Women's Basketball Downs USC, 63-61, In Pac-10 Opener
Dec. 27, 2002
CORVALLIS, Ore. - University of Southern California's women's basketball team had three shots fall astray in the final 10 seconds, as Oregon State recorded a 63-61 victory in the Pacific-10 Conference opener for both squads.
In what has become one of the biggest rivalries in the conference, the last four meetings between USC and OSU have been decided by a combined nine points.
With the win, Oregon State improves to 7-3 on the season and 1-0 in the Pac-10 while USC falls to 5-6 overall and 0-1 in conference action. The Beavers improved their record to 6-0 in Gill Coliseum on the season - their best home-start since the 1983-84 campaign.
The win also marked career victory No. 200 for Beaver head coach Judy Spoelstra.
'This is a huge emotional win for us,' said Spoelstra. 'Games against USC have historically been a game of runs.'
The game swayed back and forth over the final five minutes of action. The Women of Troy used a 5-0 run to take a 54-52 lead with 3:23 on the clock, but sophomore Juleen Smith, seeing her first action in five games, came off the bench to score four quick points and give the Beavers the advantage with 2:28 left.
After exchanging baskets for the next minute-and-a-half, USC junior Ebony Hoffman buried a runner in the lane and converted a free throw to put the Women of Troy in front, 61-60 with just 55-seconds remaining.
Beaver guard Leilani Estavan answered on the next possession with a 3-footer off the glass for what proved to be the game-winner. Brina Chaney added a free throw with 23 seconds remaining to give OSU a two-point cushion.
Jessica Cheeks, who hit the game-winner against Oregon State last year in Corvallis, came up short on her jumper attempt and put-backs by Rometra Craig and Tiffany Hicks fell wide as the Beavers picked up their first victory in a Pac-10 opener since 1995-96.
Junior post Hollye Chapman led the Beavers in scoring for the third straight game with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Estavan added 12 points, four steals, and five assists, while Chaney recorded her fifth career double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
Three Southern California players reached double figures in scoring led by Aisha Hollans' 20 points.
'It took us a while to get going,' said Spoelstra. 'But then we did well. We wanted to stay close and try to get it even by halftime.'
Jessica Jones' driving lay-up gave Oregon State a 33-32 halftime lead.
The Beavers return to action on Sunday when they host UCLA. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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