Hawks' Lay-in At Buzzer Downs USC 79-78

Jan. 4, 2001

PULLMAN, Wash. - Perseverance does pay off.

Brittney Hawks' lay-in as time expired capped a come from behind effort for the Cougars as WSU edged the USC Trojans 79-78 in Pac-10 conference action Thursday night.

The win marked the first Pac-10 season opening victory for WSU since January 6, 1994, an 88-82 win over California at Pullman. The Cougars improved to 6-5 overall and 1-0 in the Pac-10. USC dropped to 5-6 overall and 0-1 in the conference.

'To start the Pac-10 season off with a win is great for the program,' said WSU coach Jenny Przekwas. 'This is my biggest win as a Cougar.'

After relinquishing a 5-4 lead at the 17:20 mark of the first half, the Cougars would fall behind by as much as 10 points before heading into halftime facing a 40-33 deficit.

For much of the second half it seemed that Cougars were climbing a hill as high as those outside the Pullman campus.

On four separate occasions, WSU would cut the Trojans' lead to one only to be turned back. Finally, with the Cougars' down 72-69 with 3:04 left, Katie Nyseth converted a three-point play to tie the game at 72.

That tie began a sequence that saw five lead changes and three ties in the final 3:04.

After a bucket by the Trojans' Tiffany Elmore put USC back up 74-72, the Cougars' Victoria Harrod converted a three-point play of her own to put WSU up 75-74 with 2:21 remaining. It was the Cougars' first lead since 5-4 at the 17:20 mark of the first half.

Both teams traded leads during the next minute and then with WSU up 77-76, the Trojans' Ebony Hoffman's lay-up with one minute remaining gave USC a 78-77 advantage.

On the Cougars' ensuing possession, a steal by USC's Aisha Hollans gave the Trojans the ball back but Elmore missed a jumper and Whitney Martindale came down with the rebound for the Cougars and called timeout with four seconds left. Coming out of the time-out, Hawks took the inbound pass from Harrod and proceeded to make the lay-in to give the Cougars the win.

'USC is a very good team and to come up with the win after being down and to make a lot of runs at them before finally finishing it is a great feeling.' said Przekwas. 'I thought USC really dominated the boards and their pressure defense was stifling in the first half. But we stayed with it. I give a lot of credit to the players who didn't quit.'

Hawks' finished with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Nyseth led the Cougars with a career-high 18 points and Kelley Berglund added 14 points, her second straight game in double digits. USC was led by a game-high 21-point effort from Hoffman.

--wsucougars.com--
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