South Florida not only showed its will to survive a late comeback by Rutgers, but to also pull off the programs first win over the Scarlet Knights in a 59-56 upset victory on Saturday at the RAC.

“It was a big win for us,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “I was real happy with how our team played.”

Senior guard Shantia Grace’s layup with seven seconds left sealed the win and shocked the 3,821 in attendance.

The Bulls led by 19 with six minutes left in the game. However, a tough Rutgers defense allowed a 17-2 Scarlet Knights run to tie it at 56-56 with less than a minute to play.

“They pressured us real hard,” South Florida guard Janae Stokes said. “They just pressured us, and in those last 4 minutes we kind of panicked a little bit.”

Stokes showed little sign of panic — scoring 20 points and hitting six three-point shots. Stokes said that it was exciting to win against such a prestigious team.

“It’s a fantastic feeling,” she said. “It feels great to be able to come here and beat a top 25 quality team.”

USF (16-6, 3-5) turned the ball over 19 times and went to the free throw line 10 times. Fernandez said it was his own team that allowed the late comeback.

“We just didn’t take care of the ball, and we didn’t make free throws down the stretch,” he said.

The Bulls did, however, play good defense.

Rutgers (12-7, 4-4) were held to 32.8 shooting from the field and were outrebounded 35-28 by USF.

The Bulls played in the absence of freshman guard Jasmine Wynne, who suffered a twisted ankle against Georgetown. Fernandez said the team did a great job of filling in that loss.

“It gave the other kids a great chance to step up,” he said. “Folks like [Melissa] Dalembert and [Allyson] Speed all contributed.”

-Alex Cobb, Correspondent