Bears Fall To USC In Final Home Game, 91-74

March 3, 2001

BERKELEY, Calif. - USC built a strong first half lead to carry the Trojans on their way to a 91-74 victory over California Saturday afternoon inside Haas Pavilion. Senior guard Courtney Johnson led the Bears, who were playing in their final home game of the 2000-01 season, with 22 points and three steals.

'I thought USC really came out and played well,' said California head coach Caren Horstmeyer. 'USC's defense really flustered us. I credit them for being well prepared. They've been having an up and down year and right now they're on an up.'

Strong shooting by the Trojans led to a 56 percent showing from the floor including a 60 percent effort in the second half. Those numbers were too much for California (12-14 overall, 8-8 in the Pac-10) to overcome, as the Bears were able to shoot only 39 percent over the course of the afternoon.

California opened the game strong, rolling up a four point lead just a minute into the contest, but USC (11-15 overall, 6-10 in the Pac-10) didn't let that become discouraging. The Trojans tied the game with 15:29 remaining in the first half and never looked back, aided by a 5-0 run that ended with a nine point, 28-19, USC lead with 5:53 left on the clock. A steal and resulting three pointer by freshman guard Jessica Cheeks with six seconds remaining in the half sealed the deal, handing the Trojans a 40-25 lead going into recess.

'We started the game very well,' said Johnson. 'We scored our first couple of buckets and got out running and playing great defense. I think our defense just broke down in the last 10 minutes of the first half and the beginning of the second half, and I think that's what hurt us.'

Junior center Ami Forney recorded her sixth double-double of the season for the Bears with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Lauren Ashbaugh finished with 13 points.

'We have come a long way,' said Horstmeyer. 'We were down 32 and were able to cut it down to 17. No, we shouldn't have gotten down by that many, but we could have lost by 40 at the rate things were going. This was not a team that could have cut this game down to 17 a year ago, nor was this a team that would have done that at the beginning of the year. I think, even though it wasn't a win, you can see the progress and the pride this team has it what they do out there.'

Freshman guard Aisha Hollans was the only Trojan in double-figures, recording 28 points and eight rebounds while leading USC to victory.

California travels to the Arizona schools next week, with its first game on Thursday, March 8th, at Arizona State at 6:00 p.m.

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