USC Women Win Again, Top BYU 62-50 In WNIT
March 23, 2011
PROVO, UTAH - The USC women's basketball team put forth a powerful second half, staying stingy on defense and effective on offense in ringing up a 62-50 win over host BYU in the WNIT Third Round. The Trojans allowed just 19 Cougar points on the back stretch while piling up 37 of their own for a comeback that left BYU out of reach. USC improves to 22-12 overall with the win, and BYU finishes up 25-9. The Women of Troy now are lined up against either Wyoming or Colorado in the WNIT Quarterfinals on Sunday (March 27).
Thanks in part to a cleanup effort on the board by Christina Marinacci, the Trojans allowed no BYU offensive rebounds through the first 14 minutes of action. The teams would trade runs in the half, but the Cougars' late 10-0 surge on four Trojan turnovers gave BYU a 31-25 halftime lead. Both teams were locked at 39 percent from the field in the first half, but BYU had hit four 3-pointers to accumulate an advantage. The Trojans held a solid 21-14 rebounding edge at the break, and expanded it to a 43-34 lead by the final buzzer. USC also heated up from the floor, shooting 48 percent in the second half to outpace BYU's cool 23 percent as the Trojans wrapped up the game ahead with a 43-percent night to BYU's 31-percent finish.
USC was balanced in its attack as four different Trojans hit double figures in the scoring column and Marinacci hauled in 10 rebounds. Briana Gilbreath led USC with 14 points to go with eight rebounds, and Jacki Gemelos served up 13 points with seven boards. Cassie Harberts punched in 11 points, and Ashley Corral had 10 with two 3-pointers. BYU's offense was led by 21 points from Mindy Bonham, with Kristen Riley adding 10 and Haley Hall hitting 10. Riley finished with a double-double in matching Marinacci's 10 rebounds on the night.
USC started the game shooting a cool 1-of-7 from the floor and would trail by five at the 11-minute mark before the Trojans' defense helped feed an offensive onslaught that made a 12-2 run into the lead, up 20-15 with 5:42 on the clock. BYU heated up from 3-point range soon after, however, netting three 3-pointers in the last five minutes and answering a bomb from Ashley Corral at 3:35 with a 10-0 run into the lead and into the locker room with a 31-25 advantage.
USC responded to the call and fought back with an 11-0 run next to steal back the lead on free throws and then another three from Corral to make it 36-31 USC with 16:30 on the clock. Cassie Harberts would help the Trojans to their largest lead of the game when she converted on a three-point play with 11:54 on the clock for a 43-37 USC advantage. With four minutes to go, USC had worked ahead 53-44 after free throws from Marinacci and a Kari LaPlante strike low off a feed from Corral. After back-to-back BYU buckets, Gemelos got herself to the hole and to the line, providing a four-point lift for the Trojans that padded USC's advantage to eight points with 1:20 to go. The Cougars would get nothing more than free throws to fall in the last three minutes of the game, as USC wrapped up a 62-50 final over its hosts.
USC now awaits tomorrow's WNIT Third Round game between Colorado and Wyoming to see whom the Trojans will play in the Quarterfinals on Sunday.