USC Women Are Undone By Colorado 75-63|
March 5, 2015
SEATTLE, WASH. -- The USC women's basketball team was up against a determined Colorado squad in today's first round of the 2015 Pac-12 Tournament at KeyArena in Seattle. The Buffs were firing on all cylinders, near-perfect from the free-throw line and beyond the arc as they pushed out of reach of the Trojans for a 75-63 victory that sends Colorado on through to the quarterfinals. The loss wraps USC's season with a 15-15 overall record as the Women of Troy were unable to make the rallying cry to the conference crown as they did last year.
The Trojans were shooting a measly 23 percent in the first half of action while the Buffs managed a meatier 58 percent from the floor as Colorado manufactured a 39-27 halftime lead over USC. The deficit would deepen to 17 in the late stages of the second half for the Trojans with Colorado continuing to click and nailing some useful 3-pointers to keep USC at bay. By the final buzzer, USC had matched Colorado's second-half scoring, but that 12-point halftime margin proved the difference. USC had heated up a bit, but finished out the game shooting 29 percent from the floor to Colorado's toasty 53 percent. USC won out on the boards with a 41-38 advantage, and only committed seven turnovers while forcing 18 out of the Buffs. But in the end it was Colorado's productivity from the floor and the line that won the day.
The loss brought an end to the USC careers for seniors Kaneisha Horn and Alexyz Vaioletama, who will go down in history as members of USC's first-ever Pac-12 Tournament Championship team when the Trojans won it all last year. Vaioletama finishes as USC's No. 11 all-time rebounder with 734 career rebounds and having served up 893 career points in her four years at Troy. Horn, who joined the Trojans as a transfer last season hit double figures for the team-leading 19th time this season tonight to give her a USC career total of 404 career points along with 299 career rebounds as a Trojan. Both seniors earned Pac-12 honors this year, with Vaioletama scoring a spot on the All-Pac-12 Team and Horn receiving Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention.
USC's offense was paced tonight by Brianna Barrett, who scored a game-high 18 points. Kaneisha Horn and Jordan Adams joined her in double figures with 10 points apiece. Colorado got 16 points from Haley Smith to go with 15 from Jamee Swan and 12 from Lexy Kresl. Together, that Buffalo trio was a combined 13-of-13 from the free-throw line.
A steal and finish from McKenzie Calvert after five minutes of tight play provided a spark for the Trojans, who followed that up with a dish from Courtney Jaco and a layup from Kristen Simon to maneuver into a 12-9 lead at 13:40. Colorado fired right back, though, and crafted a six-point rally to take a three-point lead for itself less than two minutes later. Colorado would click off another scoring surge while USC came up empty from the floor for almost six minutes. Jordan Adams landed a pair of free throws during the drought, and the Buffs countered with 11 points during that span to put the Trojans in a 10-point hole. Amy Okonkwo broke the silence for the Trojans, although USC would soon be back by 10, down 28-18 as Haley Smith got to double figures with 4:42 remaining in the half. Sparked by a 3-pointer from Jaco, USC trimmed the deficit in half. Free throws from Alexyz Vaioletama and a score from Brianna Barrett had USC trailing 30-25 with 2:35 to go, but again Colorado had a response. In the final minute, the Buffs drained a three and got one last bucket to go to put USC behind 39-27 at halftime.
USC kicked out of the gates with back-to-back buckets to find a groove and get the deficit down to single digits. The Trojans and Buffs would stay largely in stride for the next few minutes as they traded baskets. A successful trip to the line by Alexis Lloyd had the score at 47-41 with 14:21 on the clock, though Colorado remained stubborn. The Buffs built back a lead, going up 56-43 entering the last 10 minutes. The Buffs would bury three back-breaking 3-pointers in under three minutes to balloon their advantage to 64-48 with 7:30 to go. As the clock wound down, USC could scramble no closer than the final margin, as Colorado emerged victorious with a 75-63 win over USC.