USC Women Wind Up Short of WSU In 68-62 Road Loss|
Feb. 28, 2015
PULLMAN, WASH. -- The USC women's basketball team ran out of juice in its regular-seaosn finale in Pullman, pushing to close the gap late in the game but winding up on the losing end of a 68-62 decision to host Washington State. The Trojans had trailed by as much as 11 during the second half of play before muscling their way to within three in the final minute, only to see WSU finish it off from the line -- where both teams spent a great deal of the game. The loss wraps the regular season for the Trojans, putting USC at a 15-14 overall record and with a 7-11 finish in Pac-12 play, tied for seventh place in the conference. WSU also finished up at 7-11 and holds a 16-13 overall record.
USC was shooting well in the first half but was plagued by a poor rebounding. An imbalanced 22-9 rebounding margin along with a 6-of-12 free-throw effort hamstrung the Trojans through the first 20 minutes. USC was shooting 55 percent from the floor to beat out WSU's 44 percent, but the Trojans still trailed 35-31 due to their struggles from the stripe. USC refocused its efforts on the boards in the second half, but WSU still retained the advantage as the final count tilted to a 54-28 Cougar rebounding lead. Both teams' scoring pace would cool in the second half, slowed by many more trips to the free-throw line. By the final whistle, USC had shot 42 percent from the floor and was 16-of-24 (67 percent) from the stripe. WSU wrapped at 37 percent from the floor and a 19-of-28 (68 percent) free-throw outing. Those three extra free throws made and one extra 3-pointer were the difference in this one. USC was missing top-scoring senior Alexyz Vaioletama from the lineup due to injury.
USC was led in scoring by McKenzie Calvert's 18 points, with Kaneisha Horn adding 14 points and Brianna Barrett delivering 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Washington State was paced by senior Tia Presley's 28 points to go with double-doubles from Mariah Cooks (13 points, 18 rebounds) and Lia Galdeira (11 points, 12 rebounds).
USC got out of the gates with a solid push, nudging ahead 8-2 on a steal from Jordan Adams and then answering a pair of WSU free throws with a jumper from Kaneisha Horn to go up 10-4 with 16:25 on the clock. Back-to-back USC turnovers would lead to back-to-back Cougar buckets next, though, and the gap closed to two a minute later. At 14:10, it was locked up at 12-12. Two more tie-ups would ensue before USC strung together scores from Horn and Amy Okonkwo to creep ahead 22-18 at 9:45. Horn would help manufacture a USC surge to a 27-20 lead in nailing three free throws and then nabbing a steal to set up a Barrett finish with 6:32 on the clock. The Cougars fired back with an 11-2 run to jump back ahead, up 31-29 with 2:40 remaining in the half. A jumper from Alexis Lloyd had it even up again at 31-31 before Trojan turnovers and WSU free throws saw the Cougars claim a 35-31 lead by halftime.
Only free throws would fall for the Trojans for nearly the first six minutes of the second half while WSU got up 45-34. USC took two charges from the Cougars to get the ball back in Trojan hands, but they'd come up empty form the floor on the offensive end until Okonkwo converted in the paint to make it 45-36 with 14:05 on the clock. After WSU buried a three to go up 53-42 at 10:00, USC made a 6-2 scoring rally on scores from Calvert and Okonkwo and a pair of Barrett free throws to make it 55-48 with 8:12 left. Senior Horn would foul out with 7:43 left, but her team would regroup. Calvert generated the next five points to cut the deficit to two, making it 55-53 with 6:20 on the clock. Entering the final minute, WSU was gripping a 64-59 lead. After a single Cougar free throw drained, Jordan Adams would nail a 3-pointer to trim it to a 65-62 deficit with 28 ticks to go. More WSU free throws would follow, however, while USC was unable to land the key three in the remaining seconds to wind up with a 68-62 loss in Pullman.
Today's result puts the Trojans as a likely No. 8 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, where they would set up to face the No. 9 seed in a 6 p.m. first-round game on March 5 at KeyArena in Seattle. Check back to the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com for the finalized pairing and schedule.
WASHINGTON STATE 68, USC 62
USC........................... 31 31 - 62
3-point goals--USC 2-14 (Calvert, McKenzie 1-4; Adams, Jordan 1-3; Barrett, Brianna 0-2; Jaco, Courtney 0-5), Washington State 3-13 (Cooks, Mariah 1-1; Brown, Louise 1-1; Presley, Tia 1-6; Awa, Dawnyelle 0-2; Galdeira, Lia 0-3).