Jaco Saves The Day as USC Women Edge Albany 68-67 To Win Women of Troy Classic|
Dec. 20, 2015
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The USC women’s basketball team stuck to its guns in today’s Women of Troy Classic championship game against Albany. The Trojans’ top gun on the day was undoubtedly Courtney Jaco, whose career-best sixth 3-pointer was the final word in USC’s 68-67 win over the visiting Great Danes. Jaco knocked down the killer three with just five seconds left, nudged USC into the lead and leaving Albany with just one off-balance look before the buzzer. The heart-stopping win also kept intact USC’s perfect start to the season. The Trojans are now 11-0 overall, marking the best season start since 1982-83.
Jaco was named the Women of Troy Classic MVP after her 18-point performance in the title match, joined by fellow Trojan Kristen Simon on the All-Tournament Team. Albany’s Shereesha Richards, Florida A&M’s Olivia Antilla and UC Davis’ Morgan Bertsch were also named to the Women of Troy Classic All-Tournament Team.
For just the second time this season, USC was trailing entering the fourth quarter of play. It may not have been familiar territory, but the Trojans were up to the task, intent on preserving their undefeated start to the 2015-16 campaign. The lead traded hands 11 times in the fourth frame, including a heated tug-of-war in the last 2:35 of regulation. Kristen Simon delivered a three-point play to work into a double-double and take USC ahead 60-59 with 2:34 on the clock. Each team had an answer for the other down the stretch, and in the final minute Albany pulled the game to a 65-65 tie. Two Great Dane free throws with 26 ticks to go had Albany up 67-65, giving USC a look at the lead. The Trojans opted for the sure hands of Courtney Jaco, who faced a far-from-easy shot from beyond the arc. She took the feed from Khaedin Taito and sailed in the go-ahead bucket with her sixth 3-pointer of the game, making it 68-67 Trojans with 5 seconds left. Albany took the ball the other way and misfired on an off-balance attempt at the win, falling short of the rim as USC emerged victorious with the tight finish.
The Trojans had came up cold in the first quarter of play, shooting barely 19 percent from the floor while Albany worked out to a 10-7 lead. USC would regroup and warm up a bit, nailing four 3-pointers in the second quarter to help boost its numbers. USC was shooting 28 percent by halftime while Albany was at 38 percent, but the Trojans’ hot hands from beyond the arc helped USC to a 27-21 halftime lead.
In the third, USC got up to its largest lead of the game, ahead 29-21 early on a score from Simon, but Albany reigned the Trojans back in. Later in the third, Albany made a 6-0 run to work into the lead, up 45-40. Brianna Barrett went to work for the Trojans, issuing a putback off the glass and then hitting Simon for the score to cut it to a 45-44 margin entering the fourth quarter of action. Barrett started off the fourth with a score for a USC lead, prompting a wild stretch of basketball that saw neither team able to take command. Even a 6-point USC advantage melted away in the fourth, as Albany fired back to edge ahead 56-55 midway through the fourth, bring up that frantic scramble to the final buzzer.
Two Trojans and one Great Dane would foul out before game’s end as both teams spent considerable time at the free-throw line. In the second half of play, USC was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line, while Albany went 18-of-21. Barrett finished up the game 8-for-8 from the stripe, finishing matched with Jaco for a team-high 18 points apiece. Kristen Simon also had double figures for the Trojan cause, scoring 13 points to go with 11 rebounds. Albany was led once again by Richards, who scored 33 points for the Great Danes, including a 14-of-17 effort from the line. Imani Tate (14 points and Zakiya Saunders (12 points) also hit double figures for Albany. USC finished out the game shooting 36 percent from the floor, trailing Albany’s 48 percent. Albany also won out on the boards 33-31. USC was helped by eight 3-pointers landed in the win, while Albany hit three.
USC stays home for another game to wrap up nonconference action next week. The Trojans will host UC Irvine at 7 p.m. on December 28 at Galen Center in an effort to move to 12-0 on the season.
Women of Troy Classic - Championship
Albany........................ 10 11 24 22 - 67
3-point goals--Albany 3-5 (COUGHLIN,Erin 2-3; RICHARDS,Shereesha 1-2), USC 8-21 (Jaco, Courtney 6-13; Mazyck, Aliyah 1-4; Adams, Jordan 1-3; Taito, Khaedin 0-1). Fouled out--Albany-CARTER,Tiana-Jo, USC-Mazyck, Aliyah; Simon, Kristen. Rebounds--Albany 33 (RICHARDS,Shereesha 9), USC 31 (Simon, Kristen 11). Assists--Albany 14 (SAUNDERS,Zakiya 8), USC 15 (Barrett, Brianna 7). Total fouls--Albany 24, USC 22. Technical fouls--Albany-None, USC-None. Att-977