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USF gets crucial win at DePaul

Facing a crucial point in the season, the USF women’s basketball team turned to senior guard Shantia Grace — and she delivered.

Grace scored 27 points and the Bulls (19-9, 6-8) gained their fourth road win in six trips, defeating DePaul (20-8, 8-6) 76-69 Tuesday night in Chicago.

With the performance, Grace passed the 1,800 total career-point mark — the third-highest in program history.

“It’s a great accomplishment to be in the history books,” Grace said. “But I’d rather win the game with my team than get  the record.”

Despite falling behind 39-34 at halftime, the Bulls mounted perhaps their most important comeback of the season. Senior guard Jazmine Sepulvedahit a three-pointer with 17:24 remaining in the second half to tie it 39-39.

Grace, who shot 6-for-17 from the field, helped extend the USF lead to 11 with less than two minutes to play and put the game away.

Grace said the win over DePaul, which is ranked in the nation’s top 30, should give the Bulls momentum heading into the last two games of the regular season.

“This win was special because it was over a great school,” Grace said.

Coach Jose Fernandez was proud of his team’s effort and said he told his team the importance of it in terms of postseason position.

“I told our guys we needed to get to 22 wins if we had a shot to get to the NCAA tournament,” Fernandez said. “We had to make a decision on what this season would end up like.”