USC Women Rally On the Road, Top Washington 69-65

Jan. 21, 2010

Box Score

SEATTLE, WASH. - The USC women's basketball team staged another comeback win in a road rally that took the Trojans to a 69-65 win over host Washington on Thursday afternoon in Seattle. After a hot Husky first half, USC picked up the pace for the second thanks in part to 14 points in under five minutes by Ashley Corral. USC trailed by nine in the second half before making its move toward a key Pac-10 road victory. USC improves to 11-6 overall and 5-1 in Pac-10 play with tonight's win, while Washington goes to 8-9, 3-4.

The hot-shooting Huskies had the Trojans down by 11 late in the first half before a late run by USC cut Washington's lead to three by halftime. The Huskies shot 47 percent in the half and was well ahead of USC on the boards 23-13 while the Trojans shot 39 percent in the half. Rebounding continued to be an issue for the Trojans, but they got warmer from the field in the second, going 54 percent in the half to round out the game ahead of Washington, 46 percent to 44 percent.

After just three first-half points, Ashley Corral ripped ahead to lead USC with 22 points in the game. Three other Women of Troy hit double figures, with Briana Gilbreath and Kari LaPlante getting 13 each and Aarika Hughes had 10. Washington got a game-high 22 points from Sami Whitcomb and 19 from Kristi Kingma, who combined for six of the Huskies' seven threes in the game. The Trojans, meanwhile, nailed 11 threes in the game - including five from Corral and three from Hughes.

USC took its first lead of the game after five minutes of play on a bucket from Heather Oliver, but Washington would continue to hang around and got back into the lead thanks to a string of scores from Sami Whitcomb. Sarah Morton knocked down the Huskies' third straight three after a pair of Oliver free throws, and Whitcomb delivered a jumper to carry Washington to a six-point lead at 7:45, up 28-22 on the Trojans. The Huskies were up to 52 percent shooting from the floor at that point, ahead of USC's 44 percent. Washington went up by 11 thanks to a 13-2 Husky run as USC went cold from the floor for almost five minutes. Hailey Dunham broke the Trojan scoring silence with a jumper at 4:25 to make it 33-24 Washington. The Huskies were still going at a 52-percent clip at that mark, and were outrebounding the Trojans 21-11. The deep deficit seemed to wake up the Women of Troy for the final stretch, however, as USC pieced together an 8-0 run to close out the half and cut the Washington lead to 33-30 for halftime. Dunham's jumper was followed by back-to-back threes by USC - first from Daniela Roark and then Aarika Hughes' third of the half to generate some momentum for USC to use for the next half of play.

It was the Huskies that would get out of the gates hot, however, as Washington got back to 50 percent from the floor and went ahead 38-30 with early buckets. After another Roark three, Washington's Whitcomb stayed perfect from 3-point range with her fourth to keep the Huskies up by eight points four minutes into the half. Finally USC manufactured some pressure to close in on Washington. Tough play from Kari LaPlante and a three-point play from Briana Gilbreath pulled the Trojans to within one. After a sloppy stretch of play on both ends, LaPlante locked it up by finishing off a pass low from Gilbreath, making it 51-51 with 7:30 on the clock. Washington missed a pair of free-throw tries at 7:11, and USC answered the call. Corral wrapped back-to-back threes around a steal by Gilbreath, getting the Trojans into its first lead since the 12:25 mark of the first half. Nicely heated up by that point, Corral tore off a third consecutive three, then added a fadeaway jumper after two Whitcomb free throws ended a 13-0 USC run. Corral's 11th straight points took USC ahead 62-53 at 3:35. Washington got its first field goal since 11:05 to fall with a three from Kristi Kingma at 3:05, but Gilbreath took a quick pass from Corral next. Corral and Kingma traded threes before the final minute came up with USC leading 68-61. Corral struggled from the free-throw line on a pair of trips as Washington closed to within three at 68-65 with 23 seconds to go. Gilbreath would knock down one with 19 ticks on the clock to get USC up 69-65, and last-ditch tries by the Huskies were off the mark as USC emerged victorious.

USC now heads to Pullman, Wash., for a 2 p.m. game against Washington State on Saturday (Jan. 23).

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