UA Women's Basketball Slides Past USC, 78-74

Jan. 17, 2002

Los Angeles (Jan. 17) -- Senior center LaKeisha Taylor drained a pair of free throws with five seconds left in the game to assure Arizona of its first Pac-10 road victory in more than a year when the Wildcats beat USC, 78-74, in the L.A. Sports Arena on Thursday night. Arizona went to 8-9 overall and 4-4 in Pac-10 play, while USC dropped to 9-8 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

The Women of Troy, who were without three of their starters due to injuries and suspensions, opened up a 13-4 lead on the Cats in the first six minutes of the game. Arizona fought back with a 17-7 run to take its first lead in the game, 21-20, with 5:35 left in the first. The two teams traded buckets for a while until the Wildcats ended the half with seven unanswered points to take a 36-29 lead into halftime.

USC quickly cut the lead to one (36-35) by opening the second half with six straight points, which Arizona answered with eight straight points to regain a nine-point (44-35) advantage at 16:18. The next six minutes were back-and-forth, with USC slowly whittling away at the Cats' lead, cutting it to three (54-51) with 10:39 to play.

Arizona went on a 17-4 tear to blow the lead open to 16 points (71-55) with 6:12 left. Then, with 4:24 remaining, USC began a stretch of 11 unanswered points, slicing Arizona's lead to only one point (75-74) with just 40 seconds left in the game. During that stretch, the Wildcats committed four turnovers and four fouls.

Sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb missed a shot with 25 seconds left and was fouled. She made the front end of a one-and-one, but USC rebounded the miss on her second attempt.

The Trojans were unable to convert a layup at the other end, and LaKeisha Taylor was fouled on the rebound. She went to the line for the Cats, who were up by only two (76-74) and coolly converted both her free throws to give Arizona the four-point lead and the victory. A USC trey attempt at the buzzer didn't go, and the Cats came away with their first Pac-10 road win since Jan. 6, 2001.

Taylor finished the game in a tie with Aimee Grzyb for the team scoring lead, each knocking down 15 points, and she grabbed eight boards. Elizabeth Pickney collected 14 points and 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season, and sophomore guard Candice Allen came off the bench for 12 points, five rebounds and five steals. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler conributed 10 points as five Wildcats reached double figures in scoring.

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