Huskies Upset No. 3 USC, Advance To Pac-10 Semis
March 6, 2004
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Giuliana Mendiola is graduating and Southern California coach Chris Gobrecht couldn't be happier about it.
Mendiola had 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to help Washington defeat Southern California 67-50 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament on Saturday.
'We threw everything we had at her,' said Gobrecht, who coached at Washington for 11 years before coaching at USC for the past seven years. 'I don't know if we could have made it a whole lot tougher. She's a very good player and I'm happy she's graduating. Washington will be a much different team without her.'
Andrea Lalum added 12 points as the sixth-seeded Huskies (17-11) beat the third-seeded Women of Troy (15-13) for the eighth time in their past nine meetings. Washington won its fourth in five games overall.
'Defensively we got after it,' said Washington coach June Daugherty. 'Our kids executed the defense to a 'T' and that made the difference.'
Ebony Hoffman scored 13 points to lead USC, which lost its fourth in five games. The Women of Troy were eliminated in the quarterfinals for the third straight year, the second by the Huskies.
Mendiola, Washington's career assist leader, extended her school record with her 95th double-figure scoring effort.
'USC is a very physical team and they challenge me,' said Mendiola. 'I love challenges. They bring out the best in me.'
The Huskies won their third straight game away from home for the first time since Dec. of 2002.
Hoffman had six rebounds to become the seventh USC player with more than 1,000. She now has 1,003.
The Huskies led by as many as 17 points in the second half, but Hoffman's steal and layup ended a 15-4 surge by USC which closed the gap to 45-39 with 9:48 left to play.
The Women of Troy stayed within striking distance until Washington began pulling away in the final four minutes.
'We got a little flustered but we settled and worked pretty well,' said Lalum, who hit a key 3-pointer to help thwart the comeback.
Washington outscored the Women of Troy 20-5 during one stretch of the first half to take a 26-11 lead with 5:03 remaining.
The Huskies made 11 of their first 20 shots while USC missed 16 of its first 21 (.238), and its first four free throws.
'We missed layups, free throws and wide open jumpers,' said Gobrecht. 'We couldn't shoot.'
The Women of Troy rallied in the final four minutes of the half to close to within 31-20 by the intermission.
One of the USC cheerleaders injured her right ankle during a dance routine early in the second half, delaying the game a couple of minutes.