USC Women Rally Past Colorado For 68-54 Win
Dec. 18, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team generated a solid second half to put some distance between the Trojans and Colorado in a preview of a future conference matchup. The Women of Troy wrapped up a 68-54 win over the visiting Buffaloes in the first game of the 2010 Women of Troy Basketball Tournament at the Galen Center. Behind 14-point outings from Briana Gilbreath and Ashley Corral, USC outpaced Colorado to improve the Trojans to 6-3 overall. Colorado goes to 7-3 and will play in tomorrow's consolation game at 3 p.m. The Trojans await the winner of tonight's Dayton-San Diego State game, as USC plays in tomorrow's championship at 5:30 p.m. at the Galen Center.
It was a sharp-shooting first half from all spots on the floor, although Colorado's effectiveness from 3-point land was the key in keeping the Buffaloes in stride with the Trojans. USC's defense forced 12 turnovers out of the Buffs, who also were tagged with a number of early fouls to help set up USC with an advantage from the free-throw line. USC was shooting 43 percent from the floor and was 11-of-13 from the free-throw line to take a 37-34 halftime lead on the Buffs, who were shooting at a 46-percent clip including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Colorado would win the night on the boards 44-34, but slumped on the scoring front in the second half while USC went on a 14-0 run to put the Buffs out of reach down the stretch. Colorado cooled off to finish the game shooting 32 percent, while USC hit 40 percent from the floor.
Corral and Gilbreath were joined in double figures by teammates Cassie Harberts and Jacki Gemelos with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Gilbreath also tied her career high of five steals as she had a big hand in forcing 24 Colorado turnovers. Colorado was led by 12 points from Chucky Jeffrt, who also had a game-high eight rebounds. Brittany Wilson had 11 for the Buffs, and Chelsea Dale added 10.
Colorado fouls got the Trojans in the bonus after just eight minutes of play, as USC combined a perfect 8-of-8 effort from the line with some balance on the floor to hold a 19-14 lead. The Buffs knocked down some timely threes to stay close, creeping within two at the 11-minute mark. Colorado's four 3-pointer of the half locked things up 20-20 with 9:20 on the clock. The Trojans were forcing Colorado turnovers, but couldn't convert on the opportunities while the Buffaloes kept answering USC buckets to stay in stride. Colorado turned a steal into a three-point play to take its first lead of the game, up 29-28 with 4:47 to go. The Women of Troy responded with a flashy attack at the other end, as Ashley Corral lofted a pass high for Briana Gilbreath to rise up and touch in to get USC back on top with 4:05 remaining. Another Colorado deep one would turn the momentum again in the Buffs' favor in the form of a 5-0 run back to the lead, but USC finished off the half with the go-ahead push on a take from Corral and a score from Cassie Harberts in the final seconds to bump USC to a 37-34 lead at halftime.
Shooting percentages plummeted on both ends in the early goings of the second half with just a single field goal falling for each team through the first five and a half minutes. Fresh off the bench, USC freshman Desiree Bradley knocked down a long-awaited three for the Trojans to help USC work toward an eight-point lead with 9:55 on the clock. USC settled down and pulled ahead as time ticked along, making a 7-0 run later for some padding with a 59-46 lead entering the 5-minute mark. Briana Gilbreath solidified herself in double digits during the push, while Gemelos drained her second three of the night to take USC ahead 62-46 with 4:15 to go. Colorado ended almost six and a half minutes of scoring silence with a pair of free throws at 3:06, but the Trojans were out of reach as USC wrapped up a final 68-54 win.