Cougars Can't Maintain Lead, Fall 62-56 To USC

Dec. 31, 2006

Box Score

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Freshman Marisa Stotler paced Washington State with 16 points, but the USC Trojans overcame WSU's second half lead and posted a 62-56 win Sunday afternoon in a Pacific-10 Conference game at Friel Court.

Chloe Kerr paced the Trojans with 19 points, while Eshaya Murphy contributed 16 points and Jamie Hagiya added 11 for USC (7-7 overall, 1-3 in Pac-10 play) as the Trojans picked up their first conference win in four games.

Amanda DuRocher and Nakejia Kelly each scored nine points for WSU (5-9, 1-3), with seven of Kelly's points coming in the first half. The Cougars held a slim 31-30 rebounding edge, with Ebonee Coates collaring seven boards and Kate Benz five.

WSU held a 44-42 lead with 13:16 to play, thanks to Katie Appleton's three free throws. The Trojans then tied the game at 44 on Kerr's lay-in, the start of a 20-12 run over the final 13 minutes.

Benz whipped out USC's 34-33 halftime lead with a lay-in a minute into the second half and for the next eight minutes the teams traded leads. WSU's biggest lead came with 16:47 to play when Stotler hit a short jumper that put WSU on top 41-37 with just under 17 minutes to play.

After the Trojans regained the lead 42-41 on Murphy's three-point bucket and a jumper by Nadia Parker, WSU forged ahead again, with Appleton knocking down three free-throws after being fouled on a shot outside the three-point arc.

The Trojans took the lead for good on a free throw by Hagiya and eventually went ahead 50-44 before the Cougars scored again on a three-pointer by Colleen Betteridge with six minutes to play.

WSU stayed within striking distance of USC until the final two minutes. DuRocher's three-point bucket with 2:15 to play pulled the Cougars to within three points, 55-52, but USC answered with four straight points, a bucket by Kerr and two free throws from Murphy.

WSU returns to action Thursday at Arizona State, then continues Pac-10 play at Arizona Saturday.

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