Los Angeles, CA - Southern Cal (3-1) used a 20-3 run early in the second half and withstood a pair of furious Georgia (3-1) rallies en route to a 71-63 victory at the Galen Center on Tuesday night.
The Women of Troy built an 11-point lead and made that margin hold up when the Lady Bulldogs closed the gap to two points on three occasions.
Porsha Phillips notched her third double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 19 boards, and Jasmine James scored 15 points for the Lady Bulldogs. Phillips' rebound count represented the most by a Georgia player since Katrina McClain had 22 boards against Valdosta State in December 1986.
Ashley Corral scored a game-high 17 points for the Women of Troy, including a trio of huge three-pointers, and Jackie Gemelos chipped in 14 off the bench.
After the teams traded early baskets, the Lady Bulldogs used an 8-0 run to grab the game's first significant lead at 10-4 at the 13:04 mark.
Georgia gradually expanded that margin to 19-8 on a Phillips jumper before the Women of Troy chipped away to close within a bucket at 27-25 with 4:33 remaining in the period.
"We missed an opportunity early to create some distance," head coach Andy Landers said. "We built a lead but we came down and passed one time and launched a three. The problem with that is that we weren't making them do anything on defense. We were open, but we were three or four feet behind the three-point line."
Southern Cal finally knotted the score at 31-31 on a Gemelos three with 51 seconds left in the period and neither team scored before intermission.
Georgia opened the second stanza quickly and built a 39-33 lead before the Women of Troy embarked on their 20-3 surge.
After Southern Cal led 53-42 with 10:09 remaining, a Phillips stickback started a 9-0 run. The Lady Bulldogs failed to convert on two chances to tie the contest, including a painful rattle-out, hook shot from Tamika Willis.
A Len'Nique Brown three, a basket from Corral and a Kari LaPlante three throw put USC back ahead by eight before Georgia surged again. A three from Meredith Mitchell closed it to 59-57, but the Lady Bulldogs couldn't get over the hump.
Phillips missed a baseline jumper, but it appeared that Georgia had secured the offensive rebound. Corral knocked the ball from Anne Marie Armstrong's hands and a scramble ensued. The ball rolled out of bounds and was last touched by James.
After a Gemelos three, Armstrong answered with a triple to make it 62-60. Briana Gilbreath hit a three from the right corner as Southern Cal outscored the Lady Bulldogs 11-3 the rest of the way.
"As we got behind, we made a good run or two and cut it to two," Landers said. "Each time we either missed the shot or turned the ball over. We had some critical turnovers in the second half that in large measure weren't forced."
The Women of Troy were 13-of-16 from the line, while Georgia was just 4-of-11.
Georgia will remain in Los Angeles through the week and compete in the Courtyard Marriott Westside Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Classic on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Bulldogs will face Denver in the tournament's opening round on Friday at approximately 6 p.m. ET.