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Schimmel's shot lifts No. 3 Louisville over USF

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DOUG FEINBERG | March 9, 2014 05:16 PM EST | AP

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Shoni Schimmel hit a pullup in the lane with 6 seconds left to lift No. 3 Louisville to a 60-56 win over South Florida on Sunday in the American Athletic Conference semifinals.

The Cardinals (30-3) will face top-ranked UConn on Monday night for the inaugural conference tournament title.

With the game tied at 56, Courtney Williams missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left for South Florida. Schimmel then drove up the court and pulled up in the lane for the go-ahead jumper.

Her sister, Jude, then stole the ball at midcourt from Williams and hit two free throws to seal the win.

Shoni Schimmel led Louisville with 17 points.

Williams and Inga Orekhova each scored 19 points to lead South Florida (19-12), which was looking for its first win over a top-10 team.

Trailing 51-46 with just over 8 minutes left, Louisville rallied behind consecutive 3-pointers by Tia Gibbs and Shoni Schimmel. Those were Schimmel's first points of the second half.

Two free throws by Gibbs gave Louisville a 56-54 lead. Orekhova got fouled on the other end, and the 90 percent free throw shooter, who had made 36 straight from the line, missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Williams' putback with 1:10 left tied it at 56, setting up the frantic finish.

Even with the loss, South Florida strengthened its case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Bulls had won nine of their last 11 games coming in. In fact, since Jan. 1, the Bulls' only losses have come to Louisville or Connecticut.

The Bulls were banged up early in the season with Orekhova missing a few games after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her left knee.

Coach Jose Fernandez had to miss the Louisville game that South Florida lost by 20 on Feb. 2 after having an allergic reaction to medication he was taking. He was in the hospital for a few days.

The Bulls were missing guard Tamara Taylor, who suffered a concussion in the quarterfinals. They did have Williams back. She had sprained her ankle in that game.

The Cardinals trailed 20-10 midway through the first half before they got going. Louisville scored 16 of the next 20 points, including three 3-pointers by Shoni Schimmel. Jude Schimmel made a layup to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 26-24. Shoni Schimmel's fourth 3-pointer of the half made it 33-29 at the break.

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