USC Women Edged At Arkansas State 58-56
Dec. 15, 2011
JONESBORO, ARK. - In the program's first-ever trip to Arkansas, the USC women's basketball team went down to the wire on the road against Arkansas State, coming up short on a late push to the finish to lose 58-56 to the host Red Wolves on Thursday night. The Women of Troy gave their hosts too much lee-way and wound up behind by 12 before firing off a run to finally tighten things up. In the end, USC ran out of steam and got tagged with a loss that stops a three-game win streak, putting USC at 4-4 overall, while Arkansas State goes to 4-6.
Hot out of the gates, USC saw an early 4-0 lead slip away, and after a 12-12 tie-up at 13:40, the Trojans would trail the rest of the way. But two points would be as close as USC would get in the final 2:37 and at the final buzzer. USC led on the boards 38-34 but was hampered by costly turnovers as the teams finished even 17-17 but the Red Wolves were credited with 29 points of USC turnovers.
USC got a game-high 20 points and four blocks from Briana Gilbreath and 13 points from Jacki Gemelos for a pair of players in double figures, while A-State was led by 18 from Shania Hurst and received 13 from Jane Morrill and 10 from Quinishia McDowell. USC shot 38 percent from the floor, and the Red Wolves hit at 40 percent, including eight 3-pointers to beat out USC's 3-of-16 effort from beyond the arc.
A-State's Shania Hurst-McLennan caused early troubles for the Trojans in draining three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes to carry the Red Wolves to a 20-14 advantage in that span. The gap would widen to 30-19 as Hurst stayed hot and a once-sharp-shooting Trojan squad dipped to 31 percent from the floor while turnovers also stalled out several USC possessions. USC would score the last five points of the half, however, with help from a three-point play by Briana Gilbreath to bring her into double digits and make it a 30-23 A-State lead at the break.
A silent 0-for-7 outing from 3-point range was broken with strikes from Gilbreath and Ashley Corral, bringing it back to a four-point game to breathe some life into the Trojan cause. However, the Red Wolves rallied back ahead despite USC's effective pressure to get to the line and even up a once-lopsided foul count. With Harberts in foul trouble herself, A-State got a couple low post scores and landed a three to put USC in its deepest hole of the game, down 55-43 with 6:50 to go.
After a Michael Cooper timeout, the Women of Troy manufactured an 8-0 run to tug back to within four, trailing 55-51 with 3:23 to prompt an A-State timeout. A take and finish by Alexyz Vaioletama cut in further, to 55-53. Gilbreath's fourth stuff of the game stalled the next A-State possession, as the hosts had the ball under the basket with 1:33 on the clock. Gemelos nabbed a steal and took it back, but USC's shot on its possession was just off the mark. Harberts hauled in an A-State try in the final minute, and USC took a timeout with 35 ticks to go and 19 seconds on the shot clock. The pass into the key was tipped and recovered by the Red Wolves, forcing a USC foul. Watson made the first and missed the second, but the ball went out of bounds and stayed in A-State's hands. Two more Red Wolf free throws went in, putting USC behind 58-53 with 19 seconds left, but Ashley Corral drained a three with 7.8 ticks to go to give USC a chance. A-State missed the front end of its 1-and-1 try, and Vaioletama brought in the rebound to send USC off on the attack to tie, but a last-ditch floater from Gemelos missed its mark, and the Trojans were left with a 58-56 loss.
USC now heads to College Station, Texas, to take on the defending national champions with a 2 p.m. CT Sunday tilt at Texas A&M.