USC Women Push Past ASU 62-52
March 6, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team won its fifth straight game and clinched the No. 3 seed into the coming Pac-10 Tournament with a 62-52 comeback win over Arizona State. The Trojans trailed the Sun Devils by seven at halftime, but fought back and held ASU to just 19 second-half points. Meanwhile, USC poured in 36 points in the second half to pass up the Sun Devils and pocket the win in the Pac-10 regular-season closer. USC improves to 18-11 overall - breaking the 17-win barrier for the first time since 2005-06 - and finished the regular season with a 12-6 Pac-10 record - it best Pac-10 record since 2004-05. Arizona State goes to 17-12, 9-9.
ASU's focus on high-percentage shots in the first half had the Sun Devils shooting at a 48-percent clip to lead USC's 30-percent effort by halftime, as the Trojans trailed 33-26. ASU had tallied 24 points in the paint, although USC had hit four 3-pointers by halftime. What hurt USC in the first half was a run of penetration points by the Sun Devils late in the half, erasing a slim USC lead to leave the Trojans in a seven-point hole at the halftime buzzer. USC improved on its shooting in the second half and clamped down on defense, forcing a total of 23 turnovers by the Sun Devils in the game. After closing in, USC trailed by one with 5 minutes to go, then went on a 7-0 run to take the lead and stay out of reach of ASU down the stretch. The Trojans finished out the game shooting 34.6 percent while ASU shot 39.6. The teams were locked up 34-34 on the boards. Ashley Corral's game-high 20 points led all scorers, with ASUs Danielle Orsillo and Kimberly Brandon getting to doubles figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
ASU was getting things done in the paint early and built up a 10-2 lead on the Trojans. A three and a putback from Christina Marinacci helped USC cut the deficit to four at 14:10. At 9:15, the freshman would nail another three - her first game with more than one 3-pointer - and USC was within three of the Sun Devils. Ashley Corral took care of that gap, hitting a three of her own at 8:30, and the teams were back even at 16-16. Kari LaPlante would hit the back end of her trip to the line at 7:14, and USC snagged its first lead of the game up 17-16. ASU would get back ahead down the stretch, however, and finished the half on a 6-0 run in the final 45 seconds to lead 33-26 at halftime.
Corral dropped two long threes for the Trojans to open the half, cutting the ASU lead to 33-32 after a minute and a half of play. The teams would cross the 10-minute mark of the half with ASU ahead by four, but USC pulled back to tie it 43-43 at 9:15 with free throws from Briana Gilbreath and a bucket from Hailey Dunham. A take and wraparound layin from Corral boosted USC to its largest lead of the game to that point, up 45-43 with 7:55 on the clock. USC missed some chances down low next, while ASU evened it again at 45-45 with 5:15 to go before Becca Tobin went to the line and hit one to get ASU up 46-45 with 5:00 on the clock. A score from Hughes bumped the Trojans ahead 47-46 at 4:40, and then Heather Oliver went to the line with USC in double bonus at 4:29. The first rattled in and out of the hoop, but the second was good, and USC was up 48-46. Dunham free throws and a steal and layup from Jacki Gemelos lifted the Trojans up 52-46 with 2:42 to go. Tobin went to the line for ASU at 1:49 and hit both, but Hughes hit a baseline jumper next to make it 54-48. The teams traded successful trips to the line after that, with Tenaya Watson hitting two for ASU and Corral nailing a pair at 1:02 to keep USC ahead by six entering the final minute. Corral would get sent to the line twice more in the last minute of action, sinking all four shots to put USC ahead 60-50 with 27 seconds remaining. ASU got to the line one last time for two points from Danielle Orsillo, but USC hurled a long pass for a Hughes score immediately after, and USC had a 62-52 win in hand.
USC now turns to start up Pac-10 Tournament competition, earning a first-round bye and facing Oregon in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. on Friday (March 12).