USC Women Take No. 5 Mississippi State Down To The Wire, Fall 76-72 At Women of Troy Classic

    Dec. 18, 2016

    Box Score

    LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team gave the nation's No. 5 team a run for its money today in the title match of the Women of Troy Classic before visiting Mississippi State was able to sneak out ahead and hang on for a 76-72 win over the Trojans at Galen Center. An 8-0 run had carried USC into the lead during the second quarter, and it wasn't until the end of the third quarter that undefeated Mississippi State nudged ahead, benefiting from 10 Trojan fouls whistled in that 10-minute span. Five lead changes would come in the fourth before the Bulldogs maneuvered ahead and USC was just off the mark in its effort to equalize in the final seconds, leaving the Trojans with just their second loss of the year. USC goes to 8-2 with the loss, while No. 5 Mississippi State remains undefeated at 12-0.

    Kristen Simon had secured double digits by halftime to help anchor a strong stand by the Trojans through those first 20 minutes. Simon's 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting -- including the first 3-pointer of her career -- boosted USC to a 33-29 halftime lead as the Trojans shot 42 percent from the floor in the first half. Mississippi State was shooting 39 percent by the break, and each team had landed three 3-pointers apiece. A 13-of-16 outing from the free-throw line in the third quarter helped the Bulldogs build some steam as they worked ahead 55-54 at the end of the third. By the final buzzer, USC had outshot Mississippi State, going 48 percent from the floor and 6-of-11 from 3-point range to outpace the Bulldogs' 42 percent from the floor and 5-of-14 effort from beyond the arc. Mississippi State outrebounded the Trojans 40-24 but committed 15 turnovers to USC's 11. From the stripe, Mississippi State landed 23-of-29 free throws compared to USC's 14-of-18 outing.

    USC was led in scoring by Sadie Edwards' 24 points -- 18 of which came in the second half. Kristen Simon wound up with 15 points, and Minyon Moore added 14 while fellow freshman served up eight blocks -- the most by a Trojan since Lisa Leslie hit eight in 1993. It's the third most blocks ever tallied by a Trojan in a single game, with Cheryl Miller holding the top counts of 9 and 10. Mississippi State was led by 19 points from Victoria Vivians, along with 18 from Morgan William and 17 from Breanna Richardson.



    The Trojans went toe-to-toe with the nation's No. 5 team, fighting through four ties and three lead changes out of the gates to grip a 14-13 lead at the close of the first quarter. Kristen Simon punched up seven points in those first 10 minutes, including landing her first career 3-pointer -- and first 3-point attempt -- to help the Trojans keep pace with the Bulldogs. Her bomb tugged USC ahead 9-8 just before Minyon Moore finished off a take to the hoop to nudge USC out to an 11-8 advantage. USC's slim one-point edge at the close of the first would grow to a six-point lead with a solid inside-outside effort from the Trojans. After a 5-0 Mississippi State run took the Bulldogs ahead 22-20 with 5:15 on the clock, Sadie Edwards stepped up and drained two huge 3-pointers before Simon slipped in her 11th points to take USC ahead 28-22 with 3:35 left in the half. The Bulldogs would chop that down a bit, but USC would keep its poise and close out the half holding a 33-29 advantage.

    The third quarter unfurled with another see-saw battle as the Trojans worked hard to maintain their lead. As the foul count tipped heavily against the Trojans -- 10 USC fouls to two Bulldog fouls in the third frame -- Mississippi State was able carve into USC's lead. Seven free throws in the last two minutes helped the Bulldogs sneak into their first lead since midway through the second quarter. Two final tosses for the Bulldogs took them to a 55-54 lead at the close of the third. In the fourth, the tug-of-war continued. The score snarled up even five more times in an all-out shootout between the Trojans and the Bulldogs. Sadie Edwards drilled two huge threes to steal back the lead for USC, knocking down her fourth of the game to make it a 67-65 USC lead with 4:40 left to play. Mississippi State worked back into the lead with a rally, only to see Courtney Jaco hit a three for give USC a 70-68 lead with 3:00 on the clock. The Bulldogs answered right back, however, locking it even at 70-70 and then building out a 75-70 lead as the Trojans were whistled for back-to-back fouls. Simon would get a trip to the stripe with 1:09 to go, nailing both to make it a 3-point game at 75-72. Asiah Jones hauled in the rebound to give USC a chance and Jaco let a nice-looking 3-point try fly, but the shot was just barely off the mark with two ticks to go, and Mississippi State was able to hang on and wrap a 76-72 win over the host Trojans.

    USC now turns to its final nonconference game before Pac-12 play begins. The Trojans pay a visit to UC Irvine for a 2 p.m. game on Wednesday (Dec. 21) in Irvine.

    Women of Troy Classic All-Tournament Team
    MVP - Morgan William (Mississippi State)
    Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State)
    Kristen Simon (USC)
    Kiara Perry (SMU)
    Monisha Neal (Grambling State)

    2016 Women of Troy Classic - Championship Game
    12/18/16 1 p.m. at Galen Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Victoria Vivians 6-19 4-6 19; Morgan William 5-10 8-9 18; Breanna Richardson 6-9 5-6 17; Chinwe Okorie 3-5 0-0 6; Roshunda Johnson 2-6 0-0 5; Teaira McCowan 0-3 4-6 4; Jazzmun Holmes 1-3 2-2 4; Blair Schaefer 1-2 0-0 3; Ketara Chapel 0-0 0-0 0; Jacaira Allen 0-0 0-0 0.
    Totals 24-57 23-29 76.

    USC (8-2)
    Edwards, Sadie 9-14 2-2 24; Simon, Kristen 6-12 2-2 15; Moore, Minyon 5-11 4-4 14; Mazyck, Aliyah 1-5 2-4 4; Jones, Asiah 2-2 0-0 4; Jaco, Courtney 1-5 1-2 4; Effa, Marguerite 1-1 1-2 3; Higgins, Valerie 0-2 2-2 2; Tapley, Ja'Tavia 1-2 0-0 2; Milisic, Dani 0-0 0-0 0; Lloyd, Alexis 0-0 0-0 0; Jakubcova, Ivana 0-0 0-0 0.
    Totals 26-54 14-18 72.

    Mississippi State............. 13 16 26 21 - 76
    USC........................... 14 19 21 18 - 72

    3-point goals--Mississippi State 5-14 (Victoria Vivians 3-8; Roshunda Johnson 1-3; Blair Schaefer 1-2; Morgan William 0-1), USC 6-11 (Edwards, Sadie 4-5; Simon, Kristen 1-1; Jaco, Courtney 1-4; Mazyck, Aliyah 0-1).
    Fouled out--Mississippi State-None, USC-Jaco, Courtney.
    Rebounds--Mississippi State 40 (Breanna Richardson 9), USC 24 (Simon, Kristen 7).
    Assists--Mississippi State 9 (Jazzmun Holmes 5), USC 14 (Moore, Minyon 6).
    Total fouls--Mississippi State 18, USC 26. Technical fouls--Mississippi State-TEAM, USC-None.