USC Women Ward Off WSU 67-62
Feb. 2, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team warded off a dangerous late comeback push by visiting Washington State to lock in on a 67-62 Pac-12 victory tonight at the Galen Center. The Women of Troy led by as much as 17 midway through the second half, only to see the Cougars cut it to a two-point game in the final minute. A late 3-pointer from Ariya Crook helped pad back the lead for USC, and the Trojans held on for the win, improving to 12-9 overall and 6-4 in Pac-12 play. Washington State goes to 10-12, 4-6.
The Women of Troy heated up in the second half of play, shooting 50-percent from the floor while the defense cooled off the Cougars to leave them at 39 percent from the floor on the night to USC's finish at 44 percent. WSU's April Cook was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range to lead a Cougar attack that landed nine threes in the game, but USC was able to counter. Cassie Harberts led all with 19 points, and Briana Gilbreath was back in action for 14 points for the Trojans, who also received 10 rebounds from Christina Marinacci. Cook finished with 18 for WSU, with Jazmie Perkins adding 17 for the Cougars. USC also edged out WSU on the boards, 34-33, and forced 20 turnovers by WSU.
WSU sank 5-of-6 bombs from beyond the arc in the first half to keep pace with the Trojans. USC answered a 8-2 start by the Cougars with a 6-0 run to tie before sneaking into the lead. USC fended off three tie-ups forced by WSU, including a 25-25 lock with 3 minutes to go on a three from Sage Romberg, and struck ahead 32-28 at the half thanks to a three from Briana Gilbreath and buckets from Stefanie Gilbreath and Cassie Harberts in the final stretch of the first.
USC answered an early Cougar bucket with an 8-0 run to grab a double-digit lead, up 40-29 as Harberts score six of the eight points in the Trojan push. Ariya Crook took two charges and Alexyz Vaioletama and Christina Marinacci combined for three blocks in the first 10 minutes of the half to help the Trojan defensive stand against the Cougars. WSU hit only two free throws during a six-minute stretch as USC built up a 52-35 lead with 9:55 on the clock. Ashley Corral would step up and take a charge later with 6:45 to go to send USC back on the attack, and Harberts delivered the jumper for a 60-43 Trojan advantage and her 19th points of the night. That lead didn't last long, however, as WSU's April Cook rattled off nine straight points for the Cougars to cut it to 60-52 with 4:52 to go. Stefanie Gilbreath drained two free throws soon after to stop the surge and Vaioletama added a score to make it a 64-52 USC lead at 3:45. That lead, too, disintegrated on Trojan fouls and turnovers that gave WSU a chance to cut it to 64-59 entering the final minute of play. With 42.7 ticks to go, WSU's Tarnowski buried a big three to pull it to a two-point game, testing the Trojans' mettle in the final stretch. With the shot clock draining fast, Crook knocked down a clutch three, and USC was up 67-62 with 12.8 seconds on the clock, and the Trojans held fast to the important Pac-12 home win.
USC's next action puts the Trojans up against Washington in a 1 p.m. game on Sunday (Feb.5) for a televised matchup on FSN at the Galen Center.