USC Women See Lead Slip Away In 74-57 Loss At WSU|
Jan. 8, 2017
PULLMAN, WASH. — The USC women’s basketball team suffered several cold snaps in the second half to slide out of reach of host Washington State today in Pullman. The Trojans led by one at halftime but wound up with a 74-57 loss to the Cougars. USC goes to 10-5 overall and 1-3 in Pac-12 play with the loss. Washington State improves to 8-8, 3-2 after a weekend sweep.
USC would turn a six-point deficit into a one-point advantage by the close of the first half thanks to some gutsy play from junior forward Kristen Simon. She’d turn in double figures by halftime with 14 points to help the Trojans to a 35-34 edge at the break. USC was shooting 39 percent through those first 20 minutes of action while WSU hit at a 45-percent clip and landed three 3-pointers to keep the pressure on the Trojans. In the third, however, WSU snagged the lead in the first 20 seconds and never gave it back up. USC would shoot 32 percent from the floor in the second half, while WSU shot 52 percent to keep pressing out ahead of the Trojans. The Cougars also took control of the boards, finishing up with 45 rebounds to USC’s 32. Kristen Simon was just a rebound away from a double-double for USC, netting a career-high 25 points to stand as the lone Trojan in double figures. WSU, meanwhile, had three Cougars in double digits, led by Alexys Swedlund’s 22 points — 9 of which came off 3-pointers — along with 16 apiece from Ivana Kmestova and Chanelle Molina. Kayla Washington also had 10 rebounds for WSU in the win.
USC’s first lead of the game came at the hands of Courtney Jaco, who drained a three for the ninth straight game to tug USC ahead 13-12 during the late stages of the first quarter. WSU fired back with a three of its own, however, and would build out a 21-15 lead in the final minute with back-to-back scores before Simon slipped in a putback to make it a 21-17 WSU lead after 10 minutes of play. Simon kept coming in the second frame, scoring USC’s first eight points to bring the game into a tangle. Two free throws from Simon answered the Cougars’ third 3-pointer of the half, and then Dani Milisic hit a jumper to net USC’s first lead since the first quarter. The lead would trade hands before Minyon Moore and Sadie Edwards pieced together buckets for the Trojan cause to build a 35-32 lead just before WSU got one last score to go, leaving it as a slim 35-34 USC lead at the break.
WSU would make a 17-2 scoring rally out of the gates of the second half to steal away control of this one. The only numbers USC was up in was the foul count, which tipped significantly against the Trojans in the first five minutes while the Cougars continued to work the numbers in their favor. A 13-0 scoring surge was finally snapped by a bucket from Milisic at 3:40, but WSU got a trip to the line next to answer back. Ivana Jakubcova would land two 3-pointers — a first for the senior at USC — in the final two minutes, and USC was looking at a 55-47 deficit entering the fourth quarter. A three-part play from Simon cut it to a seven-point margin early in the fourth, but WSU was able to press on, landing key shots to stymie each bright spot for the Trojans. Simon and Valerie Higgins pieced together back-to-back buckets as Simon worked into a career-high scoring outing and USC was within single digits with 5:00 to go. A back-breaking three from WSU’s Alexys Swedland would fall soon after, though, and the Cougs wrapped the game on a 6-0 run to finish out the 74-57 win over the visiting Trojans.
USC now returns home to Galen Center to host Oregon and Oregon State next week. The Trojans face the Ducks at 8 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 13) before hosting the Beavers at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 15). Both games will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
WASHINGTON STATE 74, USC 57