USC Women Stumble In Season Opener, Fall 63-52 To Gonzaga
Nov. 11, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - A stumble out of the gates left the USC women's basketball team scrambling to catch visiting Gonzaga in the Trojans' season opener today at the Galen Center. The host Women of Troy gave the Bulldogs too much breathing room early on and made the road back a long one, as USC wound up with a 63-52 loss to Gonzaga. The young USC squad had five new Trojans see their first playing time and first points of their USC careers today, but it was junior Cassie Harberts who led the pack as a veteran with her seventh career double-double on a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. USC now holds an 0-1 record to start 2012-13, and Gonzaga improves to 2-0.
The young Trojans opened the year with three newcomers in the starting lineup, as freshmen Jordan Adams and Destinie Gibbs and sophomore transfer Kiki Alofaituli suited up for the first time alongside fellow starters junior Harberts and senior Christina Marinacci. By the final buzzer, that new trio as well as newcomers Kate Oliver and Brianna Barrett had all registered their first career points. Barrett was the leader of the new group with nine points - matching Marinacci's outing - while Oliver added six, Adams and Alofaituli each had four, and Gibbs had two. Gonzaga had three players finish in doubles figures, led by 17 from Keani Albanez, who was joined by 13 from Haiden Palmer and 10 from Taelor Karr.
While USC took some time to warm up, Gonzaga, meanwhile, had a hot start and shot between 50 and 60 percent from the floor throughout the half. USC got shots to fall late, and finished the first going 38 percent from the floor while Gonzaga hit 57 percent to lead 37-22 at the break. Fourteen Trojan first-half turnovers kept USC from finding a rhythm early, and the rocky start proved problematic for the Women of Troy as they came up short in the end. USC would outscore Gonzaga 30-26 in the second half, but the damage was already done as the Bulldogs held off the Trojans down the stretch.
USC finished the game shooting 37 percent from the floor, and Gonzaga wound up at 45 percent. USC did hold the rebounding advantage, 36-31, but was hampered by 24 turnovers in the game.
The Women of Troy could manufacture just one bucket from the floor in the first 11 and a half minutes of action, committing 11 turnovers to that point as USC dipped behind the Bulldogs 23-4. USC freshman Jordan Adams broke up an 11-0 Gonzaga scoring run with a score in the paint with 8:30 on the clock. A Gonzaga bank shot at 6:10 put the Trojans down by 21, but Kiki Alofaituli and Adams registered USC's first back-to-back scores of the day to make it a 29-12 deficit coming into the final five of the half. That bright spot was clouded by a five-point outburst from Gonzaga's Haiden Palmer, however, before freshman Brianna Barrett got a runner to go and Christina Marinacci fielded her own rebound to cut back in. A low score from Cassie Harberts on a feed by Kate Oliver made it a 7-0 USC run as the Trojans seemed to have finally pieced together their gameplan. A 3-pointer from Oliver capped the half for USC, as the Trojans took a 34-22 disadvantage into the locker room.
USC would finally cut the lead to single digits on a 6-0 scoring run, taking it to a 41-32 difference with 16:15 on the clock. But the Bulldogs would double up that lead in the next four minutes, leaving USC with some work to do down the final stretch. Some untimely Gonzaga 3-pointers made that climb a bit more difficult. A low strike from Harberts got the score to a 58-45 Gonzaga lead with 4:45 to go, as Harberts also carried four fouls into the final stages. A late three from Marinacci and a steal and finish from Barrett created some drama in the final two minutes as USC pulled to within nine with 1:27 to go, but the Trojans were unable to cut deeper and wound up with the 63-52 loss.
USC now turns to another home tilt next week as the Trojans play host to Pepperdine for a 2 p.m. clash on Sunday (Nov. 18) at Galen Center.