Trojans Outlast Wildcats in Overtime, 77-71

Jan. 15, 2009

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TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona let a five-point lead slip away in the final two minutes of the game and visiting USC pulled out a 77-71 overtime win over the Wildcats, Thursday evening at the McKale Center.

Holding a 60-59 lead with 6:18 to play, Arizona got two free throws from Courtney Clements and a lay-up by Ify Ibekwe to take a 64-59 lead at the 2:57 mark.

The Wildcats survived four shot attempts by the Trojans, but the second of a pair of turnovers proved costly as Ashley Corral stole the ball from Ashley Frazier before Nadia Parker converted a short jumper. After a missed jumper at the other end by Beatrice Bofia, Camille LeNoir hit a pull-up jumper at the elbow to trim the gap to one.

Ibekwe was fouled with 37 seconds left, but made just 1-of-2 free throw attempts. LeNoir went coast-to-coast and hit another jumper in the lane to knot the teams.

Each team had a shot to win in the final seconds, but neither was able to convert. Ibekwe had a wide-open look on the baseline from 10 feet, but her shot rolled out. After a timeout, LeNoir raced down and pulled up for three, but Ibekwe reached up and blocked the attempt to force overtime.

The Wildcats would not see the lead again as the Trojans scored on each of their first five possessions in overtime. The Wildcats were within one at 71-70 with 3:48 to play, but Ashley Corral hit a pair of short jumpers, then iced the game with two free throws with 24 seconds to play.

Arizona jumped out strong in each half, but was unable to sustain the momentum in each stanza. The Cats scored the first 11 points of the game over the opening 3:59, but the Trojans answered with a 21-5 run and maintained a 42-34 lead at the break.

Again the Cats stormed out of the intermission and ended up building a 60-50 advantage thanks to a 15-0 run, but Parker and LeNoir single-handedly sparked a 8-0 stretch that set up the final moments of regulation.

Ibekwe led all players with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots before fouling out in overtime. Reiko Thomas chipped in with 16 points and 5 rebounds, but missed the overtime frame after suffering a left ankle injury. Clements hit a trio of three-pointers to finish with 13 points while Amina Njonkou had 9 points and 13 rebounds.

Corral came off the bench and scored 16 points to lead USC (9-6, 3-1). Briana Gilbreath tallied 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals while LeNoir added 14 points and four steals.

Arizona (7-9, 0-5) returns to Pac-10 play on Saturday, January 17 for a matinee contest against UCLA in McKale Center with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.

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