UCLA Falls To USC, 64-51, In Pac-10 Opener

Dec. 28, 2003

Los Angeles, Calif. - Turnovers plagued UCLA as it lost its Pac-10 opener to USC today at the Sports Arena, 64-51. The Bruins turned the ball over a season-high tying 24 times and shot just 32.1% from the field.

USC took a 31-20 halftime advantage after the Bruins were held to one field goal in the last five and a half minutes of play. Neither team handled the ball well, with the UCLA turning the ball over 13 times and USC 12 times. USC had a 25-18 rebounding advantage, including 10 offensive boards.

Whitney Jones and Lisa Willis keyed UCLA's second half comeback, scoring four and three points, respectively, during a 7-0 run that trimmed the lead to 35-29 with 12:53 to play. A Willis three-pointer at 10:30 cut the lead to 37-34, but USC answered with four straight points to take the advantage to seven, 41-34. UCLA then went on a 6-0 run to pull to within one, 41-40 after a Nikki Blue layup. USC answered right back with baskets from Ebony Hoffman and Rometra Craig to make it 45-40.

With UCLA down 50-46, Ebony Hoffman and Cheeks hit back-to-back threes within a 30 second time span to go ahead by 10, 56-46, at 3:51. UCLA got no closer than seven after that.

Blue led UCLA (4-5, 0-1 in the Pac-10) with 14 points and four assists. Jones scored 12 points on 5-7 shooting before fouling out with three minutes to play. Freshman Noelle Quinn just missed out on a double-double, adding nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds in her first game back after missing three games with an injury. Willis had six points, five steals, and five rebounds. Ebony Hoffman had a double-double for USC (4-5, 1-0) with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Jessica Cheeks added 17 points.

The Bruins will next host Ohio State on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 7 pm in Pauley Pailion.

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