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USF TOPS DEPAUL AS GRACE HITS 35

The women revive their Big East tournament hopes.

A career night from Shantia Grace brought the Bulls back into Big East tournament race.

The junior scored a career-high 35 as USF defeated No. 25 DePaul 78-73 at the Sun Dome.

"I told (guard Jazmine Sepulveda) this is our night,'' Grace said. "If their hands are down, shoot it.''

Grace listened to her own advice, especially in the second half as she scored 25 and outdueled Allie Quigley, who led the Blue Demons (16-6, 5-4) with 34.

After lackluster performances on the road against Connecticut and Louisville, the Bulls brought out their 14th different starting lineup of the season and found offensive rhythm.

USF (12-10, 2-7) shot 47.5 percent after failing to reach 30 percent in each of its previous three contests.

"We played with energy, effort and desire,'' coach Jose Fernandez said. "They played like it really meant something to them. With our strength of schedule and with this league, if you finish over .500 for the year, you're going to postseason play.''

USF's last win over a nationally ranked opponent was against No. 15 Louisville last season.

The top 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament in Hartford, Conn. USF and Villanova are tied for 13th with seven games left.

USF plays at Cincinnati on Saturday and hosts No. 7 Rutgers, a 73-71 winner over No. 1 UConn Tuesday andNCAA runnerup last season, Feb. 16

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