USC Women Wash Away The Waves With 65-56 Victory
Nov. 18, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team got in a winning groove and tacked up its first victory of the young 2012-13 season with a 65-56 decision over visiting Pepperdine today at the Galen Center. The Trojans opened up a tight game with a push in the second half, and received a second double-double from junior Cassie Harberts on the road to victory. USC improves to 1-1 on the year with the win, and the Waves go to 1-2.
After recovering from another slow start out of the gates, the Trojans shot well in the first half and coupled that with a strong game on the boards to outpace the Waves 27-24 at half. Fifteen first-half turnover and foul trouble in USC's backcourt allowed Pepperdine to keep within reach. The Women of Troy got it together in the second half, though, allowing the Waves just one last slim lead with 12 minutes to go before kicking into gear for a rally to the end that saw USC build as large as a 14-point lead.
Cassie Harberts was the key once again, as the junior dumped in another double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a solid 17 points from sophomore Ariya Crook, who carried four fouls through the bulk of the second half. Pepperdine was led by A double-double from Shay Cooney-Willams with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and a 12-point day from Robie Mayberry. USC shot 39 percent in the game to Pepperdine's 37 percent, and the Trojans dominated the boards 47-31.
The game was a see-saw battle in the first half. After USC fought out of an early four-point hole, the teams traded slim leads into the last six minutes of the half. A nice feed from Ariya Crook to Cassie Harberts got the Trojans an 18-16 lead, and a 3-pointers from Crook soon after would build USC's largest lead of the half, up 21-16 at the 5:10 mark, and the Trojans would hold a three-point edge by the buzzer with a 27-24 halftime advantage on the Waves.
USC's Crook picked up her fourth foul of the game in the first minute of the second half, and the Waves locked it up at 27-27 on the ensuing three-point play. Jordan Adams was dealt her fourth soon after, and USC had two key guards stuck in a playing time predicament. A cool shooting effort in the first 10 minutes by the Trojans didn't help their cause. USC was hitting at under 20 percent from the floor compared to Pepperdine's 46 percent as the Waves took a 37-36 lead at the 12-minute mark. The Trojans woke up at that. An 8-0 USC run sandwiched three-point plays from Harberts around a bucket from Desiree Bradley for a 44-37 USC lead. A 6-1 Trojan run came soon after, and Crook stepped up for a bomb that gave USC its first double-digit lead of the game with a 54-44 edge at the 6:45 mark.
The foul-heavy game had the Waves also in some trouble, while the Trojans were able to find a groove even with Adams and Crook still carrying four deep into the game. Both guards continued to contribute down the stretch, and Crook worked her way into double figures to join a productive Harberts, who had a hefty 24 points entering the last three minutes of action. Harberts had her second double-double of the season in hand less than a minute later as she hauled in her 10th board. Pepperdine got some late buckets to go in trimming the lead down to 63-55 in the final minute, but USC stayed in the driver's seat to finish off a 65-56 victory.
USC remains at home for two more games next week. The Trojans will face Arkansas State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 21) and then host Nebraska at 2 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 23).