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Kayla Padilla hits big 3-pointers as USC women beat Arizona in double-OT – Daily News

By JOHN MARSHALL AP Basketball Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. — Kayla Padilla hit a tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation and made another key 3-pointer in the second overtime, lifting the seventh-ranked USC women’s basketball team to a 95-93 victory over Arizona on Thursday night.

USC (22-5 overall, 12-5 Pac-12) blew out the Wildcats (16-13, 8-9) less than a month ago, but used a big run to take a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Trojans fought back despite star freshman sensation JuJu Watkins fouling out, scoring five points in the final 16 seconds to force overtime. Kaitlyn Davis hit a jumper after an offensive rebound and Padilla hit a tying 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left after two more offensive boards.

Neither team could take control until Padilla hit a corner 3-pointer to put USC ahead 92-89 in the second overtime. Helena Pueyo made two free throws with 6.3 seconds left to pull the Wildcats within 94-93 and Rayah Marshall made one of two free throws.

Arizona’s Jada Williams had a good look at the buzzer, but her 3-point attempt clanged off the back of the rim.

Marshall led USC with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Watkins had 20 before fouling out with just under two minutes left in regulation.

Pueyo had 21 points and Skylar Jones added 19 points to lead Arizona.

USC made 11 3-pointers in the teams’ first meeting, an 81-64 victory at the Galen Center earlier this month.

Arizona was a different team early in its final Pac-12 game against USC at McKale Center, buoyed by the home crowd and its first sweep of the Pac-12’s Bay Area schools since 2001 last week.

Feeding off the energy, the Wildcats swarmed USC early and took a 33-31 lead into halftime.

BIG PICTURE

USC: The Trojans struggled to find much of an offensive rhythm against Arizona until late and pulled out a gutty win with their star freshman watching from the bench.

Arizona: The Wildcats appeared to be in position to pull off their second victory over a top-10 team in a week. Arizona faded late in regulation to allow USC to tie it and couldn’t make the key plays down the stretch in the second overtime.

UP NEXT

USC plays at Arizona State on Saturday at 11 a.m. PT.

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