Second Half Push Not Enough as USC Falls 64-58 at Saint Mary's|
Dec. 6, 2014
MORAGA, Calif. - The USC women's basketball team made a valiant second half effort to come back to tie the game after being down by as much as 10 points in the first half, but it wasn't quite enough, as Saint Mary's took care of business down the stretch, defeating the Women of Troy 64-58 on Saturday evening at McKeon Pavilion.
The Women of Troy (5-2) were led by Courtney Jaco and Brianna Barrett, who both finished with 11 points apiece. Jaco hit two big three-pointers, one at the end of the first half and another in the second half to keep the Trojans in the game.
However, foul trouble hampered the Trojans all night and the Gaels (6-1) were able to sink their free throws down the stretch to pull away in the final eight minutes of the game. Lauren Nicholson led the way for the Gaels, tallying 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting in the game.
In the first half, both squads took a while to heat up, as the score was tied 0-0 until the Gaels' Hayley Hendricksen broke the deadlock at 18:09. The Gaels scored again to take an early 4-0 lead until Barrett sunk two free throws at 17:18 to put the Women of Troy on the board. At the 16:24 mark, Jordan Adams came up with the steal and converted the layup on the fast break to tie things up, 4-4.
The Trojans took their only lead of the first half 6-4 at the 15:25 mark when Barrett drained two more free throws. The Gaels answered with an 8-2 run however, pulling their lead to seven, 20-13 with 5:33 to play. The Trojans answered and cut the lead back down to three with layups from Kristen Simon, Barrett and Kaneisha Horn with 2:40 to go.
However, the Gaels went on a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to push their lead to 10, 31-21 with 20 seconds to go. Jaco hit a big three-pointer with seven seconds left in the half and the Trojans went into the break down just seven, 31-24.
In the second half the Women of Troy came out with renewed energy, forcing the Gaels into early turnovers and converting on the offensive end. Just 44 seconds into the second half, after two free throws from Barrett, a layup by Alexyz Vaioletama pulled the Trojans within three, 31-28. The Trojan pressure continued and a layup by Kiki Alofaituli with 13:30 to go pulled the Trojans within one, 36-35.
The Trojans held tight with the Gaels for the next five minutes, and with 8:25 to go, Alofaituli came up with a big steal and found Jaco on the fast break to tie the game 44-44.
However, that would be as close as the Trojans would get, as fouls hurt through the final eight minutes and the Gaels pushed to an eight point lead with just under two minutes to go. Horn converted a big three-point play with 1:33 to go to cut the lead to five, 58-53, and Jaco added a three-point play of her own with 55 second to go to put the score at 60-56, but the Gaels nailed their free throws in the final minute to put the game away, 64-58.
The Trojans return to the friendly confines of Galen Center to begin a seven-game homestand on Tuesday, Dec. 9 as they host Cal State Northridge at 6 p.m. PT.