Basketball Ends Season With 97-87 Loss To Huskies

March 17, 2002

AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) - Despite a career high 31 points from sophomore guard Aisha Hollans, the USC women's basketball team fell to Washington, 97-87, in the second round of the Postseason Women's NIT on Sunday in Seattle.

The win was the 100th for head coach June Daugherty at Washington, and it came against the school's former coach, Chris Gobrecht. The Huskies will host Oregon in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The Ducks beat Oregon State in the final seconds 50-48 on Sunday to advance.

Giuliana Mendiola and Loree Payne led the Huskies with 18 points apiece, which was playing USC for the third time this season. Washington won the two previous games by a total of seven points.

Hollans added her career high on 14-of-21 shooting and had five assists and four rebounds for the Women of Troy. Ebony Hoffman added 25 points, seven assists and eight rebounds for the Trojans, who ended their season 16-14. Both players were named to the Pac-10's first team.

These teams are accustomed to playing close games, but it didn't happen this time. Washington's 3-point shooting was too good and the Huskies' swarming defense in the paint made it difficult for USC's post players much of the game. Washington made 10 of 19 3-pointers with five different players scoring them.

But the Women of Troy managed to match the Huskies from beyond the arc in the second half. Hollans and Hoffman both hit a career high four and six 3-pointers, respectively. The Women of Troy finished the game with a 66.7 shooting percentage (8-12) from three-point range - a mark which ranks third all-time at USC.

The last three meetings between the teams in Seattle had gone to overtime, including Washington's 80-79 win Jan. 6. The Huskies won the second meeting 69-63 on Feb. 1 in Los Angeles.

The Huskies used an 11-2 run midway through the opening half to break the game open and remained in control for the remainder of the game. Payne's 3-pointer 5:38 before halftime made it 32-17 and the Huskies kept the momentum for a 47-34 halftime lead.

USC's Jessica Cheeks was whistled for a technical foul with 1:35 left in the half for spiking the ball downcourt after fouling Washington's Kayla Burt. Cheeks scored seven points before fouling out with 7:01 left.

The teams combined to shoot 2 of 11 with five turnovers in the first four minutes. But Washington shot 54.8 percent in the first half to USC's 45.2 and never looked back.

At the end the numbers were not much different as USC finished with a season-best 54.0 percent shooting effort from the field, while the Huskies posted a 54.1 shooting percentage. Each team collected 30 rebounds and Washington forced two more turnovers than the Women of Troy.

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