USC Edged Out By Oregon State In Pac-10 Quarterfinals, 69-68

March 2, 2002

AP Sports Writer

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Felicia Ragland scored 29 points and made twofree throws with 3.1 seconds left to send Oregon State into thesemifinals of the Pac-10 tournament with a 69-68 victory over USC on Saturday night.

The fifth-seeded Beavers (16-13) will meet top-seeded Stanford inthe second of Sunday's semifinals. Stanford is 19-0 against theconference this season and trounced Oregon State by 22 and 37 points.

USC (15-13) appeared to have the game sewn up when Ebony Hoffman wasgrabbed on a third-chance offensive rebound and got fouled with 4.3 secondsleft. She made one of two free throws for a 68-67 lead.

After a timeout, the Beavers inbounded with a long, crosscourt passtoward Ragland. As she ran underneath the ball, she was bumped by USC'sCarmen Krause. In the one-and-one situation, Ragland calmly made bothshots.

The Women of Troy had one last chance, but Jessica Cheeks' heave was longand off to the right of the rim.

Aisha Hollans led USC with 22 points, while Hoffman scored 15 of her19 points in the second half.

Hoffman also had 10 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season, and Rachel Woodward added 11 pointsfor the Trojans, who stayed in the game despite shooting under 38percent.

Juleen Smith added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Beavers.

USC trailed by six with 5:18 to play, but Hoffman brought her teamback. A short jumper tied it at 63 with four minutes left, and Cheeks'jumper that rattled in off the back of the rim put the Women of Troyahead 67-65 with 51.3 seconds to go.

Ragland's two free throws tied it again. On the next possession,Krause was forced to launch a long jumper to beat the shot clock. Cheeksrebounded and spotted Woodward alone, but her baseline jumper missedeverything. Hoffman came up with it, but she was off on her first freethrow.

Oregon State, which lost both regular-season games to USC by a totalof just six points, established itself with an early 15-2 run, but theWomen of Troy gradually fought back behind Hollans.

She and Ragland traded 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions,and Hollans scored the Trojans' next seven points to cut the lead to33-31. After two free throws by Ragland, Portia Mitchell sank a hookshot with 12.8 seconds left to make it a two-point game at halftime.

The fate of USC's season will be decided on Sunday, March 10 when NCAA and WNIT selections will be announced.

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