USC Claims Another Close One Over UCLA With 77-73 Win
Feb. 18, 2006
For Release: Feb. 18, 2006
WESTWOOD, CALIF. -- USC junior center Chloe Kerr came on strong for the Women of Troy and scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting to help anchor the Trojans to a vital 77-73 win over host UCLA at Paulet Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins took a one-point lead in the final minute of play on a 3-pointer from Noelle Quinn, who finished with a game-high 28 points for UCLA. The Trojans stayed composed, however, and got a pair of crucial free throws from Allison Jaskowiak to take back the lead for good. The four-point victory marks the fifth straight game between the Bruins and Trojans that has been decided by four or fewer points. The win also pushed USC to a 16-9 overall record and leveled the teams at 10-6 in Pac-10 play. The Bruins move to 15-10 overall with the loss.
The lead changed hands six times in the game, and the Trojans led by as much as 15 in the early goings of the second half. The Women of Troy went on a 9-0 run to close out the first half for a 39-30 lead at halftime, then extended that advantage to a healthy 45-30 lead at the 17:55 mark of the second half. The firepower of UCLA was never something that the Trojans overlooked, however, and the Bruins closed back in thanks to a 41-percent shooting effort in the second half -- up from 33 percent in the first. The Trojans, on the other hand, cooled off somewhat from the field, following up a 53-percent effort in the first half with a mild 29 percent in the second.
The Bruins closed in on a 7-0 run to bring it to a six-point game midway through the second. Meghan Gnekow converted a three-point play, and the Jamie Hagiya was perfect from the free-throw line to take it back to a 68-58 USC lead, but Quinn stayed dangerous from the perimeter while the Bruins also caused trouble in the paint as UCLA made it a 72-68 game with 2:45 on the clock with two Quinn free throws. Lisa Willis brought UCLA to within two at the 1:40 mark, and with USC unable to work out a basket on its next possession, Quinn went back an drilled a three to take back the lead at 73-72 with 50 seconds remaining. Jaskowiak was fouled on her way to the basket soon after, and the junior nailed both free throws to snag the lead back for the Trojans with 21.7 seconds to go. Her solid effort at the line -- along with a pair of key first-half threes -- made Jaskowiak USC's fourth player to hit double figures in the game.
But the Trojans weren't through. UCLA called a timeout with 17.9 seconds left, but Nikki Blue was just off on her shot attempt on UCLA's ensuing possession. Gnekow went all-out for the rebound, diving on the ground and getting fouled by Blue to head back to the free-throw line for USC with 2.1 ticks on the clock. Gnekow missed the first, but made the second to close out the senior's final regular-season game against the Bruins with 13 points and seven rebounds. UCLA lobbed a last-ditch pass downcourt, but the toss was intercepted by Eshaya Murphy, who was quickly fouled as well, giving the junior guard two free throws with 0.7 on the clock. She knocked down both, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season, and locking away the 77-73 victory for the Women of Troy.
USC finishes out Pac-10 regular-season play in Oregon next week with a 7 p.m. game at Oregon on Thursday (Feb. 23) and a 7 p.m. game at Oregon State on Saturday (Feb. 25)
USC 39 - 38 -- 77UCLA 30 - 43 -- 73