Jan 16, 2003
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - No. 22-ranked Arizona survived a late surge by USC, and received 19 points and 12 rebounds from Shawntinice Polk, for a 79-76 victory at home on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (11-4, 5-2) had a 75-61 lead with 4:21 remaining in the game before USC went on a 15-4 run. A couple of key three-pointers in the final two minutes by Ebony Hoffman and Aisha Hollans helped to trim the deficit to 79-74 with 1:24 left.
USC's Rometra Craig got the Trojans within 79-76 on a driving lay-in, but she failed to tie the game with eight seconds left on an errant three-pointer. The Wildcats missed key free throws down the stretch but hung on to extend USC's (6-11, 1-5) losing streak to four straight.
Polk, held out of the starting lineup for violation of team rules, still recorded her 11th double-double out of her 15 career games.
The freshman came up big midway through the second half after USC trimmed a 12-point second-half deficit to 60-56 with 8:52 remaining. Polk regained control for Arizona with an offensive put-back and three free throws to give the Wildcats a nine-point cushion with 7:41 left.
Arizona also received 23 points from Dee-Dee Wheeler, while Robin Roberson scored 13. Aimee Grzyb added 11. USC was led by the 21 points apiece from Hoffman and Hollans. Craig finished with 17.
The Wildcats led by 12 points in the opening seconds of the second half, but the Women of Troy were brought to within striking distance after Hoffman converted inside and Craig nailed a three-pointer, before Polk took control of the lane.
Arizona trailed by one with 10:38 left in the first half when it scored 10 straight points to take a 25-16 lead, with Polk scoring six in that span. The Wildcats then went ahead 31-19 with 3:48 remaining after holding USC to one field goal in nearly seven minutes.