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GAINESVILLE -- Carol Ross was nowhere to be found at the O'Connell Center, but she was a big reason Florida defeated South Florida 70-59.
The former Gators coach recruited the five freshmen who were on the floor Sunday. Her recruiting paid dividends for coach Carolyn Peck as two of them scored in double figures.
The Gators had foul trouble. They struggled to find an offensive rhythm. There were constant turnovers. They continued to give up offensive rebounds to the Bulls, who had 28 offensive and 24 defensive.
"They were a team that would not go away," Peck said.
USF led early in the first half and mounted a comeback in the second with a 10-0 run that cut Florida's lead to 58-45.
But Florida's freshmen kept the team in control.
Sarah Lowe finished with 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. Danielle Santos had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Bernice Mosby added nine points.
"Their whole freshman class, they're going to get so much experience," USF coach Jose Fernandez said. "(Lowe) just does such a good job creating a lot of opportunities. She created a lot of problems for our point guards."
Both sides started slowly and had trouble finding a rhythm. The Bulls had nine field goals in the first, shooting 27.3 percent.
Florida's guards got into early foul trouble, with Lowe (two) and Santos (three) on the bench for the more than half of the first. Peck had to use walkon guard Ash'lea Moore to run the point.
Center Vanessa Hayden led the Gators with 13 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocked shots, 2 steals and 2 assists.
"She dominated us," Fernandez said.
Florida's bench was limited to five because Tara Taylor and Courtney Cooper, starters last season, did not dress. Taylor sat out with a sore left knee and Cooper was ineligible because of an undisclosed violation.
NO. 1 DUKE 76, NO. 2 TENNESSEE 55: Alana Beard had 22 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals for the Blue Devils in the inaugural Jimmy V Classic in Raleigh, N.C. It was the 35th meeting of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in women's college basketball. Tennessee has been involved in 19 such matchups and dropped to 4-6 when ranked second. Iciss Tillis added 17 for Duke on 7-for-10 shooting. Tennessee turned the ball over 23 times and shot 21 percent in the second, making 6-of-29 shots. Gwen Jackson led the Vols with 12.
NO. 3 LSU, SE LOUISIANA 52: Seimone Augustus scored 17 to lead the visiting Tigers. Augustus was 8 for 10.
NO. 4 K-STATE 88, NO. 14 PENN ST. 66: Kendra Wecker had 26 points and 14 rebounds as the host Wildcats won the Preseason WNIT. Kansas State pulled away with an 8-0 run with 4:34 remaining to win its first WNIT title.
NO. 5 STANFORD 59, SAN FRANCISCO 57: Kelley Suminski scored the winning basket with 17.7 seconds left as the visiting Cardinal survived. Chelsea Trotter scored 14 for Stanford.
NO. 6 UCONN 78, N.C. STATE 50: Diana Taurasi scored 15 to help the visiting Huskies overcome sluggish shooting in the Jimmy V Classic. The defending national champions won their 41st straight game.
NO. 7 PURDUE 91, PACIFIC 57: Beth Jones scored 18 to lead the host Boilermakers. Purdue made more shots from the line (17) than the field (15) in the first.
NO. 13 TEXAS TECH 99, WASHINGTON 67: Natalie Ritchie made four 3-pointers and scored 20 for the host Red Raiders.
NO. 15 UNC 106, E. TENN. ST. 40: Jessica Sell scored 20 and La'Tangela Atkinson added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the host Tar Heels. None of UNC's starters played more than 20 minutes.
NO. 16 MINNESOTA 93, RADFORD 53: Lindsay Whalen scored 26 and Corrin Von Wald added 23 on a school-record 10-of-10 shooting as the host Golden Gophers won the Subway Basketball Classic. The Highlanders got a scare when guard Kylie Williamson was taken off the court on a stretcher after she took a knee to the spine during the first. A team spokesman said Williamson was expected to be fine.
NO. 19 BC 66, SIENA 40: Amber Jacobs scored 26 and Jessalyn Deveny added a career-high 23 to lead host Boston College. Jacobs hit four 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes and finished 6-for-6 from beyond the arc.
NO. 22 IOWA ST. 67, ST. FRANCIS (PA.) 45: Lindsey Wilson scored 19 and Anne O'Neil added 10 to lead the host Cyclones. Seven Iowa State players made at least one 3-pointer. The team finished with 13 3s.
-- Information from Times wires was used in this report.