USC Women Fall In Battle To The Bruins 59-52|
Dec. 30, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC women's basketball team ended up outgunned in tonight's Pac-12 kickoff showdown against crosstown rival UCLA. The Bruins and the Trojans traded runs and leads throughout, but it was UCLA's 3-point attack coupled with an inconsistent Trojan effort from the free-throw line that left USC out of reach and out of time in a 59-52 loss to the Bruins tonight at Galen Center. The Pac-12 opener between the two rivals leaves USC at 8-4 overall and 0-1 to start conference action, while UCLA goes to 5-7, 1-0.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the first half of action, with the game see-sawing through four lead changes and four draws before the Bruins got hot with a late 6-0 run to grab a 32-24 advantage by halftime. UCLA was shooting 39 percent from the floor through those first 20 minutes of play to lead USC's 31 percent effort. The Bruins also were ahead on the boards 25-19, but the biggest difference in the scoresheet was the perimeter attack. UCLA had landed four first-half 3-pointers while the Trojans came up empty from beyond the arc. USC would hold UCLA scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half as the Trojans drew back into the game and snagged a slim lead. But as always, another Bruin rally ensued. UCLA tugged into the lead with 13:35 on the clock and would fend off the Women of Troy the rest of the way. By the final buzzer, UCLA had nailed six 3-pointers and was 11-of-14 from the free-throw line. USC finished with three 3-pointers and a meager 5-of-11 effort from the stripe. The overall efforts from the floor were close, with UCLA going for 34 percent and USC at 33. The Trojans did outrebound the Bruins 46-42 and nabbed nine steals.
USC was led in scoring by freshman McKenzie Calvert's 16 points, and had 12 points from senior Kaneisha Horn. Senior Alexyz Vaioletama hauled in 10 rebounds for the Trojan cause, and Brianna Barrett served up five assists. UCLA had three players score double digits, with a game-high 17 points from Recee' Caldwell along with 12 points from Jordin Canada and 10 from Nirra Fields. Lajahna Drummer recorded 11 rebounds for UCLA.
Out of the gates, a quick 5-0 UCLA lead melted away as USC upped its defensive pressure and got out ahead with help from a couple fast break finishes from McKenzie Calvert, who lifted the Trojan ahead 7-5 on her back-to-back takes to the hoop. The Bruins fought right back, though, sneaking into the lead two minutes later. USC would pull even on a nice series that was capped by a score from Kaneisha Horn, only to see UCLA plant three and then build back to a five-point edge. An 8-0 USC rally solved that problem, with four different Trojans plugging in points during the run to a 17-14 lead with 7:45 to go in the half. Two more tie-ups and more leads were traded in the next four minutes, but UCLA would nudge into a 26-19 lead thanks to a 9-0 response that saw Recee' Caldwell bury her third 3-pointer of the half with 3:25 to go. USC's scoring drought would stretch for four minutes until Courtney Jaco converted a three-point play and Cavlet followed with another fast break finish to cut things to 26-24 at 1:45. The Bruins would have the last word, however, drumming up six straight points to wrap the half as a 32-24 UCLA advantage.
After spending much of the first half on the bench with two early fouls, Alexyz Vaioletama found a spark and slipped in the first buckets of the next stretch to sneak USC within four, down 32-28 just over a minute into the next half. After a single free throw fell for Horn, Brianna Barrett landed USC's first 3-pointer of the game to lock even with the Bruins at 32-32 with 16:45 on the clock. Again, UCLA jabbed back. The Bruins worked into a 45-38 lead by the 8-minute mark thanks in part to yet another 3-pointer landed to notch a fifth on the night -- outpacing USC's single three made. Almost 12 minutes after making her early scoring noise, Vaioletama struck again down low, making it 47-42 UCLA with 6:15 remaining. Trouble from the free-throw line left USC still short after three visits to the stripe, cutting to within three at 47-44 with 4:27 on the clock. UCLA stepped up and landed another clutch three at 2:35 to craft a six-point lead, and that would stand with 1:46 left in regulation. Calvert knocked down a three to breathe life into the Trojan cause with 1:25 left, only to see UCLA go to the line next and make it 53-49 Bruins with 57 seconds remaining. USC's 3-point tries to pull closer were off the mark, and the Trojans were forced to send the Bruins to the line in the next stretch. UCLA was efficient, and extended its lead out to 57-49. Calvert drained a three with 5 ticks to go to make it 57-52, only to see UCLA close it out from the line for a 59-52 victory over the host Trojans.
USC stays home for another round of Pac-12 play later this week. The Trojans will host Oregon at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 3) followed by a Monday (Jan. 5) matchup against No. 13 Oregon State at 6 p.m. Both games will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
UCLA 59, USC 52
UCLA.......................... 32 27 - 59
3-point goals--UCLA 6-20 (Caldwell, Recee' 3-5; Fields, Nirra 3-8; Korver, Kari 0-4; Canada, Jordin 0-3), USC 3-22 (Calvert, McKenzie 2-7; Barrett,
Brianna 1-4; Vaioletama, Alexyz 0-1; Jaco, Courtney 0-8; Adams, Jordan 0-1; Horn, Kaneisha 0-1).