Women of Troy end two-game skid
For the last two weeks, there has been a sense that the season hung in the balance for the USC womenâs basketball team.
Losing four out of five games will do that to a team. So will getting beat twice in a row on your home court. And after trailing for almost the entire first half against lowly Oregon State, the Women of Troy (14-8, 6-5) seemed closer to the precipice than they had all season.
But thanks to a dominant second half, USC righted the ship for the moment and escaped Corvallis with a 70-51 victory. The Women of Troy scored on eight of their first 10 possessions in the second half to grab a 44-42 lead they wouldnât relinquish.
Sophomore forward Christina Marinacci played a critical role for USC during the run, coming up with a pair of offensive rebounds and putbacks.
After halftime, USC outscored Oregon State 44-19 cruising to a comfortable victory. Â The Women of Troy shot 56 percent in the second half, compared to just 23 percent for the Beavers. USC finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field. Â Oregon State ended the game shooting 30 percent.
âIt was just a matter of us refocusing ourselves,â said junior guard Briana Gilbreath. â[The coaches] came into the locker room and said âGuys, we donât know who that is out there playingâ and we didnât know either. We had to buckle down and come out strong.â
Early on, it looked like USC was headed to its third consecutive loss. Hot outside shooting by the Beavers (8-15, 1-11), particularly by guard Alyssa Martin, helped Oregon State grab an early lead. USC trailed by double digits midway through the first half before clawing its way back into the game by halftime.
At the break, Oregon State â aided by Martinâs four three-pointers â lead 32-26. Â Gilbreath led USC with nine points. Freshman forward Cassie Harberts added six points and redshirt senior guard Jacki Gemelos chipped in five points off the bench for the Women of Troy.
Both teams shot under 40 percent for the half, although Oregon State made seven three-pointers compared to just two from the Women of Troy. Most of the other statistics were even between the two teams.
A three-pointer by junior guard Ashley Corral moved her into the record books as the 23rd player in school history to score 1,000 points for her career. Corralâs fourth trifecta of the night moved her atop the career three-pointers list, with 184.
Earlier this season, Gilbreath became the 22nd player to reach 1,000 career points.
âIt means a lot for both of us to be in the 1,000 point club,â Gilbreath said. âIt shows a lot of dedication not just to the game but to USC. Iâm grateful for both of us to be in this position.â
Gilbreath paced USC with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Corral added 14 points for the Women of Troy. Four other players scored at least eight points for USC. Martin led Oregon State with 18 points.
With the win, USC tied with Arizona State for third place in the conference. The Women of Troy lost a heartbreaker to the Sun Devils at home last month.
Next up for USC is a road date against Oregon. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.