USC beat Washington 62-55 in a women's Pac-12 basketball game Thursday at Edmundson Pavilion. The Huskies were denied their first season sweep of USC since 2003.
Their coach’s words rang in their ears.
“It’s just like the (road) USC game. It’s the same situation,” Washington coach Kevin McGuff told his team at halftime, trying to encourage them to another comeback win.
But instead of UW wrestling away key rebounds and making needed baskets as it did in a February victory at USC, it was the Trojans hitting daggers and forcing turnovers Thursday to secure a 62-55 win at Edmundson Pavilion. The biggest shot was senior guard Briana Gilbreath’s short jumper with 52 seconds left that zapped the excitement from the 1,540 in attendance.
USC’s Christina Marinacci swiped the ball from UW freshman Aminah Williams with 42 seconds to play and the Huskies down three, and the Trojans made six straight free throws in the final 39 seconds.
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Marinacci led all scorers with 19 points and 12 rebounds with four steals.
“A lot of players got down on themselves; Aminah (especially),” said Washington’s senior center, Regina Rogers. “A lot of us went and told her she’s a freshman and still has time, so … “
The Huskies rallied from a 34-25 halftime deficit but allowed 27 points off turnovers overall.
Washington (15-12, 7-10 Pac-12) has lost eight games by seven points or fewer this season. The Huskies were hopeful for their first series sweep against the Trojans since 2003 while positioning themselves for a WNIT postseason berth and first .500 finish in conference play in five years.
Yet, the Trojans had similar needs. USC collected its fifth consecutive win to remain in the hunt for the first NCAA tournament berth under third-year coach Michael Cooper.
“This is a big win,” Cooper said. “We’re trying to put some wins together for our resume. And we need to get the bye for the (conference) tournament to get some rest for our players, because we need it.”
Due to injuries, Cooper used eight players, senior guard Ashley Corral ignoring back, ankle and knee injuries to help her team. The former Prairie High (Vancouver) star finished with nine points and three assists in 34 minutes in her final game at UW.
Washington’s largest lead of the second half was 47-43 after a short jumper by senior forward Mollie Williams. USC (17-11, 11-6) continued to hang around behind the play of Marinacci and Gilbreath, one of the conference’s top defenders. Gilbreath finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
Washington freshman Jazmine Davis led her team with 18 points while Rogers had 11 points and eight boards, hindered by fouls.
“It’s tough. She picked up quick fouls in the first half and then was trying to dance around and not pick up anymore,” said McGuff of Rogers. “That’s the reality we were in, and it’s not how I want to play. I don’t think she can be at her best like that.”
Seeding for the Pac-12 tournament was also on the line, with USC remaining third in the conference. The top four teams get first-round byes in the tournament next week in Los Angeles, No. 2 Stanford (first) and California (second) already securing slots.
Washington dropped into a three-way tie for seventh place with Oregon and Utah.
“I thought we were really good defensively, (USC) shot 32.3 percent,” said McGuff, whose team ends its regular season against UCLA on Saturday. “But they beat us on the boards (38-33) and we had too many turnovers, and they converted those turnovers into baskets.”
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Percentages: FG .23, FT .773. Three-point goals: 3-12, (Marinacci 0-1, Gilbreath 0-1, B. Gilbreath 0-1, Corral 1-5, Bradley 2-3, Crook 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 2, (Marinacci, B. Gilbreath). Turnovers: 11, (Marinacci, Harberts, B. Gilbreath 2, S. Gilbreath, Bradley 2, Crook 3, Vaioletama). Steals: 9, (Marinacci 4, B. Gilbreath 3, S. Gilbreath, Corral).
Percentages: FG .31, FT .588. Three-point goals: 1-7, (Wetmore 0-2, Davis 0-2, A. Williams 1-2, M. Williams 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 7, (Rogers 2, Wetmore, Anderson, M. Williams 2, A. Williams). Turnovers: 19, (Argens 4, Rogers 3, Wetmore 3, Davis 4, McCann-Smith, A. Williams 3). Steals: 5, (Argens, Rogers, A. Williams 2, M. Williams).
Officials: Marianne Karp, Clarke Stevens, Kenneth Nash. Technical fouls: None. A — 1,540