USC Women Zap Gonzaga With 60-56 Win In Spokane|
Nov. 24, 2015
SPOKANE, WASH. — The USC women’s basketball team stood its ground for another win on Gonzaga’s home court, this time staring down the host Bulldogs and tacking up a gutsy 60-56 win to improve to 5-0 on the year. The Trojans are off to their best season start since 1993-94, and this latest win was a big one for the program. USC had to counter a loud Gonzaga fan base and a foul-filled final frame to fend off the Zags, who had cut the Trojans' lead down to one in the final minute. USC would finish out the game from the free-throw line, pairing three successful tosses with a strong defensive stand to wrap up the win in Spokane, Wash. USC now takes its 5-0 mark on the road to finish out the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Challenge against Iona at 9 a.m. PT on Sunday (Nov. 29).
USC sputtered in its first quarter, falling behind 21-15 before getting things under control. The Trojans powered up offensively and shut down the Zags, going on a 16-0 run that put USC in the driver’s seat, up 36-28. Five early points from Alexis Lloyd helped USC get its legs underneath it and then Temi Fagbenle established her dominance in the paint. Lloyd’s 3-pointer was the spark for USC’s 16-0 run, in which Fagbenle scored nine of those points. Gonzaga snapped the run at 16-0, but Fagbenle served up the last three points to put USC ahead 36-28 by halftime. Gonzaga had managed only seven points in the quarter.
USC continued to show no fear against its hosts. The Trojans scored the first seven points of the half and kept pushing while keeping a tight grip on the Zags. USC outscored Gonzaga 15-10 down the stretch to carry a 51-38 advantage into the fourth. That’s when Gonzaga turned up the noise and turned up the pressure. The Bulldogs benefited from Trojan foul trouble, spending plenty of time on the free-throw line and finding plenty of success there as they interrupted the Trojan flow and ate away at the USC lead. As the foul count climbed for the Trojans, Gonzaga trimmed the lead down to one with a late 9-0 run. Two more free throws had the Trojans in the hot seat, up 55-54 with 1:28 to go. Brianna Barrett would come up clutch in the final stretch, though, for the Trojans. The senior nabbed a big steal and was sent to the line. She nailed both with 26 seconds left to bump USC to a 59-56 lead. Kristen Simon came up huge in forcing two Gonzaga turnovers to keep the Zags out of rhythm, and she’d go to the line with 0.2 seconds on the clock, and the sophomore hit the all-important front end to make it a 60-56 Trojans victory.
Temi Fagbenle served up a game-high 21 points — matching yesterday’s outing in USC’s overtime win over West Virginia — for the Trojans. Kristen Simon, Jordan Adams and Brianna Barrett each finished up with 9 points, with Barrett adding five assists and going a cool 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. Gonzaga had three players score in double figures. Elle Tinkle had 12 points and Kiara Kudron and Jill Barta scored 11 each. Shelby Cheslek had a game-high 11 rebounds for the Zags.
USC shot 44 percent from the floor in the win, to Gonzaga’s 38 percent. The Zags won out on the boards 35-22 but committed 22 turnovers to USC’s 15.
USC 60, GONZAGA 56
USC........................... 15 21 15 9 - 60
3-point goals--USC 3-17 (Jaco, Courtney 1-6; Lloyd, Alexis 1-2; Adams, Jordan 1-2; Mazyck, Aliyah 0-2; Taito, Khaedin 0-5), Gonzaga 2-8 (TINKLE, Elle 1-4; STACH, Emma 1-2; BARTA, Jill 0-2).