USC Women Wind Up Short At WSU|
Feb. 8, 2013
PULLMAN, WASH. -- The USC women's basketball team wound up on the wrong end of a tight game at Washington State tonight, falling 57-54 in a tough road loss for the Women of Troy. USC led by as much as 10 points in the first half, but the Cougars closed the gap and took a late lead, holding off the desperate Trojans down the stretch. USC falls to 8-14 overall and 5-6 in Pac-12 play on its third straight loss. WSU improves to 9-13, 5-6.
USC's top scorer Cassie Harberts had just one point at halftime, but the return of senior Christina Marinacci to the lineup packed a counterpunch for the Trojans, as she was 3-for-3 from 3-point land with some clutch bombs to help USC hold 28-23 edge at halftime. USC was shooting 38- percent from the floor at the break to WSU's 32 percent, but the biggest difference for the Trojans was on the boards with a 25-16 advantage through the first 20 minutes of play. USC would stay ahead of the game on the boards, 50-30, but untimely turnovers and missed opportunities down the stretch plagued the Trojans. Harberts would finish with eight points for her first game all season under double digits -- although she did haul in 13 rebounds -- while USC got a game-high 17 from Marinacci and 15 from Ariya Crook to help balance it out. Once again, it was a hot second half by USC's opponents that spelled doom for the Trojans. WSU shot 52 percent in the second half to end the game at 42 percent, while USC shot 27 percent to wrap up at 32 percent in the game. WSU had 10 different players score in the game, led by 11 from Danyelle Awa and 10 from Lia Galdeira.
In her first game back in over a month, senior Christina Marinacci buried a go-ahead three for the Trojans just ahead of the shot clock, then hit one more after a USC defensive stop to get USC ahead 8-4 after four minutes of action. A long three from Ariya Crook was followed by back-to-back buckets from Kiki Alofaituli as USC crafted a 7-0 run to a 21-11 lead with 6 minutes to go in the half. USC's rebounding prowess helped limit WSU's second chances during the run, while the teams kept chugging along for eight full minutes without a foul whistled. That 10-point Trojan advantage would dwindle in the last few minutes, though, with some hustle plays by the Cougars cutting it to a two-point game before Marinacci buried her third three of the half to bump USC up 28-23 at halftime.
Harberts' first field goal of the game came from 3-point land, but it was followed by a WSU three to spark a Cougar run to tie it up 31-31 with 17:00 on the clock. The Cougars' first lead in 22 minutes of play came on a Shalie Dheenshaw bucket with 12:15 on the clock, breaking the fifth tie of the game to take WSU ahead 41-39. The Cougars would stay a step ahead until USC equalized on a pair of free throws from Marinacci and a take from Crook, leveling it 45-45 with 8:30 to go. Once again, however, WSU would manufacture a push back. The Cougars found a groove for an 8-0 run that ate up a 2-point USC lead and got WSU ahead 53-47 with 2:50 remaining. Marinacci drained to free throws for the Trojans to stop the run, and USC had a four-point hole to dig out of with 2 minutes left. The Trojans looked up to the challenge and got it within one as Kiki Alofaituli hit the back end of a trip to the line. Harberts took a charge at the other end to put the ball back in Trojan hands with 35 seconds left, and Crook got off a nice looking jumper that fell prey to an extremely unfriendly roll as the ball slipped around the rim and stood in the corner before falling out. WSU was able to hold on the rest of the way, thanks in part to a pair of free throws from Lia Galdeira with two seconds left, and the Trojans were left with a stinging 57-54 loss in Pullman.
USC now heads to Washington to take on the Huskies in a 1 p.m. game in Seattle on Sunday (Feb. 10).