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Bingham for 3: secret weapon

Sophomore guard/forward Talatha Bingham scored in 43 consecutive games over two years and set a season record for three-pointers this season but somehow always was overshadowed by the "twin towers," DeLisha Milton and Murriel Page.

Until Saturday. In Florida's first-round victory over Florida International, Bingham made six three-pointers for 18 points and broke the UF career record for threes (110).

The Gators' perimeter shooting supposedly was the weakest aspect of their game. But Florida coach Carol Ross didn't mind the lack of respect given Bingham and her backcourt mates _ she kind of liked pulling out her "secret weapons."

"We're very confident with Bingham playing the underdog role," Ross said with a smile.

RANKLED BY RANKINGS: Southern Cal coach Fred Williams has been irritated with the media lately because the Trojans were unranked in the Associated Press poll.

They were third in the Pac-10 and have one of the country's best players in forward Tina Thompson, but never made it past the "others receiving votes" category.

Even San Francisco, which USC beat 68-55 in the first round, appeared in the Top 25 this season.

But what really bothered Williams was that only two teams from the West _ No. 3 Stanford and No. 18 Colorado _ made the final poll. Portland did sneak in at No. 25 in the coaches poll.

UP NEXT: The seventh-ranked Gators take on fifth-ranked Louisiana Tech, the No. 2 seed in the Mideast region, in the regional semifinal at Purdue. The Techsters (31-3), cruised past SEC Tournament champion Auburn to reach the Sweet 16.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2.

_ SHARON GINN

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