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Sun Devils Sidestep USC’s Late Threat In Tempe

Dec 4, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS | Final Stats | BOX SCORE (PDF) | Boxscore

TEMPE, ARIZ. —  The USC women's basketball team righted the ship after a hot-and-cold first half in Tempe, Ariz., only to see host Arizona State fend off the Trojans' second-half rally for a final 63-58 Sun Devil victory in today's Pac-12 opener for both programs. USC had two good looks at late game-changers in the final minute, but both were just off the mark as ASU was able to sidestep the danger and preserve the conference win. USC is now 1-1 overall and 1-0 in Pac-12 play. ASU goes to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference action.

USC had shot 60 percent from the floor in the first 10 minutes, but cooled out to 38 percent overall by halftime. ASU was hitting at a 45-percent clip in the first half. USC picked things up again in the second half, outscoring the Sun Devils 30-27, and also finished up shooting 43 percent from the floor to ASU's 36 percent. The Sun Devils had the edge on the boards 36-35, and both teams hit six 3-pointers apiece. ASU, however, was able to convert 17 points off USC's 16 turnovers, while the Trojans had nine points from the Sun Devils' 12 turnovers in the game.

USC was paced by sophomore guard Endyia Rogers' 15 points, with fellow sophomore Angel Jackson providing 11 for the Trojan cause. ASU received a game-high 20 points from Jadden Simmons — the only Sun Devil in double figures. 

USC planted five 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes to help craft a 23-17 lead over the Sun Devils. Jordan Sanders knocked down two of those for the transfer's first points as a Trojan. ASU responded with a 13-0 run to open the second period, carving down USC's advantage and moving ahead 30-23 before Endyia Rogers snapped the slump for the Trojans with 3:35 left in the half. Rogers would end up accounting for all of USC's offense in the frame, while four Sun Devils combined forces to take the hosts out ahead 36-28 by halftime. 

Undeterred by another slow start out of the gates in the second half, USC got back in stride with the Sun Devils. ASU scored the first eight points of the half, but the Trojans found their scoring touch soon after, with another 3-pointer from Sanders and a big three-point play by freshman Amaya Oliver keeping USC alive as ASU held a 50-42 advantage entering the fourth. There, USC turned the tide and fired off an 8-0 surge that tugged the Trojans level with the Sun Devils. An acrobatic finish from Oliver snarled things up 50-50 just two minutes into the fourth. ASU got back on top, and although the Trojans got within one on a feed from Desiree Caldwell and finish from Jackson, making it 57-56 entering the final five minutes, USC just couldn't close out the comeback. Looks to force overtime were just off the mark, and ASU wrapped things up from the free-throw line in finishing out a 63-58 victory over the visiting Trojans.

NEXT:
USC travels to Tucson next to take on No. 7 Arizona in a 1 p.m. MT / 12 p.m. PT start on Sunday (Dec. 6).

NOTABLE:
- Transfer Jordan Sanders made her USC debut and was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
- Sophomores Endyia Rogers and Angel Jackson both scored in double digits for the second straight game.
- It was USC's fourth straight loss to ASU and third straight in Tempe.