Women Of Troy Out-Hustle Bruins For 72-68 Victory

Feb. 8, 2003

LOS ANGELES - With a career-high double-double performance from junior Ebony Hoffman, the USC women's basketball team out-hustled UCLA for a 72-68 victory on Saturday in front of 4,354 at the Sports Arena. The victory gives the Women of Troy (11-12, 6-6 Pac-10) five of the 10 points awarded in women's basketball for the 2002-03 Lexus Gauntlet.

With 21 points and 20 rebounds, Hoffman becomes the first player since Lisa Leslie to reach a 20-point, 20-rebound double-double at USC.

The 4,354 fans in attendance marked USC's largest crowd since 1986 and the 16th-largest crowd ever.

USC had only nine players suited for the game, but it did not matter as the Women of Troy outrebounded the Bruins, 46-to-36. USC shot 50.0 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range, while UCLA (12-9, 7-5 Pac-10) posted a 40.0 field goal percentage and 33.3 percent effort beyond the arch.

The start was slow for the Women of Troy, who found themselves down 10-2 within the first four minutes of the game. But when the shots started to fall, the Trojans climbed back into the game and knotted the score 22-22 with 6:25 remaining.

Thanks to the efforts of freshman Meghan Gnekow, who scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half, USC embarked on an 11-4 run to enter halftime ahead 33-26.

The Bruins returned from the break and used a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at 33-33 in the first three minutes of the second half. It was a back-and-forth battle and USC and UCLA alternated with the lead until the six-minute mark. The Women of Troy outscored the Bruins 10-2 over the next three minutes to take a seven-point lead with 3:11 left on the clock.

UCLA managed to come within two points, twice, in the remaining minutes, but this time was unable to catch-up. Thanks to two final free throws by junior Tiffany Hicks, USC sealed the 72-68 victory.

The Women of Troy host Arizona State and Arizona this Friday and Sunday, Feb. 14 and 16, at the Sports Arena.

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