USC Nearly Shocks No. 11 Xavier in 81-71 Overtime Loss
Nov. 13, 2009
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team gave No. 11 Xavier all they could handle in head coach Michael Cooper's debut for the Women of Troy today, but the Trojans fell 81-71 in overtime at the Galen Center before 450 fans.
The Women of Troy outscored the Musketeers, 35-27, in the second half to overcome an 8-point deficit at the break and force an overtime period. Xavier came back to score on their first four possessions in the extra time to jump on top 72-64 and never looked back. The Trojans struggled to find their rhythm and were outscored 17-7 in the overtime period.
The Trojans were led by sophomore guard Ashley Corral's career-high 25 points, including 20 points in the second half.
'Ashley did a tremendous job of picking and choosing when to score,' Cooper said after the game Friday.
The Women of Troy struggled out of the gate with three turnovers in their first three possessions. Xavier relied on their dominant post play early. The Musketeers scored 20 points in the paint compared to eight for the Trojans in the first half. USC sophomore guard Briana Gilbreath scored a-team-high nine points at the halfway mark. Gilbreath finished the game with 19 total points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Women of Troy finished the first half trailing 37-29.
USC closed the gap to within a point on Gilbreath's back-to-back scores and Corral's three-pointer with 17:30 remaining in the second half. The Women of Troy took the lead 60-58 on senior guard Heather Oliver's runner down the lane at 5:45. Corral added a pair of free throws to extend the lead 62-58. After Xavier's April Phillips connected on one of two free-throw attempts, Tyeasha Moss hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 62 with 2:23 remaining. USC turned the ball over on consecutive plays down the stretch and then Xavier's Amber Harris hit a jumper to give the Musketeer's a 64-62 lead with 1:16 left in the game. Corral then came up with a big steal near midcourt and a game-tying layup with 30 seconds left. Xavier missed a contested layup as time expired.
Xavier's Ta'Shia Phillips and Tyeasha Moss accounted for 10 of the Musketeers 17 overtime points. Women of Troy senior forward Aarika Hughes scored two of her career best 14 points with 1:03 remaining in the period cutting the USC deficit to 76-68. Corral added a 3-point basket at :33, but the Musketeers proved to be too much as they went on to take it with an 81-71 victory.
'I am very pleased with our team, but I told them that this is our last moral victory. From now on, we have to close out these games,' said Cooper. 'We don't have that far to go. We have a lot of confidence heading into our next game.'
The Women of Troy will host Fresno State at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 15) at the Galen Center.