USC Women Unable To Fend Off Utah’s Comeback Push, Fall 58-53|
Jan. 1, 2017
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The USC women’s basketball team lost the handle on today’s Pac-12 clash with Utah, seeing the Utes climb out of a 13-point hole to snag a 58-53 comeback win over the host Trojans at the Galen Center. After a powerful second quarter had the Trojans move into the driver’s seat, Utah countered with a strong second half while USC struggled to score. A 3-pointer with a minute to go lifted Utah into its first lead since the second quarter and secured the win for the Utes. USC goes to 10-3 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 play with the loss. Utah improves to 12-1, 1-1.
USC utilized a fierce 14-0 rally late in the second half to push out ahead of the Utes as Kristen Simon and Courtney Jaco were USC’s one-two punch in the first half as Simon had 14 points and Jaco landed 10 to help USC to a 35-24 halftime advantage. USC had shot 44 percent from the floor in the first half to Utah’s 41 percent, while the Trojans nailed three 3-pointers to help pad out the lead after the score changed hands five times in the first 20 minutes. But in the second half, the foul count tipped heavily against the Trojans, who were whistled for nine fouls to just two for the Utes in the last 20 minutes of play. As the second half unfolded, the Utes kept chipping away at the USC lead, carving it down to 47-43 at the close of the third. USC would score just six points in the final 10 minutes while Utah pinned up 15 and snagged the lead for good in the final minute. USC wrapped the game shooting 35 percent, and Utah warmed up to 46 percent in the win. USC had the slim rebounding edge 39-38, led by a double-double from Kristen Simon, who hauled in 11 rebounds to go with a game-high 22 points for USC.
Simon’s seventh double-double of the year was paired with 10-point efforts from Courtney Jaco and Minyon Moore. Utah received double-digit outings from Malia Nawahine (17 points) and Emily Potter (16 points).
The Trojans slumped into an 8-2 hole in the opening stretch as USC misfired while the Utes were able to convert. Midway through the quarter, though, USC got its feet back under it with back-to-back buckets coming from Kristen Simon and Minyon Moore. Simon would continue to click for the Trojan cause, landing the next eight points and hitting double digits with a buzzer-beating equalizer from distance to make it 14-14 after the first 10 minutes of action. The second frame would be a back-and-forth battle as the lead kept changing hands. Courtney Jaco would land a three to light a spark for the Trojans, only to see Utah fire back with a three-point play to move back ahead 22-21. The Trojans would piece together a 14-0 rally next to maneuver out to a 35-22 lead in the final minute of the half. Jaco accounted for half of those point in the surge, and USC gripped a 35-24 lead at the break.
In the third, Utah was able to carve into USC’s lead with a similar surge to the Trojans’ late rally in the second. The Utes outscored the Trojans 11-4 in the final three minutes to trim the score to a 47-43 USC lead entering the fourth. With five minutes left to play it was a two-point game while both teams fell into a scoring slump. That’s when Minyon Moore earned herself a trip to the stripe for just the second set of free throws of the Trojans in the game. She nailed both, and USC was up 51-47. Utah kept at it, though, and pulled the game even at 53-53 with 2:00 on the clock. USC’s Moore nabbed the steal next, but USC couldn’t convert on the offensive end, and that would be the story the rest of the way. Utah nailed a clutch 3-pointer with 1:00 to go to lead it 56-53, and USC was unable to answer. Two more free throws from the Utes in the waning seconds secured it, and USC was left with a 58-53 loss.
Next up for the Women of Troy is a trip to Washington to continue Pac-12 play. USC will first visit Washington in Seattle for a 8 p.m. clash on Friday (Jan. 6) before heading to Pullman to face Washington State at 12 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 8).
UTAH 58, USC 53