USC Stages Powerful Comeback for 77-68 Win At Arizona

Jan. 18, 2007

Box Score

TUCSON, ARIZ. -- The USC women's basketball team posted its biggest turnaround game of the season behind a 30-point night from Shay Murphy, pulling out of an eight-point halftime deficit to tack up the Trojans' fifth straight win with a 77-68 victory over Arizona on Thursday night in Tucson. USC poured in 51 points in the second half, with Murphy scoring just under half those points en route to the senior guard's second career 30-point effort, 43rd straight game in double figures and seventh double-double of the season. USC improves to 11-7 overall and 5-3 in Pac-10 play, while Arizona slips to 7-13, 1-7. The win also secures head coach Mark Trakh's 50th victory at USC, pushing his record at Troy to 50-30. Murphy was joined in double figures by fellow seniors Jamie Hagiya (14) and Chloe Kerr (11).

Arizona opened the game strong on the boards, while USC struggled to find a scoring rhythm. USC senior point guard Jamie Hagiya delivered the majority of USC's scoring with 10 first-half points, but until USC made a commitment to hit the boards and Murphy stepped in to push through an early scoring slump, the Trojans seemed forced to play catch-up with the Wildcats. The Trojans fell behind 15-7 before making a 14-2 run to take back a lead long since lost in the first half. The Wildcats were able to fight back, however, tying it back up and then taking back the lead during the final five minutes of the half. USC had tightened up its rebounding to make their run, outrebounding Arizona 13-7 in the last 10 minutes of the half, but the Wildcats still held a 21-19 edge at the half to go along with their 34-26 lead. USC grabbed a second-half lead, but lost it, and the teams were even at 64-64 entering the final five minutes of action, where Murphy took control and sparked the Trojans to victory with a 3-pointer at 2:24 and then followed up a Chloe Kerr bucket with a 7-of-8 free-throw effort in the final two minutes following to help USC to victory.

USC's shooting percentage dropped to .167 approaching the 10-minute mark of the first half, as the Trojans were stuck in a 15-7 hole until Jamie Hagiya drained her second 3-pointer of the night -- standing as USC's only player to score from the floor to that point -- to make it 15-10 Arizona at 10:28. She Scored her 10th point of the night with a jumper in the paint, but Arizona followed with a bucket to hold that five-point edge. Shay Murphy grabbed USC's second offensive rebound of the night and finished the putback, then drilling a 3-pointer to tie up the game 17-17 at 7:54. Murphy then grabbed a steal, and Allison Jaskowiak finished off the fast break with a layup to get USC to its first lead since 16:51. That 12-2 scoring run by the Trojans lifted them ahead 19-17 at 7:08. Chloe Kerr -- carrying two fouls -- came back in the game and pumped in a layup to make it a 14-2 run by the Trojans before Arizona got a score to make it 21-19 USC. USC outrebounded Arizona 6-1 in a four-minute span, but the Wildcats grabbed back the lead 23-21 after a series of USC turnovers and used Trojan foul trouble to its advantage as Amina Njonkou scored the last six points including a buzzer-beating jumper for a 34-26 Arizona halftime lead.

USC fell into an 11-point hole at 16:00 after a 3-poiny play by Jessica Arnold. With both teams banging away at each other down low, trading offensive and defensive fouls, Murphy sank a pair of free throws to get herself into double figures for the 43rd straight game and make the score 42-33 Arizona at 14:55. But Arizona was awarded another trip to the line, going back up 44-33. Aarika Hughes hit a three and then Murphy sank two more free throws to make it a 6-point game at 15:00. A technical foul by UA's Maila O'Neal put Murphy back on the line made it 44-40 at 14:21, as USC got the ball back underneath. Hughes slipped in a putback to get the score to 44-42. But Hollingsworth hit a three for the Wildcats to pad back their lead. That's when Chloe Kerr stepped in, putting in a score from the paint and then converting a three-point play to lock the game up 47-47 at 12:15.

USC finally passed up Arizona on the boards, catching a 27-26 edge with 12 minutes remaining, and although Arizona worked ahead 51-47 on the scoreboard, Hagiya knocked down a three and then Murphy grabbed her own rebound and converted a three-point play to give USC its first lead since 5:52 in the first half. That scoring run extended to 10-0 with buckets from Jamie Funn and Kerr, pushing USC ahead 57-51 at 9:30. Njonkou stopped the run with a score in the paint, and then Arizona delivered five straight points capped by a three from Holilngsworth to steal back the lead at 58-57 with 8:11 on the clock. Hagiya then picked off a Wildcat pass and was fouled on her layup attempt, making one free throw before Ashley Whisonant hit a pair to tie it back up again. The teams were locked up 62-62 entering the final five minutes of play. A 3-pointer from Murphy answered an Arizona score and put USC up 65-64 at 4:23. Murphy stuffed a Wildcat shot attempt with just 4 seconds on the shot clock, then nailed a 3-pointer at 2:15 to get USC ahead 68-64. After Kerr scored in the paint to join Murphy and Hagiya in double figures and push USC to a six-point advantage, Murphy secured her seventh double-double with a defensive board with 1:32 on the clock. She ran her point total up to 25 points with two more free throws. Arizona managed a pair of scores in the final minute around another free throw from Murphy to make it 73-68 with 30 seconds remaining. Sent to the line for four more in the last 30 seconds, Murphy made official her second career 30-point game as USC worked ahead 77-68.

USC now faces Arizona State at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 21). Sunday's ASU game is scheduled to be televised on FSN.

USC 77, Arizona 68
USC 26 - 51 -- 77
ARIZ 34 - 34 -- 68

GAME NOTES:• Shay Murphy scored in double figures for the 43rd straight game.
• Jamie Hagiya scored in double figures for the fifth straight game.
• Head coach Mark Trakh reached his 50th win at USC.
• Shay Murphy recorded her second career 30-point game, and her seventh double-double of the season (30 points, 10 rebounds).
• 51 points is the most scored in a half by USC this season.

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