USC Women Battle Back Again, Beat WSU 61-51.

Jan. 23, 2010

Box Score

PULLMAN, WASH. - The USC women's basketball team pulled out its fourth straight Pac-10 comeback win on Saturday afternoon, pushing past host Washington State with a strong second half that netted the Trojans a 61-51 victory. USC held the Cougars to just 19 second-half points to overcome a five-point halftime deficit and continue the Trojans' impressive run through Pac-10 action. Now 12-6 overall and 6-1 in Pac-10 play, USC has opened to its best Pac-10 start since the 2004-05 season when USC began 7-1 in conference play. Washington State goes to 5-13, 0-7 with today's loss.

For the fifth straight game, USC trailed its opponent at halftime. The Cougars had mounted a first-half comeback to erase an eight-point Trojan lead and put USC behind 32-27 at the break. USC was shooting 29 percent in the first half, just behind WSU's 29.4 percent, but the Cougars nailed five 3-pointers in the first half and outrebounded USC 28-22 to hold the advantage at the break.

In similar form to USC's comeback win two days ago at Washington, Ashley Corral got on the offensive late in the game to join Briana Gilbreath's scoring efforts. Gilbreath was the only player in double figures at halftime, and finished out the game just a rebound shy of a double-double with a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds to go with Corral's 10 points - all of which came in the second half. Saturday's edition of the USC comeback saw the Trojans improve to 46-percent shooting in the half to finish out at 37.3 percent, while WSU slumped to 27 percent in the game. The Cougars still won out on the boards 46-40 in the game, but made just three field goals in the second half of play. WSU had Carly Noyes and April Cook finish with 10 points apiece.

The Trojans got ahead 8-2 on the Cougars, but had another severe lapse on the boards as WSU generated a run to tie it 10-10 at 11:13. Renewed rebounding efforts saw USC pull back from trailing 14-8 on the boards to close in to match the Cougars at 16-16 with 7:24 on the clock. The Trojans built an 18-10 lead during that push, only to see WSU strike off on a 10-0 to snag its first lead of the game after back-to-back 3-pointers. WSU led 24-22 with 4:45 to go in the half on that run, sparking Aarika Hughes to fire up a three and get USC up 25-24 at 4:25. WSU's Roosie Tarnowski knocked down three 3-pointers in a three-minute span, however, and the Cougars climbed out to their largest lead of the game on a take from Kiki Moore that put WSU ahead 32-25 during the final minute of the half. Briana Gilbreath hit a pair of free throws down the stretch for USC, and the Trojans were looking at a 32-27 deficit going into halftime.

Ashley Corral delivered a pair of assists to open the second half as USC cut it to 32-31 on buckets from Kari LaPlante and Gilbreath, only to half WSU work back ahead and getting up 39-33 at 14:35. It took some time, but Corral's first points of the day helped spark a USC push into a long-awaited lead. Her three was followed by a Gilbreath score at 12:20 to take a slim 40-39 lead. WSU would get back ahead and up 47-46 at 9:20, but the Women of Troy reeled off a 9-0 run with scores from four different players next. Heather Oliver's three at 6:30 matched USC's largest lead of the game - from way back at 8:52 in the first half - and Oliver free throws not three minutes later had the Trojans ahead 59-49 with 3:51 on the clock. The Cougars were unable to muster a comeback push the rest of the way, and USC closed out the game as a 61-51 Trojan road win.

USC now returns home to the Galen Center to host the Oregon schools. The Trojans face Oregon State first, in a 7 p.m. game on Thursday (Jan. 28) and then play Oregon at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 30).

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