The calendar year may have changed, but the Women of Troy (10-3, 2-0) continued their stellar play with a 60-51 victory over the Washington Huskies (5-6, 0-2), giving them their best start since the 1993-94 season.
It was a tough win against a talented team,” junior Briana Gilbreath said. “We didn’t do all the things we expected ourselves to do, but we pulled it out.”
Gilbreath led USC in scoring as she recorded 13 points and pulled down six rebounds.
Similar to the last game against Washington State, USC fell behind early in the opening minutes.
But about midway through the first half, the Women of Troy used a 14-4 run that saw five different players score to seize a nine-point lead at 24-15.
Though USC shot just over 32 percent from the field in the first half, they used a stingy defense to force nine Washington turnovers, and managed to go into halftime leading 30-24.
The second half would be no different as the Women of Troy still struggled to put the ball in the basket.
An early 6-0 Washington run in the opening minutes of the second half even cut the USC lead to a single basket at 32-30, and midway through the half, the Huskies clawed to within a single point.
But each time they threatened to take the lead, the Women of Troy responded right back.
“We forced some turnovers at some crucial times and that’s what changed the game around,” Gilbreath said, who finished with three steals and three blocked shots.
The Huskies would get no closer than a single point as the Women of Troy managed to hold on down the stretch for their fourth consecutive road victory and sixth consecutive victory overall.
Despite shooting a shade over 28 percent from the field overall, USC hounded Washington’s do-everything guard Kristi Kingma into a 6-for-19 shooting night, forced a total of 15 turnovers and outrebounded the Huskies 52-40.
“Our rebounding and hustle on defense helped us win this game,” sophomore forward Christina Marinacci said. “I think that was the [key] for us.”
Marinacci came off the bench and scored six points, while also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
Redshirt senior guard Jacki Gemelos chipped in with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists, and freshman forward Cassie Harberts just barely missed her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
“I think we’re starting to come together and the freshmen are learning,” Gilbreath said. “We’re all starting to gel now and I think that’s what’s helping us now.”
The Women of Troy now head home before taking on crosstown rival UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood on Saturday, Jan. 8th.
Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 pm.