Jan. 14, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Senior Rebekah Gardner had a game-high 20 points and made 8-of-9 from the free throw line, but the Bruins fell 47-43 to USC on Saturday at the John Wooden Center.
The Bruins fall to 7-9 overall and 2-3 in league action, while the Trojans improve to 9-6 and 4-1 in Pac-12 play.
Gardner was the only Bruin in double figures in points, as junior Mariah Williams added eight points, four rebounds and three steals, sophomore Corinne Costa totaled six points, five boards and two blocks and sophomore Thea Lemberger produced five points and four rebounds. Junior Markel Walker tied a career high with 14 rebounds to go with four points and five assists. The Bruins shot 30.4% from the field for the game, but made 9-of-12 (75%) from the free throw line, their fifth-straight contest with at least a 75% free throw percentage.
The Trojans jumped out to an early lead, going on runs of 5-0, 10-4 and 16-8, to take an eight-point advantage seven minutes into the contest. USC still led by eight at 19-11 before UCLA came back to equal the score at 19 with an 8-0 run over a four-minute stretch. Consecutive buckets by Gardner, Lemberger and Costa, and a pair of free throws from Gardner, tied things up with 6:14 left in the first half.
A USC layup gave the visitors the lead back, but six in a row by UCLA on hoops from Gardner, Costa and Walker made it 25-21 in favor of the home team. The Bruins held the Trojans to just two points over a nine-minute stretch, but USC scored the last five of the opening stanza to take a 26-25 edge to the locker room. Gardner paced the Bruins with eight points in the first half, while Costa and Williams added six apiece. The Bruins shot 35.5% (11-31) from the floor.
The Bruins took the lead back to start the second half on a three-point play from Gardner to make it 28-26. UCLA extended its advantage to four at 34-30 four minutes into the second half, but the Bruins went nine minutes between points, as USC went on an 8-0 run to go ahead 38-34 with 6:39 remaining.
A layup and a pair of free throws by Gardner equaled the score at 38, but the Bruins were unable to grab the lead back. USC scored the next five to lead 43-38 with five minutes to go. Trailing 44-41 with 23 seconds left, a jumper from Williams cut the deficit to one. Following a foul, the Trojans made one of two free throws on the other end, but Lemberger missed a jumper with five seconds left that would have tied the game. USC made a pair from the line following another UCLA foul and won it 47-43. Gardner scored 12 of the Bruins' 18 points in the second half, as they shot 24% (6-25) as a team.
Ashley Corral was the lone Trojan in double figures in points with 10, adding eight rebounds and eight assists.
The Bruins continue their three-game homestand next Thursday against Oregon State at 7 p.m. at the John Wooden Center.