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DePaul 72 USF 65

Jessica Dickson was not enough to help the Bulls overcome their aversion to road games.

Unlike the team’s previous embarrassing road losses to Rutgers and Pittsburgh, USF (17-6, 7-3) wasn’t let down by an inept offense, but lackluster play on the defensive end.

DePaul (15-9, 5-6) was able to negate Dickson’s 19 second-half points with hot shooting from beyond the arc. The Blue Demons connected on consecutive three-point field goals to extend their lead to nine and thwart the Bulls comeback attempt.

After trailing by as much as 13, USF pulled to within five points on four different occasions in the second half, but was unable to record the defensive stop it needed.

“We could have defended much better,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “But we’ve lost to Pittsburgh, Rutgers and DePaul. All of them are good teams, so I wouldn’t say we’re struggling on the road.”

USF dropped to 3-4 away from the Sun Dome this season.

Dickson finished the game with 25 points, her third consecutive 20-point performance. Before tip-off, Dickson was one of 20 players nominated to the Wooden Award Mid-Season All-American List. The award recognizes a player’s performance on the court and in the classroom.

The Blue Demons entered the contest allowing a Big East-worst 70.5 points per game. But their woes were trumped by the Bulls’ ineffective perimeter defense.

USF allowed five three-point field goals in the second half.

“In this league you have to guard every night,” Fernandez said. “It’s a tough road loss, it’s really a tough road loss.”

Caprice Smith led DePaul with 17 points, including 11 in the second half to pace the Blue Demons.

“When we tried to make a run, they hit big shots at crucial times,” Fernandez said.

The Bulls were once again unable to overcome a sluggish start on the road, connecting on only five of their first 15 field goal attempts.

“We were in a hole early but we were able to battle back,” Fernandez said. “We were down (by) six at the half but we really could have rebounded better.”

The Blue Demons were able to pad their lead with second- chance points throughout the contest.

For DePaul, Tuesday night served as a redemption game. The Bulls defeated the then-ranked No. 11 Blue Demons 79-77 at the Sun Dome. USF is 1-5 all-time against DePaul in Chicago.

Against Pittsburgh and Rutgers the Bulls were held to a combined 84 points. USF ranks third in the conference in scoring average with 75.4 points per game.