Game Of Runs Sees USC Women Come Up Short At Fresno State
Dec. 5, 2012
FRESNO, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team made a difficult road for itself before a late rallying cry made for a wild final few minutes in Fresno tonight, but host Fresno State's big second-half lead kept enough padding for the Bulldogs to pull off the 65-60 win over the visiting Women of Troy. USC goes to 3-4 overall with the loss, and Fresno State improves to 5-2.
A 6-0 run in the first half gave USC its first lead of the game, up 20-19, but the Trojans would finish out the half 0-for-15 from the floor as Fresno State took a 33-20 halftime lead. That would be the only lead of the night for the Trojans, although they did make it interesting down the stretch. Fresno State built as large as a 25-point lead midway through the second half, prompting USC to regroup. The Trojans reeled off a 17-0 point run to get back in the game in the final minutes, and cut it to three in the final 15 seconds, only to have the Bulldogs hang on for the win.
USC received a double-double from Cassie Harberts - her fourth of the year - with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Ariya Crook, too, kept up her double-figure streak in finishing with 15 for the Trojans, who shot 32 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Bulldogs 49-42. The teams finished even on turnovers at 22 apiece. Fresno State got a game-high 20 points from Taylor Thompson and 15 from Ki-Ki Moore, while Alex Sheedy added 11 rebounds to the Bulldog tally.
Every one of Fresno State's first six buckets from the floor was scored in the lane, as the Bulldogs' penetration game was finding holes in the USC defense. A perimeter shot from the Bulldogs built a 19-14 Fresno State lead just across the first 10 minutes, but USC responded with a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 8:45 after back-to-back Alexyz Vaioletama scores and a baseline jumper from Kate Oliver - who earned her first career start in this one. Some defensive stops by the Trojans kept that slim lead intact for a couple minutes, but as the foul count swayed 7-0 against the Trojans in a 10-minute span, the Bulldogs manufactured an 11-0 run to build their largest lead, up 30-20 with 2:35 on the clock. In another blow to the USC foul count, Brianna Barrett got tagged with her third foul, and Fresno State's scoring streak expanded to a 14-0 run as USC fell behind 33-20 entering the final minute for a lead that would hold until the halftime buzzer.
After Fresno State opened the half with a three, Cassie Harberts would final put a stop to that 17-0 Bulldog run with a score in the paint, putting the score at 36-22. USC cut it to an 11-point deficit, but the Bulldogs found an outside game that landed back-to-back threes to help the hosts ahead 51-30 with 14 minutes on the clock. After falling into as deep as a 25-point hole, USC mounted a 17-0 run in making it an eight-point lead with four minutes to go, down 57-49. The Bulldogs' first points in almost seven minutes came from the line with 3:59 on the clock to take back a double-digit lead, up 59-49. Three points from Kiki Alofaituli bumped the deficit to seven as the two-minute mark came into play. The next minute was spent largely at the line at both ends, and after a pair of Brianna Barrett free throws, USC was down 62-56 with a minute to go. The pressure cranked up and the Trojans continued to charge, following a Harberts score in the paint by forcing a late Fresno State turnover for a Crook runner that made it a 3-point game with 15 ticks to go. The Bulldogs were awarded a visit to the line and got the ball back with 13 seconds left after Barrett was called for an untimely intentional foul, and Fresno State was able to hang on for the win with a 65-60 final over the Trojans.
USC now returns home for a rest as the Trojans tune up for their next game, which comes against Texas A&M at 12 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Galen Center.