Women's Hoops Loses Close One at USC 64-56

Feb. 14, 2003

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Sophomore Carrie Buckner scored 12 points to lead three Sun Devils in double figures as Arizona State fell to USC 64-56 Friday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

With the loss, ASU's third straight defeat on the road, the Sun Devils fell to 14-9 overall and 6-8 in Pac-10 play. USC won its third straight and its sixth in seven games and improved to 12-12 and 7-6 in the league.

In the first half, Arizona State took an early 10-3 lead with 14:04 to play, but USC pulled ahead 11-10 with an 8-0 run over the next four minutes. ASU scored the next five points of the game, including a three-pointer by sophomore Kylan Loney with the shot clock running down, to take a 15-11 lead with 8:40 to play. The final eight minutes of the half stayed close with USC cutting the Sun Devil lead to one point twice, forcing a pair of ties and taking a slim 21-19 lead into the locker room. For the second game in a row, the Sun Devils got balanced scoring in the first half with seven players getting on the scoreboard and freshmen forwards Jenny Thigpin and Amy Denson each turning in four points to lead the team.

The first four minutes of the second half stayed tight with four ties before USC pulled ahead with a 16-9 run, including 12 points from sophomore Rometra Craig, to take a 45-38 lead with 9:59 to play. Junior Megan Gnekow scored five of the next seven points in the game to give the Women of Troy 53-42 advantage with 8:20 left in the game. The Sun Devils, however, refused to give up, cutting the Trojan lead to one, 57-56, when junior Jen Albert knocked down one of two free throws with 3:17 to play. Buckner scored six points in that stretch, while Denson had five, but the Sun Devils would not score again in the 64-56 loss.

For Arizona State, Buckner had 10 of her team-leading points in the second half, while Denson and Albert added 11 points apiece. Denson also accounted for her fourth double-double of the year with 11 rebounds, while sophomore Lauren Stagg dished out a career-high five assists. For USC, Craig led all scorers with 17 points including 14 in the second half.

Arizona State returns to action Saturday afternoon, taking on the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. Saturday's game will tip off at 2 p.m. Pacific/3 p.m. Mountain and can be heard on ASU's new radio flagship station, NBC 1190 AM, or via the internet at www.thesundevils.com.

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