Trojans Nearly Upset No. 10 Texas A&M 71-70
Dec. 18, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Southern California coach Michael Cooper cried during his postgame news conference - an injury to a star player caused the tears, rather than a close defeat.
Senior guard Jacki Gemelos might be done for the season after hurting her left knee late in the first half of Sunday's 71-70 loss to No. 10 Texas A&M. Sydney Carter hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to lift the Aggies.
Gemelos, who entered the game averaging 11.6 points and a team-high 8 rebounds, was injured as she drove the lane 3:37 before the break.
Gemelos spent the second half on the bench with her knee heavily wrapped and will undergo further evaluation once the team returns to Los Angeles. She was one of the nation's top recruits out of Stockton, Calif., but has fought knee injuries throughout her career.
"For that young lady to go through this again," Cooper said, pausing, "it hurts."
"It's not looking good, but we're hoping for the best for her," he said.
USC (4-5) led 69-61 with 2:34 remaining before the defending national champions made their most rousing comeback this season, capped by Carter's final shot. A 3-point attempt by USC's Ashley Corral with four seconds remaining missed its mark and the Aggies raised their arms in triumph in winning their 47th consecutive nonconference home game.
"What a basketball game," Cooper said. "We came up just four or five seconds short of winning it. We showed if we battle and fight we can stay competitive with top 10 teams."
Carter won it for the Aggies (8-2) with what she called a long overdue shot. Until that go-ahead basket, she was only 5 of 31 on 3s this season, including 0 for 4 against the Trojans.
"It was about time I finally stepped up and hit a 3-pointer for my team," Carter said, grinning.
Adrienne Pratcher, who had career highs with 22 points, nine assists and five steals, began the Aggies' late comeback with a jump shot that made it 69-63 with 2:15 left. Pratcher followed with another jumper that made it 69-65 with 1:37 remaining.
Tyra White, who had 17 points for the Aggies, made one of two free throws with 1:04 left. A layup by Carter with 24 seconds remaining closed USC's lead it had enjoyed since late in the first half to 69-68.
Corral then made one of two free throws to give the Trojans a 70-68 lead with 19 seconds remaining, setting up Carter's late shot.
"This is exactly what we need as a team," Corral said of playing in a tough road environment leading up to league play. "You don't see crowds like this very often, and this is going to help us in the Pac-12 more than anything."
Like Cooper, Corral was upset at the end of the conference while discussing Gemelos' injury. Gemelos had six points before getting hurt.