USC Women Miss Upset, Fall 68-57 To No. 8 ASU

Feb. 15, 2007

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team got close late in the game, but was unable to pull out an upset of No. 8 Arizona State, as the powerful Sun Devils tacked up a 68-57 win over the Women of Troy on Thursday night at the Galen Center. USC was led in scoring by Jamie Hagiya, who scored in double figures for the 12th straight game with her 15-point performance. Shay Murphy had her 10th double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds for USC, only to have Arizona State get four players in double figures, led by Aubree Johnson's 20 points and 10 rebounds. USC moves to 15-10 overall and 9-6 in Pac-10 play, while ASU improves to 24-3, 14-2 with its fifth straight win.

Both teams made sure to press each other hard, and the pressure was working to USC's advantage as the Trojans led 20-12 until ASU turned things around. USC fell into a serious scoring slump, unable to score from the floor for the last 10 minutes of the half while the Sun Devils reeled off 21 points to erase USC's lead and build a 33-24 Sun Devil halftime lead. USC's shooting percentage slipped to just under 30 percent in the half, compared to ASU's 55 percent effort as the buzzer sounded. Fortunately for the Trojans, they were able to manufacture an 8-2 scoring run to get back into the game, and closed to within four in the final 1:30 but ASU's 18th fast break points of the night came next and the rest were free throws to put USC out of reach of an upset. USC dominated the boards to the tune of a 43-32 rebounding advantage (including 21 offensive rebounds by the Trojans) and put up a season-high blocks count with nine. ASU had six blocks and match USC in steals with 12. Staunch defense and hard play forced a number of turnovers on both ends, as USC commited 25 turnovers, and ASU had 24. ASU's shooting percentage helped the Sun Devils keep the upper hand down the stretch, as ASU shot 47 percent to USC's 30 percent outing.

USC jumped out to an early 9-3 lead with a 6-0 run by the Women of Troy on a layup from Jamie Hagiya, a jumper in the lane from Shay Murphy and a low score from Nadia Parker. The Sun Devils broke the run with a single free throw at 14:53 and later closed in on USC's lead to make it a 3-point game at the 12-minute mark. But a layup from Chloe Kerr and a steal and 3-pointer from Murphy boosted the Trojans ahead 18-10 as the 10-minute mark approached. Two free throws from ASU's Danielle Orsillo cut the lead to four at 8:10, but Allison Jaskowiak drained a pair of her own to make it 22-16 at 7:50. The Sun Devils got back-to-back buckets to make it 22-20 USC at 5:45. Two more ASU free throws from Aubree Johnson put USC's lead at 23-22 at 4:45, and then a jumper from Orsillo got Arizona its first lead of the game at 4:14, 24-23. Again, the Sun Devils scored off their fast break, rebounding a USC miss and taking it back to push to a 26-23 lead at 3:40. USC's offense remained in a serious cold patch, as the Trojans could not convert from the floor after Medlock's layup at 9:59. ASU, meanwhile, utlized a solid fast break and tore ahead 33-23 in the final minute before USC was able to put in a single free throw before halftime arrived to make it a 33-24 ASU lead at the half.

USC's scoring slump finally ended with a score from Kerr in the paint at 19:15. Funn, Kerr and Hagiya then each slipped in scores for USC while ASU was unable to score, cutting the lead to 35-32 at 16:20 before the Trojans forced a Sun Devil turnover to get the ball back. Nadia Parker was tagged with her fourth foul of the game at 15:53 before ASU worked ahead by six. A Hagiya free throw and a three from Aarika Hughes cut things to 40-38 ASU at 12:24, just before the Sun Devils were awarded another trip to the free throw line. Aubree Johnson hit both, and ASU was up 42-38 with 12 minutes remaining.

With the foul count weighing heavily in ASU's favor, the Sun Devils were in double bonus with 10 minutes still to play. Kerr's fourth came on a charge, and then Parker was fouled out when called for a block on Orsillo's layup attempt with nine minutes to go. A steal and score on the USC inbounds lifted ASU ahead 52-38 with 8:51 on the clock as Aubree Johnson scored her 20th points of the night for ASU. It was another scoring drought for the Trojans, who finally broke out of their second-half slump when Hagiya hit a three to reach double figures for the 12th straight game and end almost four minutes of scoreless play for the Women of Troy. Finally in the bonus with 7:10 on the clock, ASU fouled Hagiya on a layup, which was good. The free throw just rolled off the front rim, however, keeping ASU's lead at 54-43 entering the final seven minutes of regulation. Two free throws from Murphy and then a steal from Jaskowiak and a low score from Funn brought USC to within seven, trailing 56-49 at 5:11.

Kerr was the next to foul out, tagged with her fifth at 4:51 to put USC without a center for the rest of the game. Down 58-49 with 4:00 on the clock, USC's Simone Jelks was fouled on a 3-point try. She made the first two to bring the score to 58-51, and then Murphy answered another two ASU free throws with a score in the paint before Jelks drained another two free throws for USC to make it a five-point game at 2:23. Funn put up a solid block against Kayli Murphy and got the ball back, as Hagiya was fouled and hit a pair to make it 60-57. But ASU got a fastbreak layup with a minute to go to grab back a five-point advantage. Down 62-57 with 45 seconds remaining, USC had to foul. Reagan Pariseau hit two with 43 seconds left, and then Briann January hit two more with 27 to go to get ASU ahead 66-57. A 3-point try from Hagiya was off the mark, and Pariseau went back to the line with 13.5 remaining. Both fell for the guard, while USC's last shot attempt was off, ending the game in a 68-57 loss for the Women of Troy.

USC now turns to face Arizona at 1 p.m. in a televised game on Saturday (Feb. 17) that also marks Senior Day for the Trojans.

No. 8 Arizona State 68, USC 57
ASU 33 - 35 -- 68
USC 24 - 33 -- 57

GAME NOTES:
• Jamie Hagiya scored in double figures for the 12th straight game.
• Shay Murphy has hit double figures in 49 of the past 50 games.
• For the first time in Pac-10 play, USC had two players fouled out. The last time that occured was at South Dakota State on Nov. 17 when three players fouled out.
• USC had a season-high nine blocks.
• USC was held to its second-lowest shooting percentage of the season at 30 percent.
• Shay Murphy had her 10th double-double of the season (10 points, 12 rebounds).
• Jamie Funn tied her season highs of rebounds (8), blocks (3) and steals (2).

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