Gnekow Fuels Win for USC
USC guard Meghan Gnekow was warming up for Friday night’s game against Washington when someone walked by and wished her luck.
Luck wasn’t on Gnekow’s mind. Glancing toward the Huskies, who were warming up on the opposite end of the court, Gnekow commented, “We owe them one.”
Probably more than that, considering Washington had won six consecutive against USC, dating to Jan. 6, 2001.
But the Trojans (6-6, 3-1) smashed that streak with a 70-50 Pacific 10 women’s basketball victory before 827 in the campus Lyon Center.
And the 5-foot-11 sophomore’s fingerprints were all over the victory.
Others had more points -- Rometra Craig led the Trojans with 13, followed by Jamie Hagiya’s 12 and Eshaya Murphy’s 11 -- than Gnekow, who scored nine in 23 minutes. But she had a game-high eight rebounds, one steal and led the defensive effort to contain Washington senior guard Giuliana Mendiola, the Pac-10’s leading scorer this season. Mendiola, who celebrated her 22nd birthday Friday, had 13 points but only one field goal in the second half.
“I’ve been practicing all week on how to guard Giuliana, and had watched film before the game to get a feel for what I was doing,” Gnekow said. “But it wasn’t just me; our whole team did a great job of not letting them catch the ball and run her plays. It was everybody playing together.”
In limiting the Huskies (8-6, 1-4) to season lows in points and shooting percentage (39.2) USC forced 22 Washington turnovers and had 12 steals.
-- Mike Terry
UCLA 78, Washington State 58 -- The Bruins (7-6, 2-2) scored the first eight points of the first half and the first 16 points of the second half to run away from the Cougars (4-10, 0-5) in a Pac-10 game at Pauley Pavilion. Sophomore Lisa Willis led UCLA with a career-high 22 points, 19 in the second half.
It was the first time UCLA has won consecutive games this season. Freshman Noelle Quinn had a career-high 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Sophomore Nikki Blue joined them in double figures with 10 points.
The Bruins took an 18-3 lead after eight minutes of play before Washington State came back to cut its deficit to five, at 28-23, with 5:47 remaining in the half.
UCLA regained control, taking a 41-28 halftime lead after shooting 57.6% from the field. The Bruins shot 54.8% overall, their season best.
No. 18 DePaul 102, Louisville 83 -- Charlene Smith and Khara Smith each scored 26 points to lead the Blue Demons (13-1) over Louisville (8-6) in a Conference USA opener for both teams at Chicago.
No. 19 Texas Christian 69, Saint Louis 66 -- Ebony Shaw scored 19 points, and the Horned Frogs (12-2) rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to beat the Billikens (6-8) in a Conference USA opener for both teams at St. Louis.
Associated Press contributed to this report.