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USC Women in Final With Georgia : Trojans Rout Missouri, 118-68, Setting a Team Record

December 28, 1985|JULIE CART | Times Staff Writer

Today's championship game of the Transamerica-USC women's basketball tournament looks like a battle not only of good teams but also of good memories.

No. 2-ranked Georgia remembers every free basket that No. 3-ranked USC has scored against it, ever.

And when the two basketball teams meet in today's final at 1 p.m. in the Sports Arena, USC will surely blush at the memory of its humbling in Athens last season.

"That was one of the worst games we played last season," USC Coach Linda Sharp said. The Trojans (10-1) have a chance for revenge, owing to a 118-68 bombing of Missouri (6-3) in front of 1,842 fans Friday night. The 118 points were a record for the USC women. The previous high, 117, was most recently scored last Sunday against Oregon State.

Georgia advanced after an 87-70 win over North Carolina.

"Our team has been starving for a close game," Georgia Coach Andy Landers said earlier in the week.

The Lady Bulldogs will have no more anemia. They have plowed through a light early season schedule, beating Cincinnati by 51 points and scoring 108 against Middle Tennessee.

Georgia has to live with the consequences of its shutdown of Miller last season. The Lady Bulldogs won, 77-56, and Lisa O'Connor held Miller to a career-low 12 points.

It will be O'Connor's lot to guard Miller again tonight, and she knows that Miller knows.

"I'm sure she remembers it," O'Connor said, smiling. "Everybody says, 'How many are you going to hold her to?' She'll probably get 30 points on me.

"Last time, I didn't really do anything special. My role was to play Cheryl, forget everything else, deny Cheryl the ball. She can't score if she doesn't have the ball."

One difference this season for the Trojans is Cynthia Cooper. If Georgia keys on Miller, Cooper, who is averaging 17.8 points a game, is able to pick up the slack.

Cooper may have to, since with two black eyes, Miller looks like a member of the Addams Family. In addition, Miller's sore right knee and general body wounds left her sluggish Friday night.

Missouri and North Carolina meet in the consolation game at 11 a.m., with the championship game to follow.

USC and Georgia are similar in content as well as style. USC may run more, but Georgia will run with more control. Both teams are weak inside. The Trojans rely on an excellent perimeter game, whereas the Lady Bulldogs will move the ball around the back court and take the high percentage shot.

Teresa Edwards, with her average of 17 points a game, is an obvious force for Georgia. But O'Connor cannot be overlooked as a scorer, and neither can Traci Waites, who had 15 points Friday night, and Katrina (The Tree) McClain, who had 20.

The Trojans ran to a 60-31 lead in the first half, despite ragged play. Miller continued to take a beating but led all scorers with 15 points in the first half.

Sharp liberally sprinkled substitutes in the first half, and the benchers rose to the challenge. Karon Howell, who has a deadly jump shot, scored eight points, Cherie Nelson had six and tiny Kalen Wright scored only one but had four rebounds.

Miller, who sat encased in ice packs for much of the second half, led all scorers with 22 points. Nelson had 17 and Rhonda Windham was at her most productive with 15 points.

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