USC Women Lose Out On The Line In Tight Game At No. 11 UCLA|
Jan. 22, 2017
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team was edged out in a great rivalry game tonight in Westwood, falling 71-67 at No. 11 UCLA as the Bruins benefited from 28 free throws shot in the second half. UCLA landed 20 of those -- more than enough to help the hosts recover from USC's two-point halftime advantage. The loss is USC's seventh in a row, taking the Trojans to 10-9 overall and 1-7 in Pac-12 play. UCLA improves to 15-4, 6-2 with its second win of the week over USC.
UCLA led by as much as 11 in the early going, but USC was able to trim that deficit down to five on back-to-back threes to close out the first quarter. In the second, the Bruins generated a 9-0 run, only to see the Trojans reel them back in with a 10-0 rally that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Courtney Jaco -- who was 4-for-4 from 3-point range by halftime. It was that fourth three that tugged the Trojans into the lead, up 38-36 at the break. USC was shooting 45 percent from the floor to outpace UCLA's 34 percent, but 11 first-half Trojan turnovers were gifting the Bruins key points.
In the second half, the whistle blew 19 fouls against the Trojans, while UCLA committed just eight in those final 20 minutes. That both interrupted the flow of the game and allowed the Bruins to generate important points from the stripe, as UCLA landed 20-of-28 free throws in the second half, while USC went 3-for-5. The game was locked up even four times in the second half, the last draws coming from strong performances from Kristen Simon. Her free throws with 5:35 on the clock -- the last USC would shoot the rest of the way -- pulled USC level at 62-62. The Bruins would pull away a bit before Simon hit Aliyah Mazyck for a big 3-pointer that gave USC some hope, down 67-65 with 1:40 to go. After a single free throw fell for UCLA next, Ivana Jakubcova slipped in a big bucket in the paint to trim the deficit to one with 25 ticks to go. The Trojans would come up empty on their chances to get into the lead, while UCLA spent the rest of the night at the stripe to win it 71-67.
USC finished out the game shooting 41 percent from the floor, still overmatching UCLA's 33 percent effort in the game. USC also outrebounded the Bruins 47-42. The Trojans committed 19 turnovers -- 11 of which came in the first half -- to nine by UCLA. USC's offense was paced by 18 points from senior Courtney Jaco, who landed five threes in the game. Kristen Simon, back from missing three games, delivered 16 points with eight rebounds, and Aliyah Mazyck added 14 points for the Trojans. UCLA received game-high 23-point outings from both Jordin Canada and Kennedy Burke, while Monique Billings registered a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds in the Bruin win.
USC closes out the month in Los Angeles, hosting the Arizona schools next week. The Trojans will face Arizona in a 7 p.m. clash on Friday (Jan. 27) before turning to take on Arizona State at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 29) -- all at Galen Center.
ASSOCIATED PRESS RECAP:
LOS ANGELES (AP) This rivalry game wasn't decided until the final minute, but the result was the same; another UCLA women's basketball victory over USC.
The previous matchup was vastly easier for the Bruins, but UCLA beat USC for the second time in four days, a 71-67 victory Sunday at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA (15-4, 6-2) benefited from USC's 19 turnovers. Jordin Canada and Kennedy Burke each scored 23 points for the Bruins (Burke tied a career-high in scoring) while Monique Billings had a double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Burke also tied a career-high in rebounds with nine.
''Actually, we do this thing every week where we have commitment cards,'' Burke said. ''This week, my focus was offensive rebounding and being confident with the ball. My teammates helped me.''
Burke had six of UCLA's 16 offensive rebounds, but USC edged UCLA on the boards overall, 47-42.
USC (10-9, 1-7) suffered its seventh consecutive loss. Courtney Jaco led USC with 18 points, and Kristen Simon added 16 points and eight rebounds. Simon, USC's leading scorer, was back in the lineup Sunday after missing the three previous games with an injury. Billings had 28 points in the previous game, but the Trojans used a double-team with Simon that made it more difficult for Billings to score inside.
Jaco played against Canada for the final time in this rivalry. The two were teammates at Winward High in Los Angeles.
Afterward, Jaco and Canada both told each other they loved one another. Jaco was happier with USC's performance, even though it was another loss.
''You just get up for these games,'' Jaco said. ''It's rivalry week.''
USC and UCLA played twice this week, with UCLA winning 74-59 Wednesday at USC. The Bruins raced out to a big lead and cruised to the victory. This one was much more difficult for UCLA. The game was tied at 62 with 5:34 left, and UCLA was clinging to a 67-65 lead with1:45 left. UCLA made four of six free throws in the final 45 seconds. Canada had an offensive rebound with 15 seconds left to secure the win.
UCLA won its fourth consecutive game and extended its home win streak to 23 games overall and 15 in a row against Pac-12 opponents, dating back to last season.
USC doesn't have to play UCLA again this season unless it's in the Pac-12 Tournament. The Trojans can feel more confident about playing much better against one of the best teams in the country.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
''We definitely took a step in the right direction on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. There were a couple of 50-50 balls here and there. UCLA attempted 33 free throws. We attempted eight. I thought we were pretty aggressive going to the basket. You're going to have those nights,'' said USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke on improvements from the last game
USC returns to the Galen Center to host Arizona and Arizona State on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Trojans will try to get back on track at home, where their last win came against Colorado one month ago.
#13/11 UCLA 71, USC 67