coach Gary Blair and the Aggies (11-4, 1-1).

PURDUE 85, NO. 16 N'WESTERN 71: Bridget Perry had 21 points and nine rebounds the visiting Boilermakers (12-2, 3-0 Big Ten) held off the Wildcats (12-3, 1-2) for their seventh straight victory.

NO. 18 DUKE 95, WAKE FOREST 68: Azura Stevens scored 23 and Rebecca Greenwell added 21 and nine rebounds to help the host Blue Devils (12-4, 1-1 ACC) beat the Demon Deacons for the 44th consecutive time.

NO. 20 MIZZOU 54, GEORGIA 48: Jordan Frericks had 11 points and a key block with seven seconds left and the visiting Tigers (14-1, 1-1 SEC) made four free throws in the final four seconds. Cierra Porter had 11 points, including three of the late free throws, as the Tigers (14-1, 1-1 SEC) bounced back from their first loss of the season.

NO. 23 MICH. STATE 71, PENN ST. 55: Aerial Powers and Tori Jankoska each had 21 points and 10 rebounds to pace the visiting Spartans (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who never trailed, opening with a 16-6 run and leading by double digits throughout the second half.

Men: No. 15 SMU gets by Cincy in final seconds

DALLAS — Jordan Tolbert tipped in Nic Moore's missed shot for the go-ahead score with 28 seconds left, then had a big block as No. 15 SMU rallied to remain undefeated with a 59-57 win over Cincinnati. The shorthanded Mustangs (14-0, 3-0 AAC), off to the best start in school history, overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 3½ minutes. Moore finished with 14 points. He had two 3s in the game-ending 11-2 run for SMU, which along with No. 22 South Carolina (14-0) are the only undefeated Division I teams. But when Moore missed, Tolbert followed up to put the Mustangs ahead. He then blocked Troy Caupain's shot at the other end.

No. 5 Mich. State 79, Illinois 54: Bryn Forbes scored 17 to lead the visiting Spartans (15-1, 2-1 Big Ten), who were without Denzel Valentine for a fourth straight game. Valentine participated in pregame warmups and might play at Penn State on Sunday, nearly three weeks after having surgery on his left knee.

NO. 16 L'VILLE 77, N.C. STATE 72: Quentin Snider scored a career-high 21 to propel the visiting Cardinals (13-2, 2-0 ACC). Freshman Ray Spalding had 12 points off the bench for Louisville, which shot 51 percent and used a 9-0 run in the second half to build a double-digit lead before having to hang on against a frantic comeback by the Wolfpack, which trailed by 16 with 3:38 left.

NO. 20 PURDUE 87, MICH. 70: A.J. Hammons scored 17 and had four blocks and Rapheal Davis added 16 points to lead the Boilermakers (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who have won eight of 10 and are 10-1 at home this season.

USF women roll, get No. 1 UConn next; Gators stun No. 12 Vols 01/07/16 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2016 11:34pm]
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