USC Takes Tough Home Loss To Arizona
Feb. 15, 2009
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team suffered through a rare offensive off-day at the Galen Center and wound up with a 74-61 loss to visiting Arizona on Sunday. The Trojans shot just 29 percent on the day compared to 61 percent by the Wildcats down the stretch. Heather Oliver led USC with 15 points, while Arizona's Ify Ibekwe had 27 for the Wildcats. USC moves to 12-11 overall and 6-6 in Pac-10 play with the loss, while Arizona goes to 10-14, 3-10.
USC saw Arizona mash out a 70-percent shooting effort in the first half while the Trojans were stalled out by turnovers and cool shooting. USC was powerful on the boards, but 13 first-half turnovers and a 28-percent offensive effort kept the Trojans in a hole, trailing the Wildcats 32-26 at halftime. USC would close in and then take a slim one-point lead early in the second half, only to have rare home shooting woes continue as Arizona got back on top and hit at a 52-percent clip for the second half. USC's Heather Oliver had all 15 of her final points during the last three minutes for the Trojans, but the Wildcats had the upper hand down the stretch.
USC did manage to win out on the boards, up 43-33 including 30 offensive rebounds by the Trojans. But Arizona finished the game shooting 61 percent, while USC shot just above its season low, going 29 percent from the floor. USC finished with three in double figures, led by Oliver's 15. Brynn Cameron added 13 and Briana Gilbreath had 11 for USC. Arizona got a decisive game-high 27 points from Ify Ibekwe, and had three others in double figures in the game.
Arizona opened up the game shooting 5-for-5 from the floor, taking a 10-7 lead at the 14:35 mark of the first half. USC committed six turnovers in the first six minutes of play while its shooting cooled for almost five minutes until Camille LeNoir nailed back-to-back threes to make it 14-13 Arizona at 10:45. The Wildcats would answer with a 6-0 run to go up 20-13 until Brynn Cameron hit her second and third 3-pointers to USC back within one. Arizona was still hot from the floor, led by a 5-for-5 effort from Ify Ibekwe, who got the Wildcats up by five with two more scores. With 6:45 remaining in the first half, Arizona was up to 86 percent shooting and a 26-19 lead on the Trojans. Later, USC's 12 turnover of the game led to another Ibekwe bucket, and USC was in a 30-19 hole with 3:40 on the clock. Ashley Corral finally broke up a 10-0 Wildcat scoring run with a jumper at 2:35, and after a Nadia Parker free throw and a steal and score from Briana Gilbreath, USC was looking at a 32-26 deficit going into halftime.
USC turned things around for the second half. The Trojans answered an early Arizona bucket with a 9-0 run to take their first lead since the first four minutes of the game. LeNoir's third three of the day carried USC to a 35-34 lead at 16:56, but Arizona responded with six straight points to get back on top. The Wildcats would even manufacture an 18-point lead by the 3:30 mark of the game, up 62-44. Heather Oliver got a three to finally fall for the Trojans at 2:35 and nabbed a steal and layup to make it 64-51 at 2:10. She got another to go at 1:06, but Arizona was holding a 68-54 advantage and was in the bonus for the final stretch. Oliver dumped in 15 points in the last three minutes of play for the Trojans to make it a 10-point game, but Arizona got free throws to go in the final 19 seconds to come away with a 73-61 Wildcat victory.
USC now heads off on a Pac-10 road trip to first face Washington State in a 7 p.m. game in Pullman on Feb. 20 before heading to Seattle to play Washington at 2 p.m. on Feb. 22.