USC Women See Seattle Trip Come To A Close With 71-58 Loss To Cal|
March 2, 2017
SEATTLE, WASH. -- The USC women's basketball team had the game level in the early stages of the fourth quarter, but No. 8 seed California dug in and kept converting in the paint and from the free-throw line to stave off the No. 9 seeded Trojans in today's Pac-12 Tournament opener in Seattle. A final 71-58 win by the Golden Bears sends Cal on to tomorrow's quarterfinals, while USC finishes up its time in Seattle holding a 14-16 overall record.
USC had a tough time countering Cal's hot-shooting Kristine Anigwe, who finished up with 34 points, including a 9-of-10 stand from the free-throw line to pace the Bears in their winning effort. USC was able to force 19 turnovers out of Cal in the game, but the Bears fired back by shooting 55 percent from the floor in the game. USC shot 38 percent. USC received a team-high 17 points from Kristen Simon, who was in foul trouble throughout, and 10 points from freshman Minyon Moore. Nine Trojans scored in all -- a balanced team effort by USC, but not enough to creep past Cal down the stretch. In addition to Anigwe's 34 points and 13 rebounds, Cal had 12 points apiece from Mikayla Cowling and Mi'Cole Cayton.
After fighting through a couple early ties, the Trojans got a leg up in the first quarter thanks in large part to a powerful effort from Kristen Simon. She had USC's first six points to help maneuver into the lead. A big bucket from Ivana Jakubcova and two free throws from Ja'Tavia Tapley showed that the Trojans brought their depth to the game, and USC gripped a 14-13 lead at the end of the first. Foul trouble would become an obstacle in the next stretch, but USC was able to craft a 28-20 lead with a couple buckets from Dani Milisic and Courtney Jaco's first points of the day. In the last three minutes, though, Cal took advantage of USC's rising foul count and some miscues by the Trojans to end the half on a 10-0 run to take a 30-28 lead at the break.
In the third, Cal's Kristine Anigwe scored the first 12 points for the Bears while USC spread the wealth and carved a nine-point deficit down to five, then to three by the close of the frame. Minyon Moore delivered eight points for the Trojans in that 10-minute span, including four in USC's 6-0 surge to close the frame by edging closer to Cal, down 48-45 to start the fourth. Simon added a spark again, landing an early jumper to make it a one-point game, then striking back from another Anigwe bucket to make it 50-49 early in the fourth. While Aniguwe kept connecting, USC got some big buckets from its freshmen. Valerie Higgine landed a 3-pointer that leveled the game at 52-52 with 7:50 to go, and Asiah Jones broke up another back-to-back effort from Anigwe with a score that made it 57-54. That would be as close as the Trojans would get the rest of the way, however. Even a rare 3-pointer from Simon couldn't push Cal off course, as the Bears closed things out with success from the stripe to finish off a 71-58 victory over the Trojans.
2017 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament: Game 1