Behind a remarkable second-half performance from guard Briana Gilbreath, in which the sophomore scored 15 points in the half and eight points in one five-minute stretch, the USC women managed to beat seventh-seeded Oregon, 80-76, on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament.
The Women of Troy (19-11) are hosting the tourney at the Galen Center. USC got 19 points from Gilbreath, 16 from point guard Ashley Corral and 15 from center Kari LaPlante, but three Oregon players scored at least 18 points to keep the Ducks in the game.
At the half, USC led 39-34. But Oregon put together a small run to lead 64-59 with nine minutes left. On USC's next possession, Gilbreath picked up an offensive rebound and converted a three-point play. Gilbreath then stole the ball away from Oregon's Taylor Lilley and put in another layup to tie the score, and on Oregon's next possession, she blocked the shot of Oregon's Micaela Cocks and dished the ball to Hailey Dunham for a jumper that gave USC the lead, 66-64.
Oregon (16-15) got as close as 72-71 with a minute and nine seconds to play, but Corral hit a big 3-pointer to ice the game. Corral finished with four assists and six rebounds; Gilbreath added four assists, seven rebounds and game-high totals of five steals and four blacks.
Third-seeded USC now moves to face second-seeded UCLA on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Galen Center. The Bruins easily handled 1oth-seeded Oregon State on Friday night, 60-44.
Notes: Gilbreath was named Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday in a vote of the conference's 10 coaches. ... USC also announced today that defensive tackle Hebron 'Loni' Fangupo and cornerback Marshall Jones were granted medical hardship waivers by the NCAA, giving each of them another two years of eligibility.