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No. 7 Rutgers downs South Florida

April Sykes poured in a game-high 23 points and ranked Rutgers took down South Florida, 72-66, on Saturday.

Khadijah Rushdan finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Monique Oliver added 14 points and seven boards for Rutgers (16-3, 5-1 Big East), which has won seven of its last eight games.

Inga Orekhova paced the Bulls (11-9, 3-3) with 15 points and Jasmine Wynne contributed 12 points. Tiffany Conner finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and four steals for South Florida, which had its two-game winning streak halted.

Leading 29-27 after 20 minutes of play, Rutgers took control of the game with an 11-4 run to start the second half.

A trey by Orekhova pulled South Florida within 49-44, but the Scarlet Knights countered with the next four points to push the lead to 53-44 with nine minutes left.

A jumper by Rushdan gave Rutgers a 66-54 lead with just under four minutes to play, but the Bulls answered with an 8-3 push to get within seven.

A pair of free throws by Akila McDonald pulled South Florida within 70-64, but at that point there were only 36 seconds to play, and the Bulls got no closer.

South Florida jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead just under five minutes in, but Rutgers responded with a 16-4 run to take a 19-15 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the opening half. The rest of the first half was tightly played.