Southern California Holds Off Arizona Comeback
Junior Candice Warthen posted her 10th game in double-digit scoring, but Arizona Women’s Basketball (4-11, 0-4) fell to USC (11-6, 4-1), 54-45 on Sunday at McKale Center.
Warthen finished with 12 points to lead UA, while senior Carissa Crutchfield and freshman LaBrittney Jones had nine each and freshman Breanna Workman posted eight.
The Wildcats dropped in a hole early, trailing by as much as 19 with 12 minutes to play in the second half. Arizona rallied and pulled within five points in the final minutes, but the Trojans made key shots and came out on top.
“It’s very frustrating; we have opportunities and just didn't capitalize,” Arizona Head Coach Niya Butts said. “We held them to 54 points, we should have a chance to win. We're not capitalizing on so many opportunities. We missed fast break layups and fundamental things like that just aren't getting done.”
As a team, Arizona forced 18 turnovers and only committed 13 of its own. The Wildcats held All Pac-12 selection Cassie Harberts to eight points, below her season average of 14.9 ppg.
The Wildcats scored a season-low 45 points and only connected on one three-pointer for the first time all season.
“We're always so close,” Warthen said. “We need to find it within ourselves that we can do this. We never finish. We have to learn how to do that.”
Southern California posted 44 rebounds to Arizona’s 33, but defensively, UA held USC to 54 total points, below its season average of 65.5.
“We didn't rebound at all,” Workman said. “That makes me upset because that's my position and I have more pride than that. We played good defense, but most of their points in the first half were offensive rebounds.”
Junior Alexyz Vaioletama led the Trojans with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Wildcats will host No. 4 Stanford at McKale Center on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks.
“When you have Stanford and California coming up--both those teams are playing well,” Butts said. “There’s no time to harp on it, we have to prepare and make changes.”
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Head Coach Niya Butts
On team’s performance:
“Give credit to USC, they did what they needed to do to get the win, we didn't do enough. We all have to figure out ways to execute down the stretch, defensively and offensively.”
On missed chances:
“It’s very frustrating; we have opportunities and just didn't capitalize. There are plays to be made but we just didn't make them. We have to figure it out. We held them to 54 points, we should have a chance to win. We're not capitalizing on so many opportunities. We missed fast break layups and fundamental things like that just aren't getting done.” On lack of consistency:
“Clearly we can get it done, but were having to settle a lot of times for the first shot instead of moving the ball. Defensively, we don't get to our spots. Then other times were making good decisions and making shots and were all over the place. It's hard on them (the players), they want to win and to do well so it's hard for them.”
On upcoming opponents:
“When you have Stanford and California coming up--both those teams are playing well. There’s no time to harp on it, we have to prepare and make changes.”
Junio guard Candice Warthen
On the game: “We gave away another win. We had several opportunities at the end of the game but we couldn't execute. It's about toughness, and these games are so close and we just need to make something happen.”
On finishing games: “We're always so close. We need to find it within ourselves that we can do this. We never finish. We have to learn how to do that.”
On shots not falling: “It's been like that for a couple games. I've been doing extra work, to know that you've been putting in that extra work and getting more shots up, and the shots aren't falling, it’s frustrating.”
Freshman forward Breanna Workman
On the game:
“We're disappointed in our play. We need to be tougher and learn how to defend and finish games harder and smarter.”
On the team energy: “We have to be tough and focus in and make big plays. We started off with a lot of energy, and then it died down. We have to have the same mindset for 40 minutes. All five players on the court have to have that mindset.”
On rebounding: “We didn't rebound at all. That makes me upset because that's my position and I have more pride than that. We played good defense, but most of their points in the first half were offensive rebounds.”