USC Outlasts Arizona State's Final Efforts For 68-65 Victory

Jan. 17, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. - With four players in double-digits, the USC women's basketball team was able to outlast Arizona State for a 68-65 victory on Saturday afternoon in Tempe, Ariz. The Women of Troy had to hold off a 15-to-8 ASU rally in the final minutes to secure the win.

Eshaya Murphy and Rometra Craig led the Women of Troy with 11 point apiece as USC got back in the win column, improving to 8-7 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-10. With the loss, the Sun Devils fell to 10-6 overall and 4-3 in conference play.

It was a defensive battle from the start. After the first 20 minutes, the two teams had already collected 23 fouls and committed 26 total turnovers. USC worked its way back from a 10-point (20-10 at 6:20) deficit to enter the lockerroom down by only one, 28-27.

With a 12-8 run to start the second half, the Women of Troy took their first lead on Craig's fastbreak layup to make it 36-35 with 15:32 on the clock. USC extended its lead to 56-44 thanks to nine-consecutive points from Murphy over a two-minute span.

Arizona State did not score a field goal for more than seven minutes, scoring only from the free throw line until a layup by Carrie Buckner ended the drought at with 2:52 remaining in the game. Despite their shooting troubles, the Sun Devils did not give up. ASU scored three, three-pointers and hit six total field goals in the final 2:30 to make a 10-point ball game into a three-point contest as the clock ran down.

USC's 8-of-12 effort at the line down the stretch was enough to keep the Women of Troy in the lead and secure the victory.

The two teams shot a nearly identical 39.3 and 39.2 percent from the field. USC outrebounded ASU, 41 to 38, and outhustled the Sun Devils with a 16-to-12 edge in steals.

The Women of Troy featured a new starting lineup, which included three freshmen (Murphy, Jamie Hagiya, Jamie Funn), a sophomore (Meghan Gnekow) and a senior (Ebony Hoffman). Hagiya and Funn were the other two players to finish with double figures, both adding 10 points. Hoffman led on the boards with 10 rebounds.

USC returns home this week to host Stanford and California on Friday and Sunday, Jan. 23 and 25.

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