USC Women Go Big On The Boards To Win Third Straight

Dec. 3, 2009

Box Score

LONG BEACH, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team saw three players nail double-doubles in a hot-handed game against Long Beach State on Thursday night, as the Women of Troy picked up their third straight win with an 83-77 victory over the 49ers in Long Beach, Calif. Playing in their fifth straight road game, the Trojans outpaced their hosts with a season-high rebounding effort and five players in double-figure scoring to close out a game that tightened up significantly down the stretch. The win pushes USC to a 4-3 overall record, while Long Beach State goes to 3-4.

Ashley Corral secured the first double-double for any Trojan this season at the 13:05 mark of the second half, but by game's end there were two more Women of Troy with double-doubles as well. Briana Gilbreath led USC in scoring with 21 points and 10 rebounds while also pounding out a career-high six blocks. Corral had 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, and Hailey Dunham matched her career bests with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Also hitting double figures for USC were Aarika Hughes with 12 points and Christina Marinacci with 11. Long Beach State's Karina Figueroa led all scorers with 26 points on the night while adding 10 assists for her own double-double effort.

USC finished out the game shooting 45 percent from the floor, just ahead of Long Beach State's 43 percent effort. Season-high rebounding proved to be a potent difference in the game for the Women of Troy, as USC hauled in 50 rebounds to the 49ers' 37.

A powerful first half with help from a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Aarika Hughes carried the Trojans ahead by 10 for halftime. The teams traded runs in the first half, but a late push from the Women of Troy put some extra space between USC and Long Beach State going into the second half. USC shot 50 percent from the floor to outpace the 49ers' 41 percent effort, with Briana Gilbreath sparking the Trojans offensively with 17 points by halftime while Ashley Corral tore down nine rebounds in the first half.

In the second, the Trojans got out of the gates hot, but the 49ers got hot late in the half to make things interesting as Long Beach State slashed down USC's 20-point lead to make it a three-point game with 18 seconds to go. A calm pair of Christina Marinacci free throws pushed the Women of Troy up five and made the freshman the fifth Trojan to hit double figures in the game, however, as USC managed to sidestep Long Beach State's late-game push to hold onto the win.

An early see-saw battle gave way to an 11-0 USC surge as the Trojans moved ahead 15-6 on free throws converted by Heather Oliver. Long Beach State would respond with an 8-0 run to cut USC's lead down to one. With the 49ers in stride and the score a slim 19-18 USC advantage at 10:50, the Trojans streaked ahead again with a three from Gilbreath and a bucket from Christina Marinacci helped pad USC back ahead. USC got up by 10 at 6:33 with a three from Corral to make it 33-23, and although Long Beach State pushed to within five at 3:34, the Trojans stayed in control down the stretch and worked that lead out to 10 by the buzzer.

Hughes nailed another one to open the second half and spark a 10-2 USC run that had the Trojans ahead by 20 for their biggest lead of the game. The 49ers rallied to cut back in, however, and it was a 10-point game at the 11:50 mark. Gilbreath followed up a score with her sixth stuff of the night to spark a fast break converted by Dunham for a 76-62 USC lead at 3:30, but the Trojans then failed to come up with a field goal the rest of the way. While USC settled for occasional free throws, Long Beach State hit from the floor and the line to creep back in. After two USC free throws from Daniela Roark made it 79-69 with 47 seconds left, 49er Ally Wade hit a quick three to breathe some life into the Long Beach State attack. Dunham hit the front end of her free throws with 30 seconds on the clock, but a bucket from Lauren Sims was followed by a USC turnover and a Long Beach State three-point play that had USC clinging to an 80-77 lead with 18 seconds to go. Sent to the line with 16.8 ticks left, Marinacci sank both tries for some padding for the Trojans, and one more free throw from Gilbreath sealed things on an 83-77 final victory for USC.

The Women of Troy continue their road run with a trip to face No. 11 Duke in Durham, N.C. USC takes on the Blue Devils at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday (Dec. 6) for USC's fourth game against a ranked opponent this season.

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