USC Women Turn The Tide On Utah For 55-47 Comeback Win
Jan. 5, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team drummed up its fifth straight win in remarkable fashion today, breaking out of a late seven-point hole by crafting a 16-0 run into the lead while also forcing five turnovers by visiting Utah in the final 4:20 of play. The Trojans captured their fifth straight win on a 55-47 comeback victory over the Utes, with Cassie Harberts hauling in a double-double and Brianna Barrett pouring in 10 of her final 17 points in the final 2:48 of the game to charge up USC to victory at the Galen Center. USC improves to 10-5 overall and is now 3-0 in Pac-12 play. Utah goes to 7-6, 0-2
Utah was up by one point with 7:25 to go in the first half but would manage only a lone 3-pointer the rest of the way as USC crafted a 23-19 halftime lead. By the break, USC's Cassie Harberts was in double figures for the 11th straight game, leading USC's offensive effort with 11 points as the Trojans shot 33 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes of action. Utah was shooting 29 percent at the break, but was outrebounding the Women of Troy 23-13. The rebounding advantage stayed powerfully in Utah's hands down the stretch, finishing 49-33 in the Utes' favor, but it was the turnover count that spelled doom for Utah.
Once down by seven with 4:10 to go in the game, USC snapped to attention and put on a press. What followed was a 16-0 USC scoring run, fueled by five Utah turnovers and an 11-of-14 free-throw effort but the Trojans in the final stretch. USC scored more points from the line than it did from the floor in the second half, where the Trojans cooled down to 23 percent shooting. Two buckets from Barrett and another from Kate Oliver in the last 1:30 helped the Trojans pad their lead and finish up the game shooting 28 percent, while Utah wound up at 32 percent. By the final horn, Utah had committed 21 turnovers to only seven by the Women of Troy.
Brianna Barrett finished as the hero, netting a career-high 17 points for the Trojans to lead all scorers, while senior Cassie Harberts added 16 for USC along with 11 rebounds to notch her fifth double-double of the season and 21st of her career. Utah's Michelle Plouffe led the Utes with 15 points, and Danielle Rodriguez had 11, with Emily Potter pulling down 11 rebounds.
The Trojans and the Utes were even at a 5-for-16 effort from the floor with 5:30 to go in the half, but USC had a one-point advantage thanks to some extra success from the free-throw line. Cassie Harberts had handed the Trojans slim leads on two visits to the line, and she'd pad out the USC lead with a jumper at the 5:10 mark. Another Harberts blast got the senior into double figures for the 11th consecutive game, and the Trojans carried a 23-19 lead into the locker room.
Utah heated up in the second half, landing three key 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes to steal back the lead and get ahead of the Trojans 38-30 with entering the 10-minute mark. Brianna Barrett hit USC's first 3-pointer of the day with 8:20 on the clock, breaking up four minutes of scoring silence for the Trojans. Barrett and Harberts combined forces from the line next to carry the Trojans along on a 6-0 run that pulled USC to within three, down 39-36 with 6:50 remaining. Utah's Michelle Plouffe manufactured five straight points for the Utes to pump up the visitors to a 45-38 lead entering the final four minutes.
Unable to get a bucket to fall from the floor, USC instead made the most of its opportunities at the free-throw line. Barrett nailed four and Kate Oliver added two to make it a one-point game with 1:54 left -- USC down 45-44 to the Utes. Utah came up empty on its end, under pressure by the full-court pressing Women of Troy. Barrett went strong to the hole to bring USC the lead, then finished off a feed from a steal by Alexyz Vaioletama, and the Trojans were up 48-45 with 1:15 to go. Utah turned the ball over again, and Oliver scored off the next opportunity, making it a 12-0 Trojan run. Barrett nabbed the steal next, and deposited two more free throws through for the Trojan cause. USC was now up to its largest lead of the game, with a 52-45 advantage with 40 seconds left. Again, Utah turned the ball over, while Jordan Adams increased the USC scoring spurt to 16 straight points. Danielle Rodriguez managed the first Utah points in 4 and a half minutes, but that wasn't near enough as the Trojans pocketed a 55-47 victory.
USC now hits the road for a journey through Arizona next week. The Trojans will visit Arizona State for a 6 p.m. game on Friday (Jan. 10) before heading to Tucson to take on Arizona at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 12).