USC Takes Stubborn UCLA Out : College basketball: Trojans overcome Lisa Leslie’s foul trouble and Bruin center Natalie Williams’ performance.


The USC women’s basketball team got only half a game out of foul-troubled Lisa Leslie and also had to overcome poor first-half shooting Friday night, but still finished strong to beat UCLA, 85-70.

The Trojans--who outscored UCLA, 49-30, after a tightly played first half--preserved their No. 5 national ranking and moved to 16-1 overall and 9-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference before 1,609 at the Lyon Center. UCLA is 10-8, 5-4.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Feb. 9, 1994 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday February 9, 1994 Home Edition Sports Part C Page 10 Column 1 Sports Desk 1 inches; 17 words Type of Material: Correction
Women’s basketball--A photo in Saturday’s editions transposed the names of UCLA’s Kisa Hughes and Natalie Williams.

Leslie, the Trojans’ 6-5 senior All-American, was matched against 6-1 senior Natalie Williams, who tore USC apart after Leslie went to the bench in the first half with her third foul, barely six minutes into the game.


Williams, one of the nation’s best rebounders, finished with a career high 23 rebounds. But in the first half, when UCLA was driving to a 40-36 lead, she had 21 points and 16 rebounds. She finished with a game-high 28 points in 39 minutes.

Williams’ 23 rebounds were the second highest one-game figure in UCLA history, behind 25 by Denise Curry in 1978. And it was Williams’ fifth 20-rebound game.

But few of those occurred with Leslie in the game. Leslie, the national leader for the player-of-the-year award, played 20 minutes and had 17 points and 14 rebounds.

UCLA got what it needed early--Leslie in foul trouble--but Kathy Olivier’s team needed a bigger lead than it could achieve with Leslie out.

USC shot 41.9% from the field after hitting only 29.3% in the first half. UCLA shot only 30.6% for the game.

The Bruins’ first-half lead reached 29-19 at one point, but USC had recaptured the lead by the time Leslie picked up her fourth foul with 10:39 to play.


Tina Thompson, a freshman from Inglewood, scored eight points in a four-minute span that resulted in a 55-49 USC lead, shortly before Leslie went out with her fourth foul.

Olivier paid tribute to the winners afterward.

“They’re very good,” she said. “What are they ranked, fifth? They’re in the top four in the country. They got to rest their starters in the first half tonight, then they poured it on in the second half.

“It would have been nice to have Lisa and Natalie on the floor at the same time--it’s too bad we have referees.”

USC Coach Cheryl Miller saluted some substitutes who brought their team to a driving finish--Jody Anton and Cindy Page. Anton, a sophomore from Brea who has played with a hip pointer for a month, had a string of missed three-pointers in the first half, but finally found the range.

She sank two while USC was opening the margin midway through the second half.

Thompson gave USC the lead for keeps at 47-46 with 16:08 to go. After that, with Leslie in the game and hitting short jumpers, the Trojans quickly produced an 11-point lead, on Anton’s three-pointer.

Thompson, Miller said, has registered three major efforts in a row.

“Tina is a freshman-of-the-year candidate now, and if she keeps this up, she’s an All-American candidate,” Miller said.


“Tina shut down Rachel Hemmer of Stanford last week. She’s just done a great job.”

Rapidly improving junior off guard Karleen Shields had 15 points and two steals in 21 minutes.