USC Pulls Out 73-72 Win At Arizona

Feb. 2, 2006

TUSCON, ARIZ. -- The USC women's basketball team had a cold start to their Pac-10 road contest with Arizona and outlasted another late burst from the Wildcats to hang onto a 73-72 win at McKale Center on Thursday. Meghan Gnekow had a double-double for the Women of Troy after tearing down a key defensive rebound for the Trojans with less than 20 seconds to go in the game. The senior captain finished with a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. The victory snaps a two-game losing slump for USC in improves the Trojans to 14-7 overall and 8-4 in Pac-10 play to remain in second place in the conference. Arizona moves to 7-15, 3-9 with the loss.

After enduring a 15-0 Arizona run that got the Women of Troy in an 18-4 hole, USC finally broke out of an eight-minute scoring slump and powered up for a 16-0 answering run that got the Trojans to a 24-20 lead with 4:30 to go in the first half. The Trojans nailed four straight 3-pointers in the scoring blitz. Camille LeNoir drilled one more to become the third Trojan with a pair of threes before halftime, helping USC to a 33-27 halftime edge.

In the second half, Gnekow upped her 3-point tally. Her third 3-pointer of the game got th Trojans up 59-51 with eight minutes to go in the game. USC led by as much as 11 in the second half, but that lead was eaten up by a 13-0 Arizona run that brought the Wildcats into the lead at 72-68 with 1:20 on the clock. A three-point play from Chloe Kerr got the Trojans to within one at 72-71 at 1:07, and then two missed free throws from Natalie Jones kept USC within reach. Kerr nailed another two free throws with 46 secs to go to grab back the lead for USC at 73-72. A missed Wildcat try was snagged by Gnekow, and although Jamie Hagiya was unable to convert the front end of her one-and-one free-throw opportunity, Eshaya Murphy ripped down one last Arizona miss and got the ball into the hands of teammate Allison Jaskowiak, who slipped the ball to Hagiya to wind down the clock and sidestep any chances of a last-second Arizona shot attempt.

Gnekow finished as USC's leading scorer with 17 points, and was joined in double figures by Eshaya Murphy -- her 15th consecutive game with double digits -- and Markisha Lea, who had a career-high 11 points. Arizona was led in scoring by Jones, who had a game-high 22 points.

USC next travels to Tempe, Ariz. to face No. 18 Arizona State at 12 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 4).

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