USC Women Lose Out To WSU, 79-75
Jan. 31, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team stumbled in its return to Galen Center tonight, taking a 79-75 loss to visiting Washington State. A messy first half had the Trojans playing catchup, and although USC worked into a slim late lead it was the Cougars who made the final winning surge to victory. The loss puts USC at 14-8 overall and 7-3 in Pac-12 play, while Washington State goes to 12-9, 6-3.
USC was shooting 43 percent from the floor to WSU's 35 percent in the first half but was plagued by a pile of turnovers and some trouble hauling in rebounds as the Trojans trailed the Cougars 35-29 at the break. USC had committed 15 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and WSU 12 in a messy first half of play that also saw WSU ahead on the boards 24-18. The Women of Troy tightened things up and renewed their focus on the boards in the second half to finish out the game even a 45 rebounds apiece. The lead traded hands six times in four minutes, but once WSU got ahead with 1:22 to go the Cougars held on for the win.
WSU shot 50 percent in the second half to finish out the game at 43 percent to USC's 42 percent. The turnover count wrapped with USC having committed 21 and the Cougars 19, while the teams hit five 3-pointers apiece. USC's Cassie Harberts led all in scoring with her 24th career double-double on 24 points and 11 rebounds. Brianna Barrett and Ariya Crook added 15 points apiece to the Trojan cause, while WSU wound up with five Cougars scoring in double digits. Tia Presley led with 21, Dawnyelle Awa had 12, Shalie Dheenshaw had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards, and Lia Galdeira and Taylor Edmondson each score 10 points in the WSU win.
After USC jumped out to a 7-2 lead, WSU manufactured an 11-0 run that powered the Cougars up to a 13-6 lead with 13:40 on the clock. The Trojans finally stopped the bleeding when Harberts broke up an almost-3:30 scoring drought with a finish down low at 13:08 to make it a 13-9 score. USC would cut the deficit down to two, trailing 23-21 with 5:29 on a bucket from Courtney Jaco, but WSU worked back out ahead thanks to a series of visits to the free-throw line as the Trojans foul count ballooned. The turnover count, too, was escalating on both ends, with a combined 25 turnovers committed by the 3:30 mark. Jaco went to the line and hit the front end to get the score down to a 27-22 WSU advantage entering the last three minutes of the half. The Cougars kept coming, getting two more scores down low to build to their largest of the game with a 31-22 lead with 2:20 on the clock. USC was able to save face with a buzzer-beating three from Jaco, and the Trojans trailed 35-29 going into the locker room.
A Mariah Cooks three carried WSU to a double-digit lead, up 45-34 on the Trojans at 15:15 in the second. USC managed a 6-0 run to find some life, cutting the deficit down to six on back-to-back Harberts scores that made it 47-41 at 13:10. Some more Harberts handiwork answered a short burst from WSU, making it a five-point game with 12:20 on the clock. A three from Ariya Crook was key in giving USC some confidence, as her bucket brought it to a two-point game. The Trojans would struggle to close, as the Cougars seemed to have an answer for each USC score. It wasn't until Crook broke the cycle with a steal and finish with 5:45 on the clock that USC took its first lead since the first five minutes of the game. She'd drain a three next to answer a Cougar three, and USC was up 63-62 with 4:50 to go. USC took a 71-69 lead with 1:55 remaining on a score from Vaioletama, only to see WSU scoot ahead with a 5-0 run in the next minute. Forced to play catchup again, USC ran out of time as the Cougars wrapped the game from the free-throw line to notch a 79-75 victory over the host Women of Troy.
USC now looks to snap its two-game skid when Washington comes to visit on Sunday (Feb. 2) for an 11 a.m. matchup at Galen Center.