The Women of Troy had let a 13-point halftime lead slip all the way down to one in the second half. The Ducks were surging and all the momentum was in their favor. The USC women’s basketball team (10-6, 5-1), riding high on a four-game winning streak, was not about to let this game get away. The Women of Troy beat Oregon 92-73 in Thursday’s home game.
A free throw by junior forward Christina Marinacci and a 3-pointer by senior guard Ashley Corral sent the team on its way to what would be a game-deciding 17-3 run spanning just under four minutes.
Senior guard Briana Gilbreath came up a rebound shy of a triple-double for the Women of Troy as she led the way with 18 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds. Her leadership proved decisive for USC in the team’s breakaway run. After the game, she emphazised USC coach Michael Cooper’s reminders to develop a killer instinct.
“We let our focus down in the beginning of the second half,” Gilbreath said. “But coach has been emphasizing us having a killer instinct in practice and I think we did a good job in pulling away like we did.” Gilbreath said.
Cooper also emphasized that they handled Oregon’s zone defense very well and that learning how to succeed against different defenses as they continue their schedule will only make the team stronger for the postseason.
The Women of Troy outrebounded Oregon by 19. The increase in rebounds has been an important factor in their recent surge in the standings, leaving them alone in second place in the Pac-12. Marinacci, who had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, talked about how important the rebounds were for the team.
“Its another way to get energy and get second chance opportunites,” Marinacci said. “We noticed very soon that they weren’t as athletic as we were and we were able to take advantage of that mismatch. It’s one that we don’t usually have.”
The Women of Troy accumulated 25 assists in the game, one of the highest totals they have had all season. Gilbreath said this exemplifies how much teamwork is being used to achieve the team’s winning streak.
“We attribute the 25 assists to teamwork,” Gilbreath said. “We are all about getting each other open shots, and we did it with only 12 turnovers too.”
The Women of Troy shot 86 percent from the free-throw line — easily their best total in any game this season.
The women’s basketball team hopes to continue their winning ways and stay near the top of the PAC-12 standings when they play Oregon State at home Saturday at 2 p.m.