USC Women Power Past No. 15 UCLA For Rivalry Victory|
Jan. 11, 2016
In a fitful start for both teams, USC would come up with the hotter hand in the first half of action. After a slow beginning, the Trojans hit their stride and pulled into the lead late in the first quarter. USC would stay a step ahead in the second quarter while UCLA went silent from the floor for the first five-plus minutes. By the halftime buzzer, USC was gripping a 27-24 lead on its rival. The Trojans had shot 30 percent from the floor in the first half to outpace the Bruins' 24-percent effort.
In the second half, USC dug in its heels further, steaming ahead thanks to a 52-percent shooting effort in the last 20 minutes of play. That was enough to pad the lead out to as much as 14, and although the Bruins closed the gap late in the fourth, USC would hold on for the victory. The Trojans finished out the game shooting 40 percent from the floor to overmatch UCLA's 31 percent. The Trojans did commit a season-high 23 turnovers, but was aided by a strong performance on the boards in outrebounding the Bruins 51-45. Fagbenle reigned supreme on the boards, hauling in 15 to go with her team-high 20 points for her second straight double-double. Kristen Simon, too, netted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The hero of the day, however, was quite possibly Jordan Adams, who returned from injury to tally 13 points, including a perfect 7-for-7 effort from the free-throw line. Sadie Edwards also hit double figures for the Trojans with 13 points. Brianna Barrett was USC's top distributor with seven assists on the night. UCLA received a game-high 23 points from Jordin Canada -- 18 of which came in the second half of play. UCLA also had Nirra Fields finish with 13 points.
Slow to start, the Trojans finally found a groove later in the first quarter. USC's defense began to fluster the Bruins, who came up empty from the floor for a full eight minutes spanning the first and second frames while the Trojans built up a 23-18 lead. Sadie Edwards' first points of the night came with a 3-pointer nailed and a steal and finish to pull USC out of an 18-18 lockup. After the Bruins managed another bucket, Courtney Jaco responded with a 3-pointer that took the Trojans ahead 26-20 with 4:00 on the clock. As Temi Fagbenle continued to control the boards -- she'd haul in 12 rebounds in the first half of action -- the Trojans were able to hold off the Bruins down the stretch of the first half as USC gripped a 27-24 advantage at the break.
In a much busier third quarter, USC was able to craft a double-digit lead, up 45-34 entering the final 1:30 of the frame on a score from Simon. UCLA's Canada would score score six points for the Bruins in the final push, however, carving down the USC lead to 47-40 entering the fourth. Cue the USC captains. Fagbenle and Adams both showed no fear in the fourth frame Fagbenle would score USC's first eight points of the quarter to build back that double-digit lead. In the last 1:20, with UCLA forcing the issue in getting within five points, Adams delivered six solid free throws to keep the Bruins at bay. That would help wrap up the upset of USC's crosstown rival with a final 71-68 Trojan victory.
USC now turns to take its first Pac-12 road trip of the season with a journey to Washington. USC will face Washington State at 8 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 15) in Pullman before heading to Seattle to play Washington at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 17).
ASSOCIATED PRESS RECAP
''She was dead tired, but we didn't give her an option. Everybody was yelling at her,'' Adams said after Fagbenle scored 9 of her 20 points in a decisive 12-3 fourth-quarter surge that lifted the Trojans past No. 15 UCLA 71-68 on Sunday night.
''I knew she was tired but I knew she could give us what we needed,'' USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. ''I knew she could perform so we called her number and she kept putting it in. It was exactly what we needed at that point of the game to win the game.''
''I love the faith my team has in me,'' said Fagbenle, who also grabbed 15 rebounds. ''They give me energy. It can get hairy, but this team really lifts me up. They come and scream in my ear, and it's fantastic.''
''They executed better than us. They rebounded better than us. They were tougher than us,'' UCLA coach Cori Close said. ''They were the better team tonight.''
Jordin Canada scored 26 points to lead UCLA (11-4, 3-1), which lost its first conference game and snapped a four-game winning streak. Nirra Fields added 13 points.
''I thought they out-hustled us. That's what's most disappointing,'' said Canada. ''We played with a lack of intensity.''
The Bruins outscored the Trojans 13-5 in the closing minutes, pulling to 63-58 on Canada's jumper with 1:43 left. It was Adams who made six consecutive free throws over the final 1:17, with Simon adding two more with 18 seconds left, to seal it for USC.
The Trojans held Canada, Fields and Monique Billings to 16-of-51 shooting and 44 points. The trio combined to make 25 of 44 shots and score 64 points in the Bruins' 78-73 victory against the Trojans on Dec. 30 at Pauley Pavilion.
`I thought they outplayed us in the first game in a lot of areas but we just made a lot more shots,'' said Close, whose team shot 49 percent in its victory on Dec. 30 but only 31 percent Sunday night. ''I didn't think we defended any better in the first game than we did tonight. You're going to have bad shooting nights. We were getting good shots we just weren't making them.''
UCLA swept the Trojans in 2014-15, winning 59-52 at the Galen Center and 71-60 at Pauley Pavilion.
USC: Adams scored 13 points in her return after missing four games with a foot injury.
USC: At Washington State on Friday night.
USC 71, #15 UCLA 68