USC Women Edged 57-52 By No. 10 Cal
Jan. 4, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - Up against its second of three straight ranked opponents, the USC women's basketball team had its home win streak snapped by No. 10 California with a tight 57-52 Pac-10 loss on Friday night at the Galen Center. Morghan Medlock was USC's only player to finish in double figures, as she had 13 points for the Trojans. Cal was paced by double-doubles from Devanei Hampton, who started her first game of the season tonight and had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and from Ashley Walker with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The loss moves USC to 8-6 overall and 1-2 in Pac-10 play. No. 10 Cal improves to 12-2, 3-0.
USC forced 25 turnovers out of the Bears in the game, but Cal had the advantage in the paint and on the boards, pulling down 50 rebounds to USC's season-low 20. USC shot 37 percent in the game, compared to a 40 percent effort by Cal.
The lead traded hands three times in the first five minutes of action, until Cal was able to convert in the paint, getting a combined 20 points from posts Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker in the first half. After a jumper from Hailey Dunham tied things up 11-11 at 14:30 , the Bears got six straight points from Hampton to take a 17-11 lead. Morghan Medlock later drained a three to make it 19-16 just before Aarika Hughes took a charge to get the ball back in Trojan hands entering the 8-minute mark, but Cal's strength on the boards kept the Trojans out of a rhythm.
Cal came close to doubling USC's marks on the boards, outrebounding the Trojans 29-55 in the first half, including a point where the Bears had grabbed more offensive rebounds (11) than the Trojans had total rebounds (7). Simone Jelks pulled down USC's second offensive board of the game at the 5:45 mark, but the Trojans couldn't convert on that new offensive series as USC trailed 25-18 entering the last five minutes of the half. A score from Medlock and a 3-pointer from Allison Jaskowiak cut the Bears' lead down to four at 27-23 as the teams entered the locker rooms.
Cal got up by six early, but USC closed in to 33-31 when LeNoir drilled a long two and then served up an assist on a Medlock score down low. The Bears pulled away a bit after that, however, as Hampton worked her scoring total out to 16 after making the back end of her free throws to get Cal up 41-33 with 11:48 on the clock. USC forced back-to-back turnovers out of the Bears but were unable to score on the ensuing possessions before Hampton got another score out of the paint to match Cal's largest lead of the game, up nine at 44-35 with 10 minutes to go.
Jaskowiak nabbed two steals and slipped in both layups, and the USC defense continued to force turnovers out of the Bears. Kari LaPlante slipped in a score off a pass from Heather Oliver, and then Oliver drained a three to cut the score to 46-44 with 5:30 to go. Again, the Bears had a low-post answer with a bucket from Walker. Dunham was next to grab a steal for USC, and LaPlante buried a jumper at 4:20, but Lauren Greif sank a three for the Bears next to bump Cal ahead 51-46. Parker knocked down a baseline jumper at 2:40, only to have Kelsey Adrian put away a shot clock buzzer-beater to boost the Bears up 54-38 with 2 minutes remaining. Two Parker free throws - USC's first of the night - put the Trojans within four, and then one from Greif got Cal up by five for the final minute. Jaskowiak came away with her career-high fifth steal next, and LeNoir slipped in a pretty runner to make it 55-52 Cal with 22.5 seconds to go. Up in a tight press, Jelks took a charge from Greif as she came in for the inbounds pass, giving the Trojans the ball underneath their own basket. USC tried for scores in the paint to no avail, and Cal came up with a defensive board that was converted into a last-second Greif layup to get the Bears a 57-52 win.
USC continues its run up against ranked teams when the Trojans host No. 2 Stanford at 2 p.m on Sunday (Jan. 6) at the Galen Center. The Cardinal will be the third straight ranked opponent for the Trojans.
#10 California 57, USC 52
USC 23 - 29 -- 52
CAL 27 - 30 -- 57