USC Comes Up Short In 70-66 Loss At Utah

Dec. 4, 2006

Box Score

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH. -- The USC women's basketball team made a ferocious comeback against Utah, but the Trojans ran out of time in their efforts to dig themselves out of their largest halftime deficit of the year, falling 70-66 at Utah on Monday night. Shay Murphy led the Women of Troy with 18 points, including an 11-of-11 effort from the free-throw line. USC had four players finish in double figures -- Murphy, Jamie Hagiya (13), Morghan Medlock (12) and Chloe Kerr (10) -- yet the Utes still led throughout the game. The Trojans move to 3-4 on the year, and Utah improves to 4-4 with the win. Kerr and Medlock also grabbed double-doubles in the game with 10 rebounds apiece. Utah was paced by 22 points from Kalee Whipple and 14 points from Morgan Warburton.

USC slipped into a serious scoring slump in the first half, struggling from every spot on the floor to wind up with a cold 15 percent effort that left the Trojans in a 34-18 hole by halftime. The Women of Troy couldn't match the Utes' hot streak from behind the arc, as Utah drained six 3-pointers in the half to help stay ahead of the Trojans. It marked the lowest first-half scoring percentage and biggest halftime deficit of the year for the Trojans, leaving them with plenty of work to do in the second half. USC stepped it up and made a powerful run at the Utes, hitting some of the threes they failed on in the first and shooting 47 percent in the second half. The Trojans trailed by as much as 23, before managing to cut the score to a two-point game during the final minute, but the comeback efforts fell short to leave USC with its third road loss of the year.

Utah opened up the game stronger on the boards and hotter from the floor, shooting 80 percent on the way to an early 12-4 lead in the first four minutes. Hailey Dunham dished up an assist to Nadia Parker that Shay Murphy followed up with a pair of free throws to get the score to 14-9 at the 13:30 mark. While USC's 3-point tries kept falling off the mark, Heidi Carlsen drilled Utah's third to get the Utes up 17-9. Another three followed for Utah, while the Trojans missed their seventh long attempt of the game, leaving USC in a 20-11 hole entering the final eight minutes of the first half. Allison Jaskowiak finished a layup, only to have Utah get a jump shot on the next trip down. Utah's Karlee Whipple joined the 3-point attack with a long one that got the Utes ahead 25-13 with 6:30 to go, but USC's first 3-pointer of the game was coming soon. Jamie Hagiya knocked one down at the 6-minute mark to pull the game back to 25-16. Hagiya grabbed a couple steals in teh remaining time, but USC was unable to convert on the other end. Meanwhile, Utah got two scores from Brette Ulsaker and another three from Whipple to put the Trojans behind 34-18 by halftime.

Hagiya produced a runner and a three early in the half, but Utah had two threes and two layups to answer, getting the Utes up 44-23 in the first five minutes of the half. That brought Utah's 3-point effort up to 53 percent, while USC remained stuck with a chilly 15 percent mark from 3-point range to go along with a 17-percent outing from the floor. Morghan Medlock bettered the Trojan cause with a three, a two and a pair of free throws to pull the score to 46-30. Hagiya hit double figures first for the Trojans at the 9:40 mark with a pair of free throws, and then Dunham finished off a fast break to cut the lead to 52-40 with nine minutes to go. The Women of Troy put the Utes up against the shot clock on their next possession, and then Murphy hit her first bucket from the floor soon after, getting fouled on the play and nailing the free throw to make it 52-43 entering the final eight minutes. USC's 9-0 run was snapped with a pair of putbacks in the paint from the Utes, leaving USC back in a double-digit deficit at 56-43. A 3-pointer from Medlock got the score to 58-48 with 5:30 to go. Murphy was fouled again on a fastbreak layup off a steal, and she sank both to get to double figures, then drilled her first 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to 62-57 with two minutes remaining. She took a pass from Kerr for a runner soon after to pull USC within four after a Utah free throw, but Murphy fouled out next with 1:09 on the clock. Hagiya drained a huge 3-pointer at the 1-minute mark to make it 64-62 Utah, and then Allison Jaskowiak matched two Ute free throws to keep it a two-point game with 42 seconds remaining. Dunham grabbed a steal in the press, but Utah got the ball back on the ensuing USC throw-in with 33 seconds left. Kalee Whipple hit both her free throws, and then Kerr scored low. Medlock got a steal with 20 seconds to go, but Dunham's shot attempt was just off the mark, and Utah got the rebound and a trip to the free-throw line with 6.4 ticks on the clock. Whipple hit both, leaving the Women of Troy out of reach of a shot at pushing the game into overtime.

USC now returns home for a six-game run, opening the stand against Hawai'i at the Lyon Center at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 9).

Utah 70, USC 66
USC 18 - 48 -- 66
UU 34 - 36 -- 70

GAME NOTES:
Morghan Medlock scored a career high 12 points, and tallied her first career double-double with 10 rebounds.
Shay Murphy matched the No. 3 all-time best free-throw shooting mark of 11-for-11.
Shay Murphy has scored in double figures for 32 straight games.

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