USC falls to Utah Valley University

Dec. 5, 2008

Laie, HI--USC took a 66-64 loss to Utah Valley University Wolverines in the Hukilau Invitational at BYU Hawaii on Saturday (Dec. 5). The loss puts USC at 4-2 on the season and helped Utah Valley move to 3-4.

The Women of Troy started the game out slow, getting their first basket of the game, a layup from senior center Nadia Parker at the 18:23 mark to put the score at 2-1. The Wolverines responded with a five-point run over a two minute span to grow their lead to four, 6-2. Two foul shots by sophomore center Kari LaPlante, a strong defensive rebound by senior guard Brynn Cameron and a layup on the other end by LaPlante tied the game 6-6 with 15:44 left in the half. The Women of Troy's lead grew to four with a layup by freshman guard Ashley Corral at the 14:08 mark. The Wolverines came back with a layup of their own by senior center Robin Fairbanks at 12:36. USC and Utah Valley traded baskets for the next three minutes. With 9:18 left to go in the half a three-pointer by sophomore guard Kayla Burningham put the Wolverines up 17-15. That basket started a run for the Wolverines and in the next two minutes they outscored the Women of Troy 12 to 2, to bring the score to 26-17. USC cut back into the lead beginning with a free throw from Parker at 6:37. Parker then went to work on the defensive end, coming up with a steal and then running the floor to get a layup, making the score 22-26 with 6:09 to go in the half. A layup from freshman guard Briana Gilbreath at 5:37 cut the lead to two, 24-26. The Wolverines would not go down however, and they responded with a run of their own to end the half, building their lead up to seven with 1:44 left in the half. The Women of Troy scored only 6 points in the last four minutes of the half, two of those coming from junior forward Aarika Hughes who tipped one in at the buzzer to cut the lead to five, 35-30 going into the halftime break.In the first half the Women of Troy were led by LaPlante who had eight points and five rebounds. The Wolverines were led by Fairbanks and junior guard Asumi Nakayama who both had nine points. At the half USC was only shooting 34.3% from the field, whereas Utah Valley shot 51.9%.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Women of Troy opened up scoring with two free throws by Parker, to cut Utah Valley's lead to four, 35-31. For the next four minutes, until the 15:50 mark, the Women of Troy and the Wolverines went back and forth, with the Wolverines increasing their lead up to six with a basket by junior forward Blake Reynolds, only to have USC cut the deficit back to three with a three-pointer by Corral at the 16:20 mark. A free throw from Fairbanks brought the lead back to four for the Wolverines, but a three from Cameron at 14:50 cut the lead down to one, 43-42. A three-pointer from junior forward Julie McMurray increased the Wolverines lead, 46-42. USC then went on a 7-0 run, capped off by a Cameron three-pointer at 11:53 to give USC a three point lead. USC held onto the narrow lead for the next three minutes, until a tip-in by Fairbanks gave a one-point lead back to Utah Valley, 53-52 with 8:37 left in the half. USC got the lead back, 55-54 with a strong putback from Hughes, who missed the and-one free throw. USC's lead would balloon to six, 62-56 with 3:19 left in the game, thanks to a jump shot from Gilbreath. Fairbanks would cut into USC's lead with a three at the 2:37 mark, but a two-pointer from senior guard Camille LeNoir would help the Women of Troy lead 64-59 with 2:13 left. Utah Valley would not go down and they chipped away at the lead over the next minute, narrowing the margin to one, 64-63 with 47 seconds left. LeNoir had a chance to put the Women of Troy up by three with 28 seconds left, but missed the layup. With four seconds left McMurray hit a three for Utah Valley, giving them the lead 66-64. USC tried a desperation shot with time expiring which did not fall, leaving the Women of Troy with the 66-64 loss.

The Women of Troy were led in points by Parker who nabbed 11, followed closely by LaPlante with 10 points and two blocks. Hughes led the team in rebounding with nine. The Wolverines were led by Fairbanks with 26 points.

The Women of Troy will look to avenge their loss tomorrow (Dec. 6) with a 4 p.m. HT tipoff against BYU. The Cougars are coming off a 56-50 win against Wright State on Saturday.

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