USC Wins Fourth In A Row, Topping UCLA 75-72

Jan. 13, 2007

WESTWOOD, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team got it done once again, pulling out another tight victory over crosstown rival UCLA on the Bruins' home floor. For the sixth straight matchup between the two schools, USC grabbed a win by just a slim margin, pinning up a 75-72 win over UCLA on Saturday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion. The past six USC-UCLA games have been decided by four or fewer points. Both teams had four players finish in double figures, with USC's Chloe Kerr leading them all with 19 points. USC improves to 10-7 overall and 4-3 in Pac-10 play. UCLA is now 9-10, 3-4. The victory puts USC on a four-game winning streak, and marks the Trojans' fourth straight win over UCLA.

'I think this was the best win of the season,' USC head coach Mark Trakh said. 'That's the best thing about this rivalry. It's competitive and both teams want to win, but I think the respect they have for each other on the floor and off the floor is healthy.'

The Women of Troy did a solid job of mixing up their attack in the first half, getting seven players in the scoring column by halftime. Both teams shot just under 50 percent in the half, and ended the game close as well, with USC shooting 44 percent and UCLA hitting 43 percent. In the second half, the Trojans led by as much as 13 during the second half before UCLA pulled it to a three-point game with just seconds left. Shay Murphy was a lock from the line down the stretch, however, putting away seven straight free-throws in the final minute to help keep USC a step ahead. She finished the game with 18 points -- her 42nd straight game in double figures -- and was joined in double figures by Kerr's 19, 13 from Jamie Hagiya and 11 from freshman Morghan Medlock. Noelle Quinn led UCLA with 17 points and 10 assists.

After Jamie Hagiya drained a long 3-pointer to get USC ahead 10-9 early in the game, she quickly turned around and forced a turnover on the other end, and the fastbreak layup was converted by Allison Jaskowiak for a 12-9 USC lead at 15:20. Amanda Livingston was 4-for-4 from the floor to start for the Bruins, getting UCLA ahead 14-12 before Shay Murphy tied it back up with a bucket at 13:50. Chloe Kerr pushed the Trojans ahead by two, and then Nicole Berberet hit a baseline jumper for an 18-14 USC edge at 12:00. Noelle Quinn hit her first basket with a jumper at 11:45, and Chinyere Ibekwe finished off a three-point play for a 19-18 UCLA lead. She scored again soon after, only to have USC's Chloe Kerr spark the Trojans on a run.

A three-point play from Kerr pushed the Women of Troy ahead 25-21 at the 10-minute mark. She singlehandedly took the Trojans on a 7-0 run for a 27-21 lead at 8:50. UCLA's Shaina Zaidi knocked down her second three for the Bruins, but Jamie Funn slipped in a putback next for the Trojans to hand USC a 29-24 lead at 7:30. Murphy extended that with her second long one to carry the Trojans ahead 32-24. A solo take from Hagiya put the Bruins in a 10-point hole, and an answering bucket from Jamie Funn kept them there until Quinn hit a 3-pointer and then a jumper to make it 36-31 USC with 4 minutes remaining in the half. After another Funn score, Hagiya served up an assist to Nadia Parker low, lifting USC up 40-31 before UCLA managed one more score before the half to make it 40-33 USC at the buzzer.

An opening second-half basket from Kerr was followed by a long two from Hagiya to join Kerr in double figures and help USC to its largest lead of the game at 44-33 at 18:10. UCLA responded with back-to-back scores of its own, however, to bring it back to a 7-point game. Morghan Medlock became USC's eighth scorer with a pair of free throws, then delivered a jumper in the paint for a 50-39 USC lead at 13:45. Trojan turnovers gave the Bruins a series of offensive chances, and UCLA worked the score to 50-43 by 12:30. Medlock then drilled a 3-pointer for a 10-point Trojan lead that held through the 10-minute mark. After Kerr punched in a pair of free throws, Medlock struck again and slipped in a score for a 59-46 USC advantage at 9:15. Coming off the bench, UCLA's Erica Latimer nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to cut into USC's lead, making it 59-52 at 8:11.

Another Latimer bucket was followed by a three from Murphy, solidifying her 42nd straight game in double figures and getting USC up 64-56 at 5:05. Quinn made it 64-58, but Medlock iced both ends of her one-and-one to stand as USC's fourth player in double figures. Quinn and Latimer both scored for the Bruins to pull the score to 66-62, only to have Hagiya drill two free throws for a 68-62 USC lead with 2:40 on the clock. USC got tagged with two shooting fouls within 15 seconds of each other, and the Bruins put away three of those to close in to 68-65 with 1:03 remaining. Murphy hit the front end of her trip to the line next, then grabbed a defensive rebound to earn another pair of free throws. She hit both for a 71-65 USC lead with 37 seconds to go. Quinn scored a layup for UCLA soon after, and the Bruins fouled Murphy again to put her back on the line with 21 seconds left. Again Quinn scored, and again Murphy earned another two free throw attempts with 15.3 on the clock. She knocked down another two, only to have Zaidi hit a three for UCLA with 8 seconds remaining. Up 75-72, the Trojans saw the ball go out of bounds and back into Bruin possession with 7.6 on the clock. Kerr stuffed the first Bruin shot attempt in the paint, and the ball went out of bounds with 4 seconds left to give UCLA one last chance. Quinn put up the last-gasp Bruin shot from 3-point range, and the ball was just off the mark, falling into USC hands as time expired.

USC now heads to Arizona to face the Wildcats and the Sun Devils. The Trojans first visit Arizona for a 7 p.m. game on Thursday (Jan. 18) and then faces Arizona State at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 21). Sunday's ASU game is scheduled to be televised on FSN.

USC 75, UCLA 72
USC 40 - 35 -- 75
UCLA 33 - 39 -- 72

GAME NOTES:
• Shay Murphy scored in double figures for the 42nd straight game.
• The attendance of 7,134 ranks as the 8th largest crowd at a women's game at Pauley Pavilion in UCLA history.
• Jamie Hagiya scored in double figures for the fourth straight game.

POSTGAME QUOTES:
USC HEAD COACH Mark Trakh
'That's the best thing about this rivalry. It's competitive and both teams want to win but I think the respect they have for each other on the floor and off the floor is healthy.'

'I think this was the best win of the season. This one and the win against Notre Dame were both great. When you're able to beat UCLA, Notre Dame and Colorado in the same season, you have to be happy.'

'I thought it was a great game and I'm really proud of our kids. We've played most of our games without seven scholarship players.'

'Chloe Kerr showed what she could do. She's got game and she's got her confidence back.'

'If we don't win another game, I'm really proud of our kids. I don't think I would know how to coach if four or five kids weren't out. You've got to tip your hat and give it up to Noelle Quinn. She's just an awesome player. She almost beat us single-handedly.'

'I was ecstatic when they kept fouling Shay at the end of the game. Shay has been there before. She stepped up. Everybody stepped up at the end of the game. But we want it in Shay's hands because she's been there before.'

USC SENIOR Chloe Kerr (on Quinn's last second 3PT attempt)
'When it went up, I thought it was going in because it looked like a good shot. I just tried to get out there and get my hands up and make it a tough shot for her.'

USC SENIOR Shay Murphy (on having so many injured players this seaon)
'It's tough when you lost so many great players and we were 0-3 to start but whether we have everybody or five walk-ons playing, coach expects us to play hard and he expects us to win.'

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