USC Women Spread The Wealth In 89-72 Win Over Long Beach State
Dec. 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team found some late turbo boosters to rally out of reach of visiting Long Beach State today at Galen Center, getting five Women of Troy in double figures en route to an 89-72 win that marked a season-high scoring effort by USC. Cassie Harberts tallied her third double-double in four games, but had plenty of help in the scoring column from her teammates today. USC improves to 7-5 overall with the win, and Long Beach goes to 7-6. The Women of Troy now wind up for the start of Pac-12 play in a couple days, when USC pays a visit to rival UCLA on Monday (Dec. 30) at 7 p.m.
Both the Trojans and the 49ers were shooting well out of the gates today, with USC going 62 percent from the floor and LBSU at 50 percent through the first eight minutes of action. The Trojans had built a 20-9 lead at that point, but the 49ers got hotter down the stretch and wound up shooting 61 percent in the first half to USC's 50-percent effort. USC was gripping a 39-33 lead at the break, but kicked back into gear during the second half. As five Women of Troy worked their way into double figures on the day, USC was able to shrug off the 49ers in the last seven minutes. Long Beach State had it at a five-point game with 7:15 to go, only to see the Trojans reinforce their efforts to push for the win.
USC finished up shooting 50 percent in the game -- hitting half their shots in each half -- while Long Beach State cooled a bit in the second and wound up at 51 percent. USc led on the boards 37-24, and was relatively cleaner on the turnover docket with 16 to 26 from the 49ers. A well-rounded Trojan effort saw five Women of Troy finish up in double digits, led by a team-high 24 from Cassie Harberts, who hauled in her third double-double in four games with 14 boards today. Harberts is now just two points away from the No. 13 all-time spot in career scoring at USC.
Desiree Bradley nailed a career-high four 3-pointers in the game and had 14 points for an extra spark for the Trojans, who also had Ariya Crook provide 17 points to go along with 11 from Brianna Barrett and 10 from Alexyz Vaioletama. Long Beach State received a game-high 26 points from Raven Benton, along with 14 points from Ella Clark.
Long Beach State dumped in an early go-ahead 3-pointer, only to see the Women of Troy reel off 14 straight points, including threes from Ariya Crook and Desiree Bradley, to create an 18-5 advantage with 13:41 on the clock. The 49ers stopped the run with a bucket from Raven Benton -- who scored Long Beach State's first nine points in the game. Bradley knocked down a second 3-pointer later in the half, with Cassie Harberts and Jordan Adams slipped in scores form the paint, charging the Trojans up to a 33-15 lead with 5:25 remaining. The 49ers showed some fire in the next stretch, however, making a 9-2 run on their hosts to cut an 18-point deficit down to 11 with 4:00 to go. A three from Benton and a free throw later trimmed the score to a 37-28 USC edge with 2:00 left. USC had scored just a single basket from the floor since the 5:25 mark -- back when USC was holding an 18-point lead. Five Trojan turnovers in that last 5 minutes had helped to fuel that Long Beach State fire, as USC came away clinging to a 39-33 lead at the break thanks in part to a last-second banked three from LBSU's Ella Clark.
A spark off the bench came from USC's Deanna Calhoun, who calmly iced two free throws to pad a lead that had been trimmed to four back up to a 53-47 USC advantage. She'd follow up a third three from Bradley with a score down low, and USC was back up by double digits with a 60-50 lead with 9:15 on the clock. Bradley would make it a career day for herself with a momentum-killing three that stopped a push by the 49ers and took USC up 66-58 with 7:00 on the clock. She'd then serve up the feed to Harberts down low for a three-point play, and Harberts made good from a couple more trips to the line to keep USC trucking along. Brianna Barrett provided a breath of fresh air later, scoring a runner and then knocking down two free throws to lift the Trojans into a 77-64 lead with 3:32 to go. Barrett would join Harberts, Bradley and Crook in double figures with a three-point play that made it 83-67 at 2:13, and Crook later got USC to a season-high scoring with a jumper and two free throws for an 87-70 Trojan lead with 1:10 to go. Alexyz Vaioletama joined the party with double digits next, helping the Women of Troy wrap up a final 89-72 win over the 49ers.
USC next turns to kick off Pac-12 play with a journey to Westwood to face rival UCLA. The Trojans are set to tangle with the Bruins at 7 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 30) at Pauley Pavilion for the rights to a winning start in conference play.