Long-Range Aggie Attack Deals USC Women A 78-69 Loss
Dec. 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The USC women's basketball team came up against a hot-handed UC Davis squad tonight in the opener of the Women of Troy Basketball Classic at Galen Center. The Aggies knocked down 14 threes in the game to build and keep some space on the host Trojans, holding onto a lead down the stretch to hand host USC a 78-69 loss. USC goes to 3-6 overall with the loss, and UC Davis improves to 4-4.
It was the first-ever meeting between USC and UC Davis, and the Aggies proved the aggressors, especially from beyond the arc. UC Davis shot 54 percent from 3-point land as it knocked down 14 threes in the game and led by as much as 19 points. USC would cut it to four during the final two minutes - thanks in large part to a set of steals by Brianna Barrett, who finished with eight on the night - but UC Davis was helped by a 6-for-6 free-throw effort from Sydnee Fipps in the last 38 seconds to keep the Aggies a step ahead. Fipps would finish with a game-high 22 points on a 3-for-3 outing on threes. Cortney French hit five threes in finishing with 20 for the Aggies, who shot 50 percent overall from the floor. USC shot 36 percent and received a team-high 18 points from Ariya Crook, who hit a career-high five 3-pointers in the game. Cassie Harberts and Brianna Barrett finished with 10 points apiece.
USC head coach Michael Cooper was serving a one-game suspension for tonight's game vs. UC Davis because of an NCAA secondary violation involving the use of an ineligible player in practice. Associate head coach Daron Park assumed head coaching duties at the game. Coach Cooper will return for tomorrow's 12 p.m. game vs. No. 4 Duke.
USC had to endure a hot 3-point game by the Aggies in the first half. UC Davis answered opening points by USC with a 10-0 run into the lead, which the Aggies wouldn't relinquish until midway through the half when USC's Ariya Crook and Brianna Barrett hit back-to-back threes for the Trojan cause to pull USC even at 17-17. The lead would change hands several more times down the stretch as UC Davis threes kept falling. The Aggies nailed four 3-pointers in a five-minute span to build a 32-27 lead entering the final three minutes. The Trojans cut it to one on free throws from Barrett and a bucket from Cassie Harberts, but a pair from the stripe by the Aggies and an untimely offensive foul call on the Trojans helped UC Davis take a 34-31 lead into the locker room.
UC Davis dumped in three more 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half to build a 45-37 advantage on the Trojans. Four more long ones in a three-minute span, and UC Davis was in possession of a 19-point lead on its hosts with 11:20 to play. Barrett would nab back-to-back steals for the Trojans as the teams entered the final three minutes. Her finish cut the lead back to single digits, and Harberts would hit two free throws next to get herself into a ninth straight game in double figures. Barrett again was a pest on defense for the Aggies, forcing yet another turnover that was turned into Trojan points with a lay-in by Kate Oliver, and the score was clipped to a 69-64 UC Davis lead with 2:19 on the clock. A fullcourt press saw yet another Barrett pick to a new USC possession, although no bucket would come from it. She would get herself to the line with 1:30 to go and hit the back end to make it a four-point game, but UC Davis Sydnee Fipps got herself set up for a three-point play with a layup that also sent Harberts to the bench with her fifth foul. Free throws from Fipps down the stretch would prove the difference as USC was forced to foul while Fipps kept hitting from the stripe to close out the Aggies' win as a 78-69 final.
USC will now face No. 4 Duke tomorrow (Dec. 22) in a 12 p.m. game at Galen Center. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.