USC Falls In Paradise Jam Opener, 66-51

Nov. 26, 2009

ST. THOMAS, USVI - The USC women's basketball team fell to Rutgers Thursday night in front of 1,478 fans at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, 66-51. The Trojans had their hands full with the Scarlet Knights, who had three players in double figures. Despite Ashley Corral's game-high 24 points, USC shot just 25 percent from the field. Rutgers' Chelsey Lee, Nikki Speed and Brittany Ray combined for 40 points to give the Scarlet Knights the advantage. USC lost their second consecutive game to go 1-3, while Rutgers improved to 3-2 on the season.

Rutgers' balanced offensive attack and stifling defense helped the Scarlet Knights jump out to a 15-point lead in the first half. USC climbed back into the game on Daniela Roark's three-pointer at the 2:52 mark, which sparked an 8-0 run. Corral closed out the half with a pair of three-pointers for the Women of Troy, but Rutgers still led it at the half, 32-23. USC's success behind the arc continued in the second half with six three-pointers made, four from Corral and two from Heather Oliver. Corral brought the Trojans within eight on her fifth three-point shot of the game with 5:56 left on the clock.

For Rutgers, most of their damage was done in the paint with 24 points compared to USC's two. The Scarlet Knights put the game out of reach for the Trojans on April Sykes and Speed's three-point shots late in the second half. Sykes nailed a three pointer just before the shot clock expired to give the Scarlet Knights an 11-point lead with 5:20 remaining in the game. Rutgers extended its lead to 17-points, the largest of the game, on Speed's three pointer with 1:42 to go in the game. USC's Corral knocked down two free throws with just under a minute to play to round out the final score, 66-51.

USC shot 42 percent from the three-point range and was a perfect 12-12 from the free-throw line. Corral, Christina Marinacci and Briana Gilbreath all made good on their four attempts at the charity strike.

USC will face #13 Texas tomorrow (Nov. 27) at 9:30 p.m. ET in another Paradise Jam match-up.

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