Corral's Season High Helps USC Get Weekend Split
Friday night, USC guard Ashley Corral could barely participate. Two days later, she could hardly miss.
Corral finished with a season-high 26 points Sunday afternoon as the Women of Troy (16-9, 8-6) defeated Cal (14-12, 6-9) 80-67.
She knocked down 7-of-8 three-point attempts, including six in the first half.
It was a stark change from Friday night when she managed only five points in a season-low 12 minutes due to a sprained right ankle.
Without the full services of their second-leading scorer, USC fell to No. 3 Stanford 78-64. Jeanette Pohlen led the Cardinal with 19 points.
-- BREAKING IT DOWN --
By the Numbers
- 70 - In the second half Friday night, Stanford shot 64 percent. However, before the Cardinal bench players entered the game with two minutes remaining, they had made 14-of-20 second half shots. It's hard to beat any team that shoots 70 percent in a half, much less the No. 3 team in the nation.
- 15 - Senior Kari LaPlante scored a season-high 15 points against Cal on 6-of-10 shooting. It was the first time this season she has scored in double figures.
- 3-of-5 - From the 2005-06 season to the end of the 2008-09 regular season, Cal defeated the Women of Troy eight consecutive times. Since then, USC has won three of the last five meetings.
- 53.7 - The Women of Troy shot a season-high 53.7 percent as a team against Cal on Sunday. Their previous high this year was also against the Golden Bears when they shot 52.8 percent in a loss at Cal.
- 64.5 - USC also had its best shooting half of the season against Cal. In the first half, the Trojans shot better than 60 percent for only the third time this season. They made 20-of-31 shots, including seven of their 12 three-point attempts.
- 0 - For only the second time this season, Briana Gilbreath went steal-less. Against Cal, she did not record a single steal. She entered the weekend tied for 34th nationally in steals per game with 2.8 per contest.
- 6-1 - The Women of Troy are now 6-1 this season when playing on Sunday.
Top Player: Ashley Corral.
After going through a prolonged shooting struggle, Corral seemed to break out on a road trip to Oregon State and Oregon. The junior became USC's all-time career leader in 3-pointers made and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark on the road trip.
However, she played only 12 minutes Friday night against Stanford due to the injured ankle she sustained in practice earlier in the week.
She immediately made up for the missed time on Sunday against Cal. She knocked down a pair of 3-pointers on USC's first two possessions. She stayed hot, knocking down four more 3-pointers to give her 18 first half points.
"That felt good tonight," she said. "But that was just created by my teammates. They set great picks for me."
In the second half, she added eight points to give her a season-high 26 points -- one shy of her career high.
Unsung Hero: Stefanie Gilbreath.
"I was so excited to see her out there," Stanford coach Tara Vanderveer said. "Afterwards, I gave her a hug and told her, 'It's great to see you out there, but you don't have to be bombing those threes on me.'"
Gilbreath, who missed a significant portion of this season and missed the last three years with knee ligament injuries, was nearly perfect from the field, making 6-of-7 field goals, including 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.
"She has worked so hard to get out there. I'm glad if it's anyone making them, it's her," Vanderveer said. "You just hope she continues to stay healthy."
"Step It Up:" Cassie Harberts.
Despite playing a combined 69 of the 80 minutes this weekend, Harberts' production was scant. The freshman from San Clemente High had only eight points and 10 rebounds in the two games.
She also turned the ball over three times while only recording one assist.
Where They Stand:
The Women of Troy are 3-3 in their last six games, but they have been in each of the losses, including to then-No. 7 UCLA and Sunday's loss to No. 3 Stanford. USC has shown it is capable of playing with anyone in the country, but the Trojans still have not solidified a position in the NCAA Tournament.
Coach Michael Cooper said his team turned the corner following the February loss to UCLA. He said that his team's growth was evident in the Stanford game after the Trojans lost 95-51 in the first matchup with the Cardinal.
"Our defense is definitely getting better," Cooper said. "And as our defense gets better, it gives us more opportunities to work on our offense."
Last year, USC finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak and Sunday's win gives the Women of Troy an opportunity to do the same this season. However, they have their work cut out for them this week when they go on the road to Arizona State and Arizona.
USC and Arizona State are tied for third place in the Pac-10 while Arizona is right behind, one game back. The Trojans and Sun Devils are both just inside the cutoff for the NCAA Tournament listed as a No. 9 and a No. 10 seed, according to ESPN's Bracketology.
This weekend's matchups between the Pac-10's 2-5 seeds, with second-seeded UCLA also traveling to play both Arizona schools, could go a long way toward establishing how many and which teams the Pac-10 gets into the NCAA Tournament.
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