USC Women Sweep In Pac-12 Road Start
Jan. 6, 2013
EUGENE, ORE. - The USC women's basketball team finished off a road sweep with another gutsy final push to notch a 67-62 victory over host Oregon today in Eugene, Ore. The Trojans have turned a six-game skid into back-to-back wins to open Pac-12 play thanks to this tense trip through Oregon. USC never trailed in the second half, but the Ducks forced three ties in the final five minutes to test the Trojans in their quest for a road sweep. USC is now 5-8 overall and 2-0 in Pac-12 play, while Oregon goes to 2-12, 0-2.
USC had 11 steals at halftime while toting a slim 32-30 lead into the locker room after a slow start to the game. The Trojans were hitting at 35 percent from the floor to Oregon's 39 percent effort, as the Ducks were also hitting the boards harder, up 26-17 on USC. The Ducks remained consistent on the scoring front, but the Trojans refocused on their opportunities at the line in the second half, getting clutch free throws from sophomore Ariya Crook and Brianna Barrett in the final stretch to help USC maintain an edge. USC would finish out the game shooting 33 percent from the floor with a 62 percent effort at the line (16-of-26). Oregon shot 39 percent overall and outrebounded the Trojans 49-40, but hit just 8-of-18 free throws in the game.
USC's Cassie Harberts and Ariya Crook led all with 16 points apiece for the Trojans, who also had Brianna Barrett and Alexyz Vaioletama finish with 10 points each while Christina Marinacci pulled in a game-high 11 rebounds for USC. Oregon received 15 points from both Ariel Thomas and Amanda Delgado, with Jillian Alleyne a point away from a double-double with 9 points and 10 boards.
USC was just 1-of-12 from the floor early in the half and would trail the Ducks 13-7 after eight minutes of action. The Trojans found a groove and moved ahead 19-14 with a 7-0 scoring run that saw buckets from Kate Oliver, Ariya Crook and Kiki Alofaituli. A lapse from the Women of Troy opened up opportunities for the Ducks soon after, however, and Oregon manufactured a 12-3 run back out head of USC with a 26-22 advantage. That's when the USC backcourt kicked into gear, as Alexyz Vaioletama nailed a three and Brianna Barrett finished off a three-point play for a lift to a 28-26 Trojan edge with 5 minutes to go in the half. That slim lead would stand up through a messy final stretch, and USC emerged with the 32-30 advantage at halftime.
The Trojans came out focused and effective to start the second half, opening with a 6-0 run and later taking its largest lead with a 44-35 advantage on a 3-pointer from Harberts. Vaioletama would preserve that lead when she nailed a new career best with her third 3-pointer of the day to make it 49-40 Trojans with 14:05 on the clock. Oregon would get scrappy and cut it down to a three-point game with 6 minutes to go. A three-point play a bit later from Oregon's Jillian Alleynen had it locked up 55-55 with 4:35 on the clock before Ariya Crook drained a three - her third of the game - at 4:05 for a Trojan boost. With two minutes to go, it was snarled up 60-60. A good defensive stop led to a trip to the line for Ariya Crook with 1:49 to go. The sophomore nailed both ends of her one-and-one to take a 62-60 lead for the Trojans. Harberts would later hit the back end of her visit to the line, and USC had a 63-60 advantage entering the final minute. Harberts hauled in the defensive board on the next Trojan stand, and Crook calmly drained another pair of free throws to build an important 65-60 edge with 36 seconds remaining. And thanks to another coolly finished visit to the line by Brianna Barrett, USC was able to keep the Ducks at bay and wrap up a 67-62 road win.
USC now returns home to Galen Center for the next round of Pac-12 competition. The Trojans will host Washington in a 6 p.m. game on Friday (Jan. 11) and then takes on Washington State at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Jan 13) in Los Angeles.