No. 17 UCLA women hold off USC 63-58

  • Article by: TOM CONNOLLY
  • Associated Press
  • February 24, 2013 - 6:54 PM

LOS ANGELES - Nirra Fields and Thea Lemberger each scored 12 points and No. 17 UCLA held off a second half Southern Cal rally to beat the Trojans 63-58 on Sunday.

The pair also combined for 11 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 steals to lead the Bruins (21-6, 12-4 Pac-12), which has won 8 of 10.

USC (8-19, 5-11), after winning its first four conference games this season, have dropped eight straight and 11 of 12.

Fields' basket with 9:09 to play gave the Bruins a 47-32 lead. However, the Trojans battled back and cut the lead to 51-50 on a basket by Cassie Harberts with 3:05 remaining.

Kari Korver followed with a 3-pointer and Markel Walker added a basket to give the Bruins a 56-52 cushion with 1:09 left. Lemberger and Mariah Williams made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the win for UCLA.

Walker also scored 11 points for UCLA.

Harberts led USC with 22 points and 11 rebounds — her 8th double-double of the season. Ariya Crrook scored 16 points for the Trojans.

Last Tuesday UCLA defeated USC 68-54 and have now beaten the Trojans in 6 of their last 8 contests. USC's 19 losses this season are the second most in the programs history.

UCLA finishes the regular season at home with an 11-4 mark and is currently in third place in the conference with two games to play.

Both teams got off to a slow start.

UCLA starting forward, Jasmine Dixon, was knocked to the floor and injured at the 17:33 mark of the first half. She left the game, but returned four minutes later. The Bruins other starting forward, Alyssia Brewer, committed her second foul at 15:46 and only played 9 minutes in the first half.

After taking an 8-4 lead, USC went over six minutes without scoring a basket. The Bruins took advantage and went on an 8-0 run. Brewer's free throw gave UCLA a 12-8 lead with 9:05 left in the half. A 3-pointer by Fields and baskets Kacy Swain and Lemberger propelled the Bruins to a 21-12 lead with 4:42 remaining in the opening half.

A free throw by Harberts with 1:00 to go cut UCLA's lead to 27-22 lead at the break.

Both teams shot 30 percent in the first half. The Trojans held a 25-20 rebounding edge but committed 17 turnovers in the opening half. Harberts led the Trojans with 7 points and 6 rebounds in the first and Fields led UCLA with 6 points.

In a pregame ceremony, UCLA seniors Williams, Walker, Brewer and Jasmine Dixon were honored in their final home game at Pauley Pavilion. USC senior, Christina Marinacci, was also recognized by the UCLA home crowd.

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