USC Women Shock Cal With 65-54 Win In Berkeley|
Feb. 15, 2015
BERKELEY, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team turned the tide on a rough first half and shocked host California with a 65-54 comeback victory. The Golden Bears were charged up by Reshanda Gray's 32 points and 10 rebounds, but there wasn't much more in the tank for Cal besides Gray, it turned out. The Trojans, meanwhile, shrugged off a 12-point deficit as seniors Kaneisha Horn and Alexyz Vaioletama put the team on their backs for a rallying cry into the lead. USC would keep coming while fending off the Bears to finish out the clutch performance in Berkeley. USC improves to 14-11 overall and is now 6-8 in Pac-12 play, while Cal goes to 19-6, 11-3.
It was all Reshanda Gray in the first half of action, with the Cal senior pinning up 18 points as the Bears fought out of a five-point deficit to lead the Trojans 33-25 by halftime. Cal was clicking offensively with a 52-percent effort from the floor through those first 20 minutes to beat out USC's 36 percent shooting. A remarkable second half by the Trojans saw USC pick things up to 50 percent while the Trojans outscored Cal 40-21 to forge that comeback path to victory. Cal would wrap the game shooting 40 percent from the floor, with USC edging up to 43 percent. The Trojans and the Bears wound up even on the boards 34-34.
After enduring seven first-half lead changes and falling behind by 12 during the second half, the Women of Troy regrouped and got back in the game. An 11-0 rally got the Trojans into position, and after a three-point play from Alexyz Vaioletama, USC had bumped back into the lead with a one-point edge at 11:45. The lead would trade hands seven times in the second half before USC really dug down. Horn and Vaioletama would finish up the game with a heroic 17 points apiece, while sophomore Alexis Lloyd had a career game with 14 points -- her first-ever game in double digits. Jordan Adams also came up big for USC with nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. Cal, meanwhile, was a one-woman show as Gray scored over half her team's points with 32 points and 10 rebounds on the night.
An early 3-pointer from Courtney Jaco tugged the Trojans to an 8-5 lead on the Bears with 16:50 on the clock. After a score in the paint by Cal, USC responded with a nice bucket from Kaneisha Horn and a score from Alexyz Vaioletama to pump the Trojans up to a 12-7 advantage a couple minutes later. Cal would rally right back, though, with Reshanda Gray getting hot after USC's Alexis Lloyd dumped in a jumper. Gray scored six points in an 8-0 Cal run to take a 17-14 lead at 11:11. The Trojans regrouped again. Jordan Adams and Horn each scored around an unsuccessful Cal trip to the line, and USC was up 20-19 with 8 minutes left in the half. Again Cal relied on Gray for a bounceback. As she worked up to 14 points in the game, Cal moved ahead 27-22 with 3:55 to go. Brianna Barrett snapped that 6-0 surge with a three-point play to cut it to 27-25 with 3:31 on the clock. Gray, again, put the Bears on her back. Following up USC misfires with scores in the paint, Cal moved ahead 33-25 by the close of the half.
More Gray helped Cal craft a 39-27 advantage, but USC found a groove. Vaioletama and Horn combined for and 11-0 Trojan rally that cut the gap down to one at 39-38 with 13:40 on the clock. Nine straight points from Horn in that run secured the senior with double digits for the seventh straight game as USC narrowed the margin on the Bears. Cal snapped that rally with a free throw and then a follow-up from Gray to nudge out ahead 42-38 with 12:35 to go. Cue Vaioletama. She took Horn's lead and generated a solo rally of her own next to join her fellow senior in double digits. Vaioletama slipped in back-to-back buckets to pull USC even with Cal at 42-42, then promptly knocked down the and-one to take USC to its first lead since the 6-minute mark of the first half. When Cal answered back, Horn was there once again, striking back to make it 45-44 Trojans with 11:05 remaining. A steal and score from Courtney Jaco had USC up 49-48 with 8:15 on the clock. USC's next spark was Lloyd. The sophomore maneuvered her way to the hoop for a bucket and then later nailed a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock -- securing her first career double-digit game as she lifted her Trojans to a 55-50 lead with 4:30 to go. More buzzer-beating heroics came form Vaioletama, who buried a clutch three at 2:50 before Lloyd nabbed a steal and had the finish to carry USC ahead 61-52 with 2:25 remaining. Entering the final minute, USC was up 62-54, and the Trojans allowed the Bears to get no closer, wrapping up a 65-54 victory with a determined push to the finish line.
USC now returns home for its final stand of the season at Galen Center. The Trojans will host Arizona at 7 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 20) before taking on Arizona State at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 22). USC will honor its graduating seniors Horn and Vaioletama in a pregame ceremony before Sunday's game vs. ASU.