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Bulls make an early statement

With two starters nursing injuries, facing a team it hadn't beaten in 17 tries, South Florida came through with a 67-59 win against Louisville on Friday, making a strong statement in its Conference USA opener.

"I'm really proud of the way we played down the stretch," said coach Jose Fernandez, whose team played before a Sun Dome crowd of 1,346, largest for a Bulls women's game since they played Connecticut in December 2002. "We had a freshman playing (center) and four perimeter players playing against two of the better post players in the league. We found a way to win."

USF (11-4) opened on an 18-4 run and led by nine or more until the final minute. Point guard Anedra Gilmore had a career-high 22 points, and reserve guard Chanae Early hit three key 3-pointers.

"We knew what the odds were, we knew they had beaten us over and over and over," Gilmore said. "We just wanted to get back from last year (an 86-71 loss). That's what pushed us the most."

Bulls Center Nalini Miller injured her left hamstring midway through the first half, then strained it early in the second. She was on crutches and could miss significant time. Forward and leading rebounder Ezria Parsons sustained a concussion with 6:06 left when the back of her head hit the hardwood.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.