USC Women Edged In Overtime By No. 23 Host ASU
Jan. 10, 2014
TEMPE, ARIZ. -- The USC women's basketball team had a five-game win streak snapped tonight, with the Trojans' first overtime game of the season coming in their first Pac-12 loss of the season as USC took a 94-86 loss to No. 23 host Arizona State. The Women of Troy had forced OT in dramatic fashion, rallying out of a nine-point hole with 6:20 remaining and equalizing on a 3-pointer from Alexyz Vaioletama with 1.5 ticks to go. The Sun Devils would benefit from USC's foul trouble down the stretch and steal ahead for the late victory. The loss puts USC at 10-6 overall and now 3-1 in Pac-12 play. No. 23 ASU improves to 13-3, 2-1.
After coming up empty from the floor in the first half and taking on some early fouls, Cassie Harberts broke loose in the second half for the Trojans. Alexyz Vaioletama, too, found a second-half spark to help get the Trojans out of a 38-33 halftime deficit. USC had shot 45 percent from the floor in the second half, while the Sun Devils were nailing a 52-percent effort while also outrebounding USC 20-15 by halftime. USC's Brianna Barrett led all scorers as the only player with double digits at the break, but she would give way to her teammates in the next 20 minutes of play. The Trojans got a career-high 21 points from Vaioletama, who hauled in a double-double on 10 rebounds. Harberts hit double digits with 17 points to go with seven boards for the Trojan cause, joined by Courtney Jaco's career-high 14 points and 12 from Barrett. ASU was led by Deja Mann, who hit three clutch 3-pointers and was 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. Adrianne Thomas added 18 points with an 8-of-9 effort from the stripe, and Promise Amukamara had 11 points while also missing just one free throw in six tries on the night. ASU's Katie Hempen also finished in double digits with 13 points.
By the final buzzer, USC had shot 52.2 percent from the floor, edged out by ASU's 52.6 percent. The Sun Devils wound up ahead on the boards 36-32 and definitely won out from the stripe, hitting 28-of-34 free throws to USC's 9-of-20 night.
In overtime, ASU and USC traded baskets out of the gates, and Courtney Jaco handed USC an 81-79 lead at 3:45. ASU answered the call by draining a three to move into the lead, where the Sun Devils would stay the rest of the way thanks to a 6-of-8 effort from the free-throw line in OT en route to the 94-86 final win.
The first half was an all-out battle, tied up seven times with the lead trading hands three times but with neither team leading by more than five points. The Sun Devils had the Trojans behind 24-19 with 8:25 to go in the half, but USC would creep back in as Desiree Bradley matched an ASU 3-pointer to provide a spark. The game would tie up three more times in the next stretch and was locked at 33-33 with 1:50 go on a free throw from Brianna Barrett. ASU responded with a 5-0 run to match its largest lead of the half entering the final minute, and that 38-33 advantage held to the break.
The second half opened with the Trojans getting tagged for four fouls in under four minutes. Cassie Harberts was handed her third early on, putting the senior on the bench for a stretch. Still, USC kept plugging away. The Women of Troy took their first lead since the 12:36 mark of the first half when Bradley dumped in a 3-pointer after a Kaneisha Horn jumper to edge USC ahead 44-43 with 14:30 on the clock. Again, the Sun Devils would regroup, manufacturing an 11-2 run that had the Trojans back 54-46 with 9:41 to go. ASU's Deja Mann buried her third 3-pointer of the night to take the Sun Devils ahead 63-54 with 6:30 remaining. Harberts slipped in her first score from the floor next -- having spent much time on the bench with foul trouble -- and it was 63-56 ASU entering the last six minutes of play. Barrett, who was carrying four fouls, subbed in at the 5:30 mark. With a Trojan press turned on, USC got another bucket from Harberts and a steal and score from Barrett to close in to within four, down 65-61 at 4:26.
Barrett was dealt her fifth foul to go out of the game with 4:19 to go, but USC was undeterred. The Trojans answered ASU's ensuing free throws with a 7-2 run that cut it to a one-point game with 1:45 to go. Entering the final minute, it was a 71-69 ASU advantage, and Deja Mann went to the line for a pair that made it a four-point climb for the Women of Troy. The Sun Devils made good on their trips to the line in the next stretch, needing two desperately to answer a three form Courtney Jaco. What ASU didn't account for in the final ticks was the sharp-shooting ability from Vaioletama, who nailed a game-tying 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. Harberts picked off the inbounds pass for a shot at a prayer and the win, but her long toss just missed, bringing up overtime.
In OT, ASU really benefitted from USC's foul trouble. After Harberts pulled USC within one, down 85-85 with 1:15 to go, the Sun Devils would take care of business from the free-throw line, as Jaco, too, fouled out of the game. In the last stretch, ASU outscored USC 8-1, with six of those points coming from the stripe while USC came up empty from the floor to fall 94-86 in the overtime decision.
USC now heads over to Tucson to take on Arizona in a 4 p.m. MT matchup on Sunday (Jan. 12).