The USC women’s basketball team used a 12-2 run late in the first half as a launching pad for a 70-65 Pacific 10 victory over UCLA Friday night before 1,750 at the Sports Arena.

Fourth-place USC (17-7 overall, 10-6 in the conference) won for the fourth time in five games and has two games remaining.

Senior guard Karleen Shields ignited the nine-minute Trojan run late in the first half, before she had to be helped off the court because of a leg injury. She returned, and in fact had the steady hand at the finish, securing a key backcourt rebound and sinking four free throws, all in the last 22 seconds.


But the Bruins (5-11, 10-15), never really recovered from the Shields-led first run, when USC went from a 25-24 lead to 37-26. Midway through that rally, Shields stole the ball at halfcourt and drove for a layup, sank a baseline jumper and scored underneath.

UCLA had led five times before the run, but when the rally ended, the Trojans had a 39-31 halftime lead. Cheryl Miller’s team frittered most of that away with UCLA once coming as close as three points.

Tina Thompson led USC with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Shields scored 16. Jody Anton, who had two midcourt steals in the first-half spurt, played a solid 40 minutes and had six assists.

USC forward Rashida Jeffrey left the game with 6:24 to play because of an ankle sprain.

UCLA’s Kisa Hughes had 16 points and 10 rebounds.