No. 23 USC Women Top Westmont In Exhibition Action
Nov. 7, 2011
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No.23 USC women's basketball team tugged the lead back and forth with visiting Westmont in tonight's exhibition match at Galen Center, and finally pulled away from the Warriors for a 77-65 win. Westmont was powered by 33 points from Tugce Canitez on the night, while USC had four players finish in double digits, led by 23 from Jacki Gemelos.
Westmont's Canitez served up over half the Warriors' points, holding 21 at halftime and adding 12 more in the second half for her final of 33. Westmont shot 42 percent in the game to stand just a step behind the Trojans' 43 percent outing. USC sent the Warriors to the free-throw line plenty in the game, but the Trojans countered with a better effort from 3-point land. Gemelos was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc on the way to her team-high 23 points, while Ashley Corral (17 points), Briana Gilbreath (14 points) and Ariya Crook (10 points) also finished in double digits for the Trojan cause. Freshman Alexyz Vaioletama hauled in nine rebounds to lead USC's effort on the boards, which saw the Trojans land even with the Warriors with 34 rebounds apiece.
Westmont surged in the first half to grab back the lead at 27-26 with 3:10 to go in the frame, but the Trojans would regroup from there. Sparked by an inspired effort from freshman Ariya Crook, USC pulled back into the lead. Crook served up an assist to Thaddesia Southall, then nailed a 3-pointer and nabbed a steal and the finish to carry USC ahead 33-27 with 1:46 to go in the half. USC would answer a pair of Westmont free throws with two more from Crook, a pair of free throws from Briana Gilbreath and a jumper from Jacki Gemelos to take the Trojans to their largest lead of the game, up 39-29 with 15 seconds to go. Westmont capped off the half with two more free throws to round things out as a 39-31 USC halftime advantage.
The Warriors scooted to within four with 6:24 to go as Canitez worked her way across the 30-point mark in the game, but USC punched up a 10-2 run thanks in part to threes from Gemelos and Ashley Corral to take a 70-58 lead with four minutes remaining. Sophomore Cassie Harberts' foul trouble on the night would catch up to her with 3:44 to go as she got tagged with her fifth foul of the night. But USC stayed on pace and wrapped up its scoring with a bucket from Corral to round out the win.
USC's official start to the 2011-12 season comes on Friday (Nov. 11) in a doubleheader with the USC men. The Women of Troy will face Fresno State at 5 p.m. at the Galen Center for their season opener.