Corral’s late three lifts USC over Bears

With only five seconds remaining, the Women of Troy and the California Golden Bears were deadlocked at 64.

That left more than enough time for sophomore guard Ashley Corral to will her team to victory.

Clutch - Corral scored 18 points in USC’s bounce-back win Sunday. - Daily Trojan | Tim Tran

After dribbling through pressure defense by the Golden Bears, Corral banked in a three-point shot with just over a second left to cap a come-from-behind victory at the Galen Center Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a big win, especially at home,” Corral said. “We knew we needed to come out here and win especially after our loss against Stanford,”

The Women of Troy overcame strong performances by Cal center DeNesha Stallworth and Cal guard Alexis Gray-Lawson, who scored 30 points and 20 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, it was sophomore guard Briana Gilbreath and Corral who came through in the clutch for the Women of Troy. Both players combined for the final seven points in the last minute of play.

Gilbreath led a balanced attack for the Women of Troy, scoring 19 points, while Corral chipped in 18 points, and two others reached double figures.

“I’m very pleased,” USC coach Michael Cooper said. “We’re a young team, we’re playing hard.”

The Women of Troy opened the game strong, matching the Golden Bears play. As the first half wore on, they struggled offensively from the field and struggled to rebound the ball defensively.

Both Stallworth and Gray-Lawson posed all sorts of problems for the Women of Troy. With Stallworth controlling the inside and Gray-Lawson breaking down the defense, they found themselves trailing 37-27 at halftime.

The start of the second half, however, saw the Women of Troy switch up defenses, which flustered the Golden Bears on offense. Turnovers led to easy baskets and the Women of Troy slowly cut into the halftime deficit.

The second half proved to be a seesaw battle as both teams exchanged leads numerous times.

With almost five minutes remaining in the contest, the Women of Troy trailed 59-54. But two free throws and two field goals later by the Women of Troy, the Golden Bears saw themselves trailing by a single point at 60-59.

Cal regained the lead yet again on a basket by Gray-Lawson but Gilbreath put the Women of Troy up 62-61 by sinking two free throws on their next possession.

The Golden Bears failed to convert and regain the lead and were forced to foul. Gilbreath calmly sank two more free throws, putting the Women of Troy ahead by three.

After a timeout, Gray-Lawson then managed to sink a three pointer to tie the score at 64.

But any hope at overtime for the Golden Bears was diminished when Corral provided the late game heroics that gave the Women of Troy a 3-1 record in conference play.

“[This game] definitely means a lot. Before even starting conference play, we figured Stanford, Cal and Arizona State were some of the teams we’d have to compete with. We’ve beaten two out of the three now. It shows we’re on the rise and we’re a team to contend with,” Cooper said.

The Women of Troy host crosstown rival UCLA next Sunday at 2:30 p.m.