Women's Basketball Drops Season Opener In Final Seconds

Nov. 21, 2003

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - In a game that came down to the final seconds, the USC women's basketball team suffered a 77-75 season-opening loss to New Mexico in front of a crowd of 11,816 at 'The Pit' on Friday night. The Women of Troy had final possession, but missed a three-point shot attempt for the win.

The game was played almost entirely at the free throw line and the Lobos' edge at the charity stripe proved to be the difference. USC shot 48 percent from the line, while New Mexico shot 77 percent, including a perfect 14-for-14 first-half effort.

The game included a total of 61 fouls. The Trojans' 33 personal fouls mark the second-most in program history and equal the total collected by the Women of Troy at Colorado last season. New Mexico's 43 free throw attempts and 33 free throws made rank second and fourth among USC's all-time opponent game records.

The Trojans trailed 34-25 at halftime, but managed to make it a game in the second half thanks to much-improved shooting from the field. USC shot a dismal 30 percent (11-37) in the first half and improved to 43 percent (18-42) in the second half.

The Lobos extended their lead to as much as nine points, 40-31, at the start of the second half, then watched as the Women of Troy chipped away at the lead. USC held New Mexico without a field goal and used a 10-to-1 scoring run to knot the score at 41-41 at 13:28.

The Trojans even took a 65-59 lead at the 6-minute mark, only to watch the Lobos come back and knot the score at 67-67.

In the final two minutes of play, Hoffman's three-pointer from 20 feet out and Kerr's hook shot down the stretch were not enough to counter the Lobos' efforts at the line. New Mexico hit four free throws and a jumper in the final minutes to go ahead 77-75. USC had possession of the ball with 19 seconds remaining, but missed a three-point attempt for the win.

Senior Ebony Hoffman led the Women of Troy with 19 points and sophomore Meghan Gnekow led with 10 rebounds. Senior Rometra Craig and freshman Chlo� Kerr both finished in double figures, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Women of Troy's next outing will be at the Junkanoo Jam Grand Bahama Tournament, where they will face Seton Hall in the opening round on Nov. 28.

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