USC Women Beat Cats, 71-64

Feb. 16, 2002

TUCSON, Ariz. - After taking a a 21-point lead into halftime, the USC women's basketball had to withstand a last-minute Arizona run to defeat the Wildcats, 71-64, in Tucson on Saturday. The Women of Troy improve to 14-11 overall and 10-6 in the Pac-10, while Arizona falls to 13-13 overall and 9-8 in conference play.

The Women of Troy jumped on the Cats right away, going up by an 11-2 spread in the first four minutes of the game. Arizona came to within five several times over the next four minutes, but USC went on a 12-1 run to gain a 16-point (29-13) advantage at 7:39. USC out-scored the Cats, 15-6, for the remainder of the period and entered the break with a 44-23 lead.

The Wildcats came out with intensity in the second half and opened the period with nine unanswered points but only managed to come within 12 (44-32), in the first seven minutes despite holding the Trojans scoreless. Rachel Woodward ended the USC drought with a layup at 12:48. Arizona couldn't seem to get any closer, and eventually USC fought back out to a 19-point (63-44) lead with 5:02 left in the game.

That was when the Cats went on a 20-3 run of their own over the next four-and-a-half minutes. That spurt was highlighted by three 3-pointers in a 20-second span thanks to three consecutive USC turnovers. Down only 66-64 with 36 seconds left in the game, Arizona was unable to get any other shots to drop after that. The Cats' strategy to foul and stop the clock was unsuccessful, as USC went 5-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win.

'This was a tale of two halves. The first half, USC really chomped on us, we retreated, we weren't aggressive, and we didn't rebound,' said head coach Joan Bonvicini. 'In the second half, we put pressure on them, made tough decisions, and I am proud of how we were aggressive and came back.'

USC sophomore guard Aisha Hollans had 19 points and six rebounds, andfreshman forward Rachel Woodward added 17 points and seven rebounds.Senior guard Tiffany Elmore shot 5-for-7 from the floor on her way to 10 points, and sophomore forward Ebony Hoffman pulled down a game-high 10rebounds.

The Women of Troy return home to host Stanford and Cal on Friday (Feb. 22) and Saturday (Feb. 24).

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