Trojans Turn It Around, Top Arizona 74-62|
March 1, 2013
TUCSON, ARIZ. -- The USC women's basketball team hauled in a much-needed win tonight on the backs of double-doubles from Christina Marinacci and Cassie Harberts. USC would shrug off a push by host Arizona that cut the game down to a one-point margin and regain control to latch onto a 74-62 win over the Wildcats. The victory snapped a eight-game losing skid by the Trojans, who went winless in February before making this breakthrough in opening up March with a win. USC is now 9-19 overall and 6-11 in Pac-12 play. Arizona goes to 12-16, 4-13.
USC senior Christina Marinacci had her seventh career double-double in the books by halftime while also climbing up to rank No. 10 all-time in career rebounds thanks to her haul of 11 boards in the first half alone. Thanks to Marinacci's dedication to the boards, USC had the Wildcats more than doubled up in the rebounding column, leading 29-13 on the boards to help the Trojans to a 39-26 halftime lead. Brianna Barrett had a big hand in that offensive push, too, serving up seven first-half assists.
After a see-saw battle in the second half, USC made the final winning push. That rebounding advantage would wind up a whopping 52-32, with Marinacci and Harberts combining for 29 boards. Harberts' double-double was courtesy of 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Marinacci had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. She moved up to No. 10 all-time in career rebounds with the dominating effort on the boards. USC shot 41 percent from the floor and wound up hitting seven threes in the game to outpace Arizona's 36 percent from the floor and six threes hit in the game. Arizona was led by 15 points from Erica Barnes along with 13 points from Carissa Crutchfield and Davellyn Whyte.
The Wildcats came out of the gates with back-to-back threes before USC buckled down. The Trojans would strike off on a 21-3 run into a 23-9 lead. USC's first six points of the night came from senior Christina Marinacci, and Brianna Barrett would further fuel the USC offense with steals and assists as USC left that early four-point deficit in the dust. Only one Arizona basket would fall from the floor in a eight-minute span until Davellyn Whyte hit a three to make it 23-12 Trojans after 10 minutes of play. Arizona would get to within eight in cutting it to a 32-34 USC lead with 3:43 to go, but Marinacci would haul in her 9th and 10th rebounds of the game soon after to move the senior up to No. 10 all-time in career rebounds. Alexyz Vaioletama knocked down a three and then followed up a Wildcat bucket one of her own to further spark the USC push. Rachel Totten helped force an Arizona turnover next, and Harberts finished off the opportunity to carry USC to a 39-26 halftime lead.
Arizona came out of the locker room with renewed intensity and staked itself to a 12-4 run out of the gates to trim USC's lead down to 43-38 just under five minutes into the second half. USC would move back ahead by 10 later on a 3-pointer from Vaioletama, but the Wildcats would find their scoring touch from the beyond the arc, too. Three Arizona 3-pointers from three different players had the USC lead sliced down to one with 9 minutes to go. USC was up to the challenge. Crook and Desiree Bradley landed threes later for the Trojans, and lifted USC to a 59-51 advantage entering the final 6:30. Another three from Bradley helped calm some USC nerves and get the Trojans up 69-58 entering the final three minutes of play. Marinacci's career-high 18th rebound put a stop to an Arizona possession next, and USC was in even better position after Harberts slipped in her 23rd points of the night, and Bradley nailed another three to take the Trojans ahead 74-58 entering the final minute and seal up what would wrap as a 74-62 USC victory.
USC now turns to round out the regular season with a visit to Tempe. The Trojans will take on Arizona State at 12 p.m. PT on Sunday (March 3).