USC Women Hold Off Late Gonzaga Comeback To Win 60-56 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

USC Women Hold Off Late Gonzaga Comeback To Win 60-56

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Southern California women's basketball team held off a furious late Gonzaga rally and grabbed a 60-56 road win in the 2015 Naismith Hall of Fame Women's Challenge Tuesday.

The Trojans (5-0) continued their best start in program history since the 1993-94 season. USC built a 15-point lead in the second half, before the Bulldogs trimmed the lead to one in the final minute. Southern Cal made key stops and forced turnovers to seal the victory.

Southern California turned 22 GU turnovers into 22 points. The Trojans committed 13 turnovers. After shooting 57.7 percent from the field in the first half, USC finished the game at 44.2 percent. The Trojans had a 14-8 advantage in assists and a 12-5 edge in steals. Southern Cal also had the 32-20 advantage in the paint. Gonzaga outrebounded its opponent for the sixth straight game this season, 32-20.

Trailing 5-4 three minutes into the game, the Zags went on a 13-4 run to take a 17-9 lead with 2:25 left in the first quarter. After leading 21-15 at the end of the first quarter, GU took its largest lead of the game by nine points just into the second period. The Bulldogs led 26-17 with 8:07 left in the first half.

The Trojans then held Gonzaga scoreless for six minutes and went on a 26-2 run that carried into the third quarter. USC led 36-28 at halftime. With Southern Cal leading 43-28, a jumper from Zhané Templeton ended the Zags' drought at the 5:04 mark of the third quarter. The Trojans led 51-38 at the end of the third quarter.

Gonzaga (4-2) used a 16-4 run over the first eight and a half minutes of the fourth quarter to climb within one. A pair of free-throws from Jill Barta cut the score to 55-54 with 1:28 left in the game. After getting a steal, the Bulldogs turned the ball over. USC would hit two free-throws, before Barta made two more to trim the lead back to one with 39 seconds remaining. But, another GU turnover and two more Trojan free-throws would follow. Trailing by three points with 25 seconds left, the Zags final possession led to a turnover, and one more free-throw by Southern California.

Southern California's Temi Fagbenle scored a season-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. The graduate student added four blocks and five rebounds.

Elle Tinkle led GU with 12 points. Kiara Kudron was a rebound shy of her third double-double of the season with 11 points and nine boards. Barta finished with 11 points.Shelby Cheslek had nine points and 11 rebounds. She moved into sixth all-time on the program's career rebound list with 702.

The Bulldogs travel to Uncasville, Conn., for their final game of the Hall of Fame Challenge. Gonzaga faces North Carolina (4-2) in the Mohegan Sun Arena Sunday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. Live video will be available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Live stats will be available on GoZags.com. A live broadcast will also be on the Toyota Gonzaga IMG Network on KJRB 790 AM. 

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