USC Women Come Up Short At Arizona, 67-62|
Feb. 26, 2017
TUCSON, ARIZ. — The USC women’s basketball team fought out of a 17-point hole and had the game tied up with six minutes left, but host Arizona was able to fend off the visiting Trojans for a 67-62 final victory today in Tucson. USC’s loss closes out the regular season with the Trojans at 14-15 overall and with a 5-13 finish in Pac-12 play. Arizona stands the same as USC, also at 14-15, 5-13 with the Pac-12 Tournament coming up next week.
USC suffered through an off-balance attack in the first half, shooting 36 percent from the floor and going 1-of-10 from 3-point range while the Wildcats hit at a 41-percent clip and landed three key threes for a big boost in the first stretch. Arizona also benefited from the stripe, going 11-of-17 while USC shot 6-of-8 from the free-throw line as Arizona gripped a 32-27 lead by halftime. USC had carved a 17-point deficit down to three during the second quarter, but Arizona was still able to stay a step ahead through those first 20 minutes of play.
In the second half, USC was able to heat up in the fourth quarter and get the game even at 52-52, but Arizona got the buckets it needed when it mattered to fend off the Trojans. USC finished the game shooting 35 percent from the floor to trail Arizona’s 41-percent outing on the day. The Wildcats also won out on the boards 42-37. USC received a game-high 21 points from Minyon Moore and 12 from Courtney Jaco to pace the USC offense. The season’s top scorer and rebounder Kristen Simon’s playing time came to an early close with an injury late in the first half. Arizona had four players finish in double digits, led by 18 from LaBrittney Jones. Dezja James and Malena Washington each had 14, and Breanna Workman scored 12 to go with 10 rebounds. James also had a double-double in adding 12 rebounds to her effort.
The Trojans were out of sync early in the game, falling into a 7-0 hole before Kristen Simon helped her team get into gear. Still, it was an offensive struggle for USC while the Wildcats worked out to a 23-6 lead with two minutes left in the first. Simon again stepped up to spark a 6-0 scoring rally for USC to cut into that deficit, and Valerie Higgins got a little momentum going to close the first with a baseline buzzer-beater to make it 24-14 Arizona at the end of 10 minutes of play. Higgins kept charging out of the gates in the second, nabbing a steal and a finish, then landing a 3-pointer after a take from fellow freshman Minyon Moore to carve the deficit down to three, trailing 24-21. Arizona was able to hold onto its lead, however, building out a 32-23 advantage while USC’s offense stalled again. Aliyah Mazyck broke up the slump with a steal and a finish, and two free throws from Moore would wrap the half with USC within five of its hosts, down 32-27 at the break.
In the second half, the teams largely stayed in stride, but a late bucket from Arizona had the Wildcats up seven at the end of the third. USC would stage an 8-0 rally to get the deficit down to two, and late tied it up at 52-52 with 6:10 to go on a 3-pointer from Courtney Jaco. It was a tug-of war the rest of the way, but Arizona was able to stay a step ahead as USC was forced to send the Wildcats to the line. Moore landed a 3-pointer wo get USC within two, down 63-61 with 19 seconds left. She’d get the steal and go to the line for a shot at leveling the game, but just hit the back end to put USC down one, 63-62, with 15 seconds left, and Arizona would close it out for the win.
USC takes the No. 9 seed into the 2017 Pac-12 Tournament next week, lining up for a first-round matchup against No. 8 seed California at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday (March 2) at KeyArena in Seattle.