USC Comes Up Short of No. 23 UCLA In Pac-10 Semis
March 13, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team had its six-game winning streak snapped in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals in a tense 59-53 loss to No. 23-ranked and No. 2 seed UCLA. The third-seeded Trojans made a late push to come back, but came up short in the semifinal clash at the Galen Center on Saturday night. USC goes to 19-12 overall with the loss, holding hopes of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid when the bracket is announced on Monday. UCLA improves to 24-7 overall and moves into the Pac-10 Tournament championship game tomorrow against Stanford at 3 p.m.
Up against the shot clock on numerous possessions, USC popped 16 tries from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting just three of those - including a buzzer-beater from Heather Oliver to close the half with USC behind 30-24. The Bruins shot at a 46-percent clip in the first half, while the Trojans' offensive struggles had USC at 28 percent from the floor at halftime. UCLA also was up on the boards 23-16 on the way into the second half of action. USC was able to eat into the lead and actually got ahead by two with 4:25 to go, but UCLA ended the game on a scoring run to pass up the Trojans and get the win. USC improved its shooting to 31.7 percent in the game, as UCLA finished at 42.6 percent. The Bruins had three players finish in double figures with Darxia Morris' game-high 16 points, 15 from Markel Walker and 10 from Jasmine Dixon. USC was led by Ashley Corral - who hit five 3-pointers in the game - and got 12 from Aarika Hughes.
It was slow going on the offensive end for the Women of Troy as they got out of the gates shooting 18 percent from the floor in the first 14 minutes of action, while the Bruins hit 47 percent and built a 20-11 lead. Over four minutes of scoring silence by the Trojans slumped USC behind by 12 until Aarika Hughes broke through with a score at 4:50 and then followed a Bruin bucket with a three-point play to make it 25-16 UCLA with four minutes remaining in the half. UCLA got up by 12 again with 2:27 on the clock, but the Trojans made it a 8-2 run to close the half, capping it off with a clutch baseline 3-pointer from Heather Oliver to close the gap to 30-24 UCLA just before the buzzer sounded.
Hughes jumped into double figures in draining a 3-pointer at 16:20 to lock the game up 34-34. Her steal a minute earlier set up a score from Briana Gilbreath to pull the Trojans to within one. UCLA pulled back ahead by five thanks in part to USC fouls that put the Bruins in the bonus at the 12:07 mark. The Trojans locked in to tie again on another Corral three at 9:55 to make it 41-41. The Bruins managed more points in the paint to work ahead again, but Corral knocked down her fifth 3-pointer at 7:30 to make it a one-point game with USC down 47-46. Kari LaPlante got USC its first lead since the 17:30 mark of the first half when she hit both her free throws, making it 50-49 USC with 5:51 on the clock. Oliver would deliver a huge three for the Trojans at 4:25, and USC was up 53-51. UCLA had a series of trips to the line next, but only hit two of seven tries, tying it 53-53 with 2:31 to go. The Bruins got a bucket to go from Markel Walker to take a 55-53 lead with 1:36 remaining, and a USC had the ball in UCLA hands with 53 seconds left. The Bruins were off on their first shot attempt, but hauled in the rebound for a new look, and Doreena Campbell went to the line with 19.1 ticks to go. She hit both, and UCLA was up 57-53 as USC set up for its answering possession. Corral's look from 3-point range was just off the mark, and UCLA got the rebound and called timeout with 6 seconds left. Campell got one last trip to the line in the final seconds and hit both again to leave the game as a 59-53 UCLA victory.