Tale of Two Halves Ends Poorly For USC Women
Dec. 15, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team fell prey to a powerful second-half effort by visiting No. 23 Texas A&M today, taking a 79-61 loss to the Aggies at Galen Center. USC junior Cassie Harberts extended her season streak of double figures in leading all scorers with 19 points, but USC goes to 3-5 with the loss while Texas A&M improves to 6-3 with its sixth straight victory.
It wasn't a great first half from the floor for the Trojans, but they made up for it by getting to the line and converting 8 of 10 free throws in an otherwise well-played first half that saw the lead change hands five times with four ties. USC shot 29 percent overall in the first, to Texas A&M's 36-percent output that had the Aggies up 33-30 at the break. Texas A&M heated up to the tune of a 9-of-11 effort out of the gates in the second half, while USC stumbled and would fall behind by as much as 21 with 10 minutes to go. That deficit would grow to 25 points entering the final four minutes, and USC was out of reach of a comeback push.
USC paired Harberts' 19-point day with 15 from Ariya Crook to lead the Trojan offense, which finished at 30 percent from the floor. Texas A&M, meanwhile, bumped its final tally to 46 percent thanks to a hot second half. The Aggies were led by 15 points from Kristi Bellock and Kelsey Bone, and received 14 from Courtney Walker in the winning effort. USC was hurt by 23 turnovers in the game, although the Trojans did win out on the boards 44-38.
Christina Marinacci hauled in four defensive boards to open the game for the Trojans, and dumped in the first points from the free-throw line to help chug USC to a 5-0 lead on the Aggies. It was a tightly contested game from there. Texas A&M pulled even on a three from Tori Scott with 7:50 on the clock, and it remained a tug-of-war down the stretch. The Aggies got up by four, but USC found a spark in Kate Oliver, who nailed a long two to cut that lead, and later drained a three to set up USC's push back into the lead. After a solid defensive stand by the Trojans, Ariya Crook slipped in a runner, and USC was back up 30-29 with 2:15 to go. The Aggies had the last word of the half, however, as Kristi Bellock dropped in two free throws and then a take to the hole to put Texas A&M up 33-30 at the break.
Texas A&M continued that 4-0 run from the first half and expanded it with two more buckets out of the gates to take a 37-30 lead. Cassie Harberts showed her versatility next, though, draining her first 3-pointer in almost two years to make it 39-35 at 16:05. After that bright spot, however, the Trojans lost momentum. Texas A&M would strike off on a 10-0 run to take a double-digit lead for the first time in the game, up 41-35 with 12:50 on the clock. Destinie Gibbs stopped the run 20 seconds later to make it 51-37, but another Aggie 10-0 surge put the Trojans behind 71-46 with 6:45 remaining. That deficit proved too much to overcome for the Women of Troy, who closed out the game with a late push but wound up with the 79-61 loss.
USC now turns to host the Women of Troy Basketball Classic next week, Dec. 21-22. The Trojans open with a 5 p.m. game against UC Davis on Friday (Dec. 21) before Duke faces CSU Bakersfield at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday (Dec. 22), USC squares off against Duke in a 12 p.m. televised game on Pac-12 Networks, followed by UC Davis vs. CSU Bakersfield at 2:30 p.m.