USC Women Cool Down No. 12 Colorado With 55-45 Upset Win
Jan. 03, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team held No. 12 Colorado scoreless for the first seven minutes and last four minutes of tonight's Pac-12 clash at the Galen Center en route to an impressive 55-45 upset of the Buffaloes by the Women of Troy. USC's first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 came with a focused finish by the Trojans, who shrugged off six ties and 10 lead changes to clamp down and end the game on a 13-0 run to victory. The upset win marks USC's fourth straight win for a 9-5 overall record and a 2-0 start to Pac-12 play. No. 12 Colorado takes just its second loss of the year in going to 10-2 overall for an 0-1 Pac-12 record.
After an 0-for-12 start, Colorado was able to warm up to a cool 21 percent in the half. It was enough of a warmup to cut into what had been a 12-point USC lead and make it a 23-20 margin with the Trojans in the lead at the break, shooting 26 percent from the floor. The tough Trojan defensive effort had the Buffs with a season-low 20- points at the half, while both teams held more rebounds than points with USC up 25-23 on the boards. In the second half, the Buffs worked into the lead for the first time, and were up by three points with 4:01 remaining. The Trojans locked in and dominated the rest of the game, getting four players in on the scoring to finish out the victory. USC ended up shooting 31 percent from the floor to Colorado's 28 percent. Both were season lows for the teams, but it was a marked drop off for the Buffs, who came into this game shooting 44 percent overall and averaging 77.5 points per game. USC won out on the boards as well, 45-41, and tallied a season-high 10 blocks in the victory.
Cassie Harberts led all scorers with 19 points, finishing just a rebound away from a double-double with nine on the night. She would climb up in the USC record books as well, taking over at No. 12 all-time with 1,498 career points. Desiree Bradley joined her in double figures with 11 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line. Colorado received 13 points from Brittany Wilson and 12 from Ashley Wilson.
Colorado was a frigid 0-for-12 from the start while the Trojans built up a 9-0 lead on their visitors. The USC defense drummed up five blocks on the Buffs in the first five minutes while keeping Colorado silent until the 13:21 mark of the game. Ashley Wilson manufactured Colorado's first points with a runner to the hole, only to see USC's Kate Oliver drain a jumper later to get USC an 11-2 advantage with 12:30 on the clock. That was just USC's second field goal in that stretch, with Alexyz Vaioletama nailing a 3-pointer early, but USC was a perfect 6-for-6 form the line in crafting that lead. Vaioletama would provide an authoritative three-point play for the Trojans with 9:51 to go, and USC was up 15-3 on the Buffs. Colorado was able to find a spark next, however, outscoring USC with a 12-2 run to pull it to a 17-15 USC lead entering the last three mintues of the half. At 2:40 Brianna Barrett snapped over six minutes of Trojan silence from the floor with a bucket that got USC up 19-15, and the Women of Troy would wind up carrying a 23-20 lead into the locker room.
The game tied up at the 18:52 mark of the second half as Colorado wrapped two baskets around a single Harberts free throw. The lead got tugged back and forth from there as Colorado's Brittany Wilson got hot from 3-point land with back-to-back threes for the Buffs to go up 32-30 at 15:50. With back-to-back buckets, Harberts worked her way up to No. 12 all-time in the record books in taking the Trojans back ahead, up 37-35 with 8:55 to go. After the fifth tie of the game at 37-37 at 7:35, the lead switched hands six more times in the next four minutes until Harberts weighed in with a successful visit to the stripe and then an offensive board and score to follow and put USC up 48-45 with 2:25 to go. A Colorado shot clock violation came next with 1:56 remaining, and Barrett came up big with a take to the hoop in the final minute for a Trojan boost to a five-point lead. Harberts would take a trip to the line for two tries with 33 seconds on the clock. The senior buried both, and would step up to the line again just six seconds later after a Colorado turnover forced the Buffs to foul again and again while the Trojans put them out of reach for a final 55-45 victory.
USC now looks to make it a five-game win streak when Utah comes to the Galen Center on Sunday (Jan. 5) for a 4 p.m. contest to be televised on Pac-12 Networks.