USC Women Fall Short In 65-64 Loss At Cal State Northridge

    Alexyz Vaioletama was in beast mode for USC tonight at CSUN.

    Dec. 10, 2013

    Box Score


    NORTHRIDGE, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team just couldn't get over the hump in today's road journey to Cal State Northridge, needing a last-ditch effort to fall in order to steal away a win from the host Matadors. Down by one with 17 seconds left, the Women of Troy came up empty in the final stretch and took a 65-64 loss to Cal State Northridge, despite the heroic efforts of Alexyz Vaioletama, who secured her first career double-double with a booming 21 points and 18 rebounds tonight. USC falls to 5-4 overall with the loss, while Cal State Northridge improves to 3-7.

    USC shot 42 percent from the floor and was a cool 10-of-21 from the free-throw line in the losing effort. Cal State Northridge shot 42 percent from the floor and went 9-of-12 on free throws. USC's Vaioletama led all with her 21 points and 18 rebounds, joined in double figures by Cassie Harberts with a double-double on 18 points and 12 boards. Ariya Crook finished with 19 points for USC. Cal State Northridge was led by 16 points from Ashlee Guay, followed by Cinnamon Lister with 11 and Bernadette Fong with 10, while Camille Mahlknecht hauled in 10 rebounds for the Matadors. USC dominated the boards 47-34, but was plagued a final 17 turnovers, which fed 15 points for CSUN.

    Senior Cassie Harberts delivered USC's first five points of the game to promptly take over as the Trojans' No. 15 all-time leading scorer. She'd later provide a long-awaited go-ahead basket for the Women of Troy, finishing off a feed from Kaneisha Horn to give USC its first lead since the first minute of the game, up 20-19 with 9:02 on the clock. Five minutes later, a pick-off from Brianna Barrett and the finish at the other end bumped USC up to a four-point lead for the first time in the game. That had the Trojans leading 27-23 entering the final five minutes of the first half. The Matadors had a response, however, netting a successful trip to the line and then nailing a three to steal back into the lead. By the halftime buzzer, CSUN's slim lead was still intact, with the Matadors up 35-33 on the Trojans at the break.



    The Trojans were hitting at a 54-percent clip by halftime, but were hurt by 11 turnovers that kept feeding the Matadors' fire. CSUN shot 44 percent in the first half, but the difference was those giveaways by the Women of Troy. To get back in control, USC would have to clean things up significantly.

    USC opened the second half with a turnover, but remedied that with defensive stops before Harberts broke the seal with another outback -- her 14th points of the night -- to give USC a spark. Two free throws from Ariya Crook had the Trojans in the lead next, but the Matadors got one to go later to bring up the seventh tie of the game. While Alexyz Vaioletama worked her way into her first career double-double, a tug-of-war continued between the teams. CSUN managed to work out ahead, building a 58-52 lead on the Trojans with 7:05 to go. USC had slipped into a scoring slump, unable to hit from the floor for over five minutes until Harberts slipped in a score from the paint with make it 58-54 CSUN with 4:20 to go. Destinie Gibbs dropped her first points of the night next, and Vaioletama's heroics continued with an offensive board -- her 17th -- and the score down low -- her 21st points -- to bring the Trojans within two, down 60-58 with 3:20 remaining. Entering the last minute, the Matadors were holding 64-61 edge. Crook came up big, drilling a three to equalize with 33 seconds to go. A foul put the Matadors on the line, where Janae Sharpe would hit the first and Adams would haul in the rebound to give USC the ball, down by one with 30 seconds left. After a messy start, USC had the ball on the baseline with 17 seconds left. Crook took the ball into the lane lofting a runner short of the rim. Vaioletama attempted a heroic backwards tip-in, but it would roll frustratingly off the rim as time expired to leave the Women of Troy short as CSUN emerged victorious 65-64.

    USC's next action comes on Dec. 19 back at Galen Center with a 6 p.m. clash against Saint Mary's. The Trojans will stay home for a Dec. 21 matchup against Hawai'i at 2 p.m.