Hoffman Dominates Boards in USC's Tourney Win

March 7, 2003

JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Ebony Hoffman was disgusted with her most recent rebounding efforts.

The Pac-10's second-leading rebounder had only 24 total boards in her last four regular-season games.

Hoffman made up for it by tying her career high and setting a tournament record with 20 rebounds to go with 17 points as No. 7 seed Southern California defeated tenth-seeded Washington State 53-46 in the opening game of the Pac-10 tournament Friday night.

'I have been lacking in rebounding, and that was disappointing to me,' Hoffman said. 'I was determined to step it up and rebound. That was my goal coming into the tournament.'

The Women of Troy (14-16), who lost four of their final regular-season games, lost in the first round of the tournament last season. They will play second-seeded Washington on Saturday.

Bianca McCall had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jessica Perry also scored 12 for the Cougars, who made an inspired effort and outhustled USC for loose balls most of the game.

'It was frustrating we lost, but we played hard, and I think we showed that we never gave up this season,' McCall said.

The Women of Troy swept the season series with the Cougars (2-26), outscoring Washington State 181-80 in those two games. The Cougars' 36 points in an 89-36 loss on Feb. 1 in Pullman was their lowest total of the season.

They committed 62 turnovers in the two games, but had only 21 Friday.

'To have been beaten twice as bad as we beat them, it says a lot about the kind of effort they put in,' USC coach Chris Gobrecht said. 'Those kids were playing incredibly hard.'

Hoffman had 14 of her rebounds in the first half, but USC looked sluggish for much of the game and was sloppy with the ball. The Women of Troy shot 32.8 percent to the Cougars' 29.4.

USC's Rometra Craig, the daughter of former San Francisco 49ers great Roger Craig, was held to six points (3-for-14), eight below her average.

The Cougars, who trailed by as many as seven in the first half, tied the game at 32 on a layin by Perry with 13:08 left. Perry made two free throws with 6:14 remaining to pull the Cougars within 43-42. They had a chance to go ahead on Jami Clevenger's two free throws at 5:38, but she missed both. Clevenger then made a baseline 10-footer 40 seconds later as Washington State took the lead, but the Cougars couldn't hold it.

Clevenger missed two more free throws with 2:19 left.

The Cougars missed their first nine shots and 10 of their first 11. Perry's three-point play with 58.8 seconds remaining in the first half kept Washington State within 30-25 at halftime.

The Cougars ended a 45-game losing streak Feb. 13 with a three-point home win over California. It was the second-longest losing skid in Division I women's history.

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