USC Women Tack Up 66-62 Upset Win At No. 19 Texas A&M|
Nov. 30, 2016
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS -- The USC women's basketball team dealt No. 19 Texas A&M its first loss of the year while bumping up the Trojans' own win streak to four in a row, beating the host Aggies 66-62 in a tense morning matchup at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. The Women of Troy trailed by as much as nine in the first half and had to overcome foul trouble before righting the ship and making a stubborn push to victory with a strong second-half showing. USC forced two ties in the fourth quarter and was down by two with 4:25 to go, but the Trojans would not fold, instead pressing on for the upset road win. USC improves to 6-1 overall with the win, while Texas A&M goes to 5-1 on the year.
Both teams had made 11 field goals apiece in the first half of play, but the hosts had the advantage at the free-throw line, going 11-of-15 from the stripe to USC's 4-of-6 as Texas A&M crafted a 34-27 halftime lead. The lead had traded hands eight times in the first 12 minutes before the foul count tipped against the Trojans during the second quarter to stall things out as the hosts maneuvered out ahead. By the time the second half unfurled, however, the Trojans made adjustments and got 10 points from Kristen Simon in those 10 minutes to help fuel a USC comeback push. USC's first lead since the early second quarter came care of an 8-0 run that eclipsed a 5-point deficit and took the Trojans ahead 47-44 in the late stages of the third. In the fourth, USC continued to hit key shots while finally getting to the free-throw line more than twice in the frame. Simon -- who had hit two free throws late in the third -- kept coming in the fourth. Texas A&M had worked ahead 59-57 with 4:25 to go, but the Trojans stood their ground. After Edwards broke a tie in the final minute, USC's defense stymied the Aggies while USC converted from the line to work out ahead. Simon's sixth straight free throw finishes -- her 20th points of the day -- made it 65-62 Trojans with 21 seconds left, and USC would hold strong to round out the upset win.
SImon, who was 6-for-6 from the stripe on the day -- topped out with 20 points for the Trojans along with a team-high eight rebounds. Sadie Edwards delivered 18 points for USC to join Simon in double digits. USC's defense forced 22 turnovers out of the Aggies, while the Trojans committed 13. Texs A&M was paced by Kaalia Hillsman's 21 points, while Anriel Howard added a double-double on 10 points and 17 rebounds. Danni Williams also scored 11 points for the Aggies, who outrebounded the Trojans 40-30 in the game. USC shot 39 percent from the floor to trail Texas A&M's 41 percent. The Trojans finished up 16-of-22 from the free-throw line after shooting 4-of-6 in the first half. Texas A&M went 18-of-23 from the line in the game after making 11-of-15 in the first half.
USC's last win over a ranked team was an upset of No. 15 UCLA last season, winning 71-68.
The lead would trade hands four times in the first frame before the hosts made a push out ahead. USC would close the gap down to one after a bucket from Kristen Simon and a single free throw from Sadie Edwards, but TAMU responded with a three that added some padding, and the Aggies held a 16-13 lead at the end of the first. The tug-of-war would continue in the second after Minyon Moore opened the frame with a bucket and then a pair of free throws to nudge USC back into the lead, up 17-16. Back and forth it would go for the next few minutes, but TAMU would get some assistance as the foul count tipped against the Trojans. The Aggies would take six trips to the stripe in the second quarter to just one by the Trojans, and that advantage helped the hosts move out to a 34-25 lead before Sadie Edwards ended the half with a bucket that closed it as a 34-27 margin.
In the third, USC found a 3-point spark, with Courtney Jaco and Valerie Higgins wrapping threes around a bucket by the Aggies to carve the deficit down to three. TAMU would have an answer for USC's next scores, too, though. Simon slipped into double digits for the fourth straight game with a score in the paint, making it 42-39 with 5:15 on the clock, but the Aggies answered with a score themselves, keeping the see-saw battle going. Once again, USC struck from beyond the arc to get a lift. Edwards landed a big one, and after a USC defensive stop it was Simon down low to level the game at 44-44 with 2:15 on the clock. A block from Asiah Jones next sent USC the other way, and Jaco slipped in the runner to give USC its first lead since early in the second quarter, up 46-44.
TAMU's perimeter game helped pump the Aggies back ahead in the fourth, netting an early three and then making a 6-0 surge -- four straight points coming from the free-throw line -- to build a 57-51 lead. That wouldn't last too long, though, as the Trojans manufactured a rally of their own next. Free throws from Moore were followed by slick scores from Edwards and Simon to pull even with the Aggies at 57-57 with 5:20 to go. From there, it turned into a game of guts. Finally, USC was working its way to the free-throw line as the Aggies tried to keep the Trojans at bay. After TAMU hit a jumper, USC's Alexis Lloyd took a charge on the Trojans' next defensive stand. Edwards hit the back end of her trip to the stripe, and the Simon stepped up and nailed both to edge USC into the lead, up 60-59 with 2:21 on the clock. After a big defensive board from Moore, Lloyd got to the line and hit one for a two-point lead that was soon leveled by the Aggies. Locked up at 61-61 with 51 seconds left, Edwards hit a huge bucket to nudge USC ahead 63-61 with 40 ticks to go. TAMU got a visit to the line next, but hit just the second to keep USC in the lead. Forced to foul thanks to big defensive efforts by the Trojans next, the Aggies saw Simon stay strong from the stripe with two more for a 65-62 advantage with 21 seconds remaining. The Aggies would miss on their next opportunity, with Edwards hauling in the rebound and getting sent to the line with 10 seconds remaining. One was all she'd need and she got it, hitting the front end to make it 66-62 and from there it was up to USC's defense. Stifling defense forced a travel and the turnover by TAMU, and USC could hold onto the ball for the final 6 seconds to wrap up the win.
The Women of Troy now prep for a trip to Sacramento State on Saturday (Dec. 3) for a 7:35 p.m. clash with the Hornets in Sacramento.
USC 66, #19 TEXAS A&M 62