USC Falls 67-64 In Road Match At Oregon State

Feb. 25, 2006

CORVALLIS, ORE. -- The USC women's basketball team got a career-high 27 points from Eshaya Murphy, but the Women of Troy couldn't hold onto their second-half lead and fell 67-64 to host Oregon State on Saturday night at Gill Coliseum. The Trojans were in search of their 18th win of the season, which could have put them in third place in the Pac-10 and in good position for the NCAA Tournament. USC is now 17-10 overall and finishes 11-7 in Pac-10 play to end up tied at fourth place in the conference with Washington. The Huskies will earn the No. 4 seed into the upcoming Pac-10 Tournament, however, by virtue of holding a victory over first-place Stanford to break the tie between USC and Washington. Oregon State finishes Pac-10 play at 7-11 and 13-13 overall.

By halftime, the Trojans had as many fouls stacked against them as they did in the entire game at Oregon. The Women of Troy trailed 32-28 after posting a chilly 30 percent shooting from the field in the first half. OSU had gone 36 percent from the floor in the half.

The Women of Troy heated up in the second half, shooting 45 percent in that frame. USC even worked its way back into the driver's seat and held a 49-39 advantage with 11:20 on the clock with Murphy's second straight take to the hoop to score. Oregon State edged closer, and Allison Jaskowiak went down hard under the USC hoop with an injured knee that kept her sidelined for the rest of the game.

The Beavers managed an 8-0 run to tie it up 56-56 on a 3-pointer from Mandy Close just before the five-minute mark, and from there the teams remained imbedded in a tug-of-war battle. Oregon State took a 64-60 lead with a pair of scores in the paint from Casey Nash with 2:42 to go. Murphy had scored 10 straight points for the Trojans to make it a 64-61 game at the 2:30 mark, and a free throw from Meghan Gnekow -- who finished with 11 rebounds in the game -- and a low-post score from Chloe Kerr tied it back up at 64-64 with 1:26 on the clock. Camille LeNoir was just off on her shot attempt in the final minute, giving way to another trip to the free-throw line for Close. She hit the second for a 65-64 lead with 25 ticks to go, and then Nash got another chance from the line and brought it to a 66-64 OSU lead with 14.4 seconds left. USC got the ball downcourt, called timeout and got the ball to Murphy for a tough 3-point try that was just a hair off the mark. Oregon State grabbed the rebound -- its 47th of the game -- and earned one last trip to the stripe for Close, who hit one more with 1.1 seconds to go and close the doors on USC's comeback hopes.

In addition to Murphy's career-best 27-point performance, Kerr also finished in double figures for the Trojans with 13 points. Gnekow led the Women of Troy with 11 rebounds, and LeNoir had seven assists and five of USC's 14 steals inthe game. USC finished the game shooting 36 percent compared to 38 percent by the Beavers. OSU also outrebounded the Trojans 47-41.

USC now moves on as the No. 5 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament, to be held in San Jose, Calif. from March 3-6. The Trojans face fourth-seeded Washington at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 4.

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