USC Holds Off UCLA, 72-68
Feb. 8, 2003
LOS ANGELES - Despite a 28-point effort from senior guard Michelle Greco, the UCLA women's basketball team lost a close game to rival USC, 72-68, on Saturday in front of 4,354 at the Sports Arena.
With 21 points and 20 rebounds, Ebony Hoffman became the first player since Lisa Leslie to reach a 20-point, 20-rebound double-double at USC.
The 4,354 fans in attendance marked USC's largest crowd since 1986 and the 16th-largest crowd ever.
USC had only nine players suited for the game, but it did not matter as the Women of Troy outrebounded the Bruins, 46-to-36. USC (11-12, 6-6 Pac-10) shot 50.0 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range, while UCLA (12-9, 7-5 Pac-10) posted a 40.0 field goal percentage and 33.3 percent effort beyond the arch.
UCLA opened the contest with a 10-2 run and forced turnovers on USC's first three possessions. However, the Trojans climbed back into the game and knotted the score 22-22 with 6:25 remaining.
Thanks to the efforts of freshman Meghan Gnekow, who scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half, USC embarked on an 11-4 run to enter halftime ahead 33-26.
The Bruins returned from the break and used a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at 33-33 in the first three minutes of the second half. It was a back-and-forth battle as USC and UCLA alternated with the lead until the six-minute mark. The Women of Troy outscored the Bruins 10-2 over the next three minutes to take a seven-point lead with 3:11 left on the clock.
UCLA managed to come within two points twice in the remaining minutes, but this time was unable to catch up. Thanks to two final free throws by junior Tiffany Hicks, USC sealed the 72-68 victory.
In addition to 28 points, Greco also added nine rebounds. Freshman Lisa Willis contributed a career-high 18 points, including four three-point shots.
The victory gives the Women of Troy five of the 10 points awarded in women's basketball for the 2002-03 Lexus Gauntlet.