USC Escapes Arizona With Overtime Victory

Jan. 3, 2010

Box Score

TUCSON, ARIZ. - The USC women's basketball team endured vast momentum changes in an all-out battle with host Arizona on Sunday afternoon in Tucson, getting hot at just the right moment to come back and win in overtime with an 81-78 victory over the Wildcats. Ashley Corral drained five first-half 3-pointers and Heather Oliver delivered four in USC's second-half and overtime push. Almost stealing the show, however, was Arizona's Davellyn Whyte, who had 21 of the Wildcats' first 25 points and went on to finish with 34 points in the game. Corral carried four fouls with her with eight minutes to go in regulation and finished with a career-high 27 points for the Trojans. USC improves to 8-5 overall and goes to 2-0 to open Pac-10 play, while Arizona moves to 6-6, 0-2.

USC led by as much as 20 in the first half, but Arizona stole back control with a 17-0 run in the second half to charge ahead and eventually put the Women of Troy in a 13-point hole with eight minutes left in regulation. That deficit woke up the Trojans, namely Heather Oliver, who drilled back-to-back threes to charge up a 14-0 USC run that got USC a slim lead with 5:25 to go. Another Oliver three at 1:25 lifted USC up by two, but Arizona managed the tie to bring up overtime.

Arizona was shooting 20 percent from the floor at the 7:30 mark of the game, while USC was going at a 52-percent clip. USC would lead by as much as 20 in the first half, but the Wildcats generated a 14-2 run to cut the gap to nine before Ashley Corral's fifth 3-pointer of the half came and the Trojans took a 37-25 lead at halftime. At the half, USC was shooting 48 percent, and Arizona was at 30. The second half, however, was an entirely different story. USC's shooting dropped to 13 percent in the second half as Arizona made its move into the lead. The Trojans shot 29 percent in the second half to Arizona's 52 percent to account for the regulation lockup. The game finished out with USC a 41.2 percent from the floor and Arizona at 43.8. Arizona also out-rebounded USC 47-34 down the stretch. Corral led USC with 27 to go along with Oliver's 19 points and 10 from Hailey Dunham. Arizona had Whyte finish with 34 and Ify Ibekwe register a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Locked 65-65 at the close of regulation after a monster push by the Trojans to get back in the game during the second half, USC got back in control during overtime. Gilbreath scored first, and Arizona's Whyte answered to keep it even. Oliver blew USC ahead with her fourth 3-pointer of the game to take USC to a 70-67 lead with 4:10 on the clock. The Trojans would stay a step ahead down the stretch. After Whyte cut it to 72-70 USC at 3:30, Hailey Dunham knocked down a jumper and Ashley Corral nabbed a steal, putting in a free throw that was followed by two more from Gilbreath to pull USC ahead 77-70 with 2 minutes to go. Arizona's Brooke Jackson hit a three that was followed by a quick bucket from Soana Lucet to make it a two-point game again at 79-77 with a minute remaining, then got another Whyte free throw to go to make it a 79-78 USC lead with just 15 seconds left. Gilbreath had the last word this time, taking the ball the other way for a layup and score to pad USC's lead to 81-78 with six seconds to go, securing a heart-pounding victory for the Trojans.

The Women of Troy forced six Arizona turnovers to open the game as USC racked up an 11-0 lead. Meanwhile, the only player to put the ball through for the Wildcats for the first 10 minutes was Davellyn Whyte, who nailed two 3-pointers and knocked down two free throws to account for Arizona's first eight points. Ashley Corral was doubling up her effort, however, draining four threes for the Trojans as they built up a 28-8 lead at 10:05. White would answer back with two more threes down the stretch, and continued to account for the total of Arizona's scoring as the score went to 32-18 with two more buckets from White at 3:25. Kari LaPlante put one in low for USC to stop the 7-0 Arizona scoring run, only to have Arizona's Ify Ibekwe get in on the Wildcat scoring with back-to-back scores to make it 34-22 USC with 2 minutes to go in the half. White drilled her fifth three of the half next, and Arizona had manufactured another 7-0 run to cut the score to 34-25 USC at 1:20. Corral had the last word for USC, however, matching Whyte with her fifth 3-pointer of the half with just 5 ticks left, giving USC a 37-25 lead going into halftime.

Arizona managed a 16-4 run to open the second half and lock things up 41-41 at 14:00 as USC shots rattled off the mark and Arizona capitalized on the other end. An Ify Ibekwe 3-pointer later, and Arizona held its first lead of the game at 12:20, up 44-41 on the Trojans thanks to a 13-percent shooting effort by USC in the second half to the 12-minute mark while Arizona was going at 54 percent. Silent for six solid minutes, USC finally got one to fall on a jumper from Gilbreath at 10:10 to put the score at a 50-43 Arizona advantage. The Trojans got buried further as the Wildcats went to the line and built up a 56-43 lead at 7:59, although USC shook itself out of the slump soon after. A bucket from Gilbreath was followed by back-to-back threes and then a three-point play from Heather Oliver to cut things to 56-54 Arizona at 6:06, and then Daniela Roark got USC back on top with a three next, pushing the Trojans up 57-56 at 5:25 for their first lead since 15:10. USC got up by four only to have White score a two and a three next for a 63-62 Arizona lead at 1:46. Oliver followed with another three to make it 65-63 USC at 1:25, but Arizona locked it up again 65-65 with a score from Brooke Jackson entering the final minute of action. A Wildcat shot clock violation put the ball in Trojan hands with 25.7 seconds remaining, and USC took a short timeout with 19.3 seconds left in regulation. Corral's last-second 3-point try was just off the mark, and that brought up a wild overtime in which the Trojans got seven points from Heather Oliver to help charge USC past the Wildcats for the 81-78 victory.

USC's next competition takes the Trojans home for a pair of Pac-10 clashes. USC will host Stanford in a 7 p.m. game on Friday (Jan. 8) at the Galen Center, then plays Cal at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 10).

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