USC Women Take A 59-53 Loss To NC State
Dec. 30, 2009
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team could not recover from a remarkably slow first half in the Trojans' final nonconference game of the year, falling 59-53 to visiting North Carolina State at the Galen Center on Wednesday night. In a messy game at both ends, the teams each committed 22 turnovers apiece, and although USC was able to cut a 16-point deficit down to one with 3 minutes to go, the Wolfpack stayed ahead to take home the win. USC moves to 6-5 overall with the loss, while NC State improves to 9-5. USC now turns to open Pac-10 play with a trip to Arizona, facing No. 17 Arizona State on Friday (Jan. 1) in Tempe.
In today's nonconference closer, USC struggled across the board in the first half, compiling a season-low 19 points by halftime on just 21.9 percent shooting and committing 14 turnovers as NC State forced its way ahead 33-19 at the half. The Trojans would heat up in the second, but were unable to pass up the Wolfpack down the stretch. NC State finished with three players in double figures, including a game-high 17 points from Amber White. USC was led by 16 points from Briana Gilbreath, and got a career-high 10 points from Daniela Roark. The Wolfpack finished ahead of the Trojans on the boards 42-40, while the teams were locked with 22 turnovers and nine assists apiece, USC shot 32.3 percent in the game, and NC State shot 39.3 percent.
The Trojans scored first but succumbed to a turnover-plagued stretch in which the Wolfpack went on an 11-0 run to move into the lead. The Trojans closed to within four with a push from Christina Marinacci, but shooting woes continued for USC as NC State took a 22-12 lead on a three from Marissa Kastanek at 7:10. USC was shooting just 23 percent at that point, trailing a 44-percent effort from the Wolfpack. NC State joined USC with double-digit turnovers at 6:30, but USC was unable to convert at the other end. After the Wolfpack put USC in a 24-12 hole, Daniela Roark drained USC's first threes of the night to make it 26-18 NC State with 3:50 to go in the half. Only a single free throw would fall for the Trojans down the stretch, however, while the Wolfpack pinned up seven more points to close out the half with a 33-19 lead, leaving the Trojans with their lowest first-half scoring outing of the season.
NC State would climb ahead by 16 as the turnover count climbed. The Trojans finally cut it to single digits thanks in part to 10 points in the first five minutes from Briana Gilbreath, another set of scores from Marinacci, and a bucket off the steal from Ashley Corral to make it 47-38 NC State at the 10-minute mark. Down 10 with six minutes remaining, Aarika Hughes scored her first points of the night and Heather Oliver knocked down her first three to cut the score to a 54-49 Wolfpack lead at 4:47. Dunham slipped in a score off the glass next, and the Trojans were within three at 4:05, down 54-51. The Trojan defense forced a shot clock violation by NC State, and then Roark rolled her way to a new career high with her first day in double figures on a take to the hole that cut things to one. NC State got one to go and put in the and-one to stop the 9-0 USC scoring run and make it 57-53 Wolfpack at 1:52. Gilbreath went to the line at 1:25, but missed the front end of her one-and-one opportunity and NC State grabbed the board. The shot clock expired again on NC State's next series, giving USC the ball down four with 53 seconds to go. After a USC miss at 34 seconds, the Wolfpack called timeout, and Sharnise Beal would go to the line next for NC State with 29 ticks to go. She missed, but the Wolfpack got the rebound, and Amber White converted both her throws with 23.9 on the clock to make it 59-53 NC State. That's how things would end up, as USC was unable to knock down a score in the remaining time, leaving the Wolfpack with the win to wrap up nonconference play for the Women of Troy.
USC kicks off the new year with a Pac-10 trip to Arizona. The Trojans will face No. 17 Arizona State at 2 p. m. MT on Friday (Jan. 1) in Tempe, before going to Tucson to play Arizona in another 2 p.m. MT game on Sunday (Jan. 3).