No. 7 Arizona Fends Off Visiting USC Women 78-77
TUCSON, ARIZ. — The USC women's basketball team went toe-to-toe with No. 7 Arizona, coming up a point short of the host Wildcats in a wild Pac-12 contest today in Tucson. USC had led by 11 points before fouls interrupted the short-handed Trojans' efforts and gave Arizona a path ahead. Still, USC was able to net a slim lead in the final five minutes, only to see Arizona pull out a 78-77 victory over visiting USC. The. Trojans go to 1-2 overall with an 0-2 mark in this opening Pac-12 road trip. No. 7 Arizona improves to 3-0 overall and to 2-0 in Pac-12 play.
USC shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half and was 4-of-7 from 3-point range to help overcome Arizona's 10 points converted off nine first-half turnovers by the Trojans. Arizona was shooting 47 percent from the floor as the host trailed USC 37-34 by halftime. Arizona would course-correct offensively, heating up to finish out the game at 50 percent from the floor while USC wound up shooting 46 percent overall. USC landed seven 3-pointers to two from the Wildcats, while Arizona went 20-of-24 from the free-throw line to USC's 16-of-20 effort. USC won out on the boards 35-33 and ended up with 12 turnovers to 13 by Arizona.
In spite of foul trouble for a team with five players sidelined by injuries, USC had three Trojans finish in double figures as they put the No. 7 team in the nation on the ropes. Sophomores Endyia Rogers and Angel Jackson scored 18 points apiece, and grad Transfer Jordan Sanders finished with 15. Amaya Oliver and Madison Campbell, meanwhile, were almost in the group with nine points apiece. For Arizona, Aari McDonald led the Wildcats with 30 points, and Cate Reese had 25 while Lauren Ware added 12 points and had 12 rebounds.
A back-and-forth battle in the first frame saw the lead trade hands four times and lock up five times before a buzzer-beating layup from Desiree Caldwell got USC into the lead. The Trojans would stay our ahead of the Wildcats throughout the next 10 minutes thanks in part to big 3-pointers from Caldwell and Jordan Sanders and some gutsy work down low from Angel Jackson. As Arizona closed the gap to one with a three-point play with fouls piling up for the Trojans, Kyra White found Jackson in the paint for a big bucket that crafted a 37-34 USC lead for halftime.
USC made a 6-0 run that built out a double-digit lead, up 51-40 four minutes into the third. However, the referee whistles were blowing fast and furious in both directions, interrupting the flow and putting the short-handed Trojans in foul trouble. Arizona would capitalize on that advantage, making an 11-0 run while four Trojans were holding three or more fouls. Jackson snapped the run with a bucket to get USC back on top, up 55-53. She'd get called for her fourth foul immediately after, leaving her in a tough spot with over 12 minutes still to play.
In the fourth, Arizona manufactured an eight-point lead — its largest of the day — to put USC in a 64-56 hole. The Trojans were undeterred. Two 3-pointers from Sanders and a bucket from Madison Cambell put a spark back in USC. And while four Trojans were carrying four fouls, USC still managed to get back on top. Jackson, Rodgers and Campbell generated a 6-0 surge for the Trojans to take a 70-68 lead with 4:25 to go. The teams traded baskets next until Arizona was able to score seven straight points, leading 77-72 with 23 seconds remaining. Campbell landed a three with 18 ticks to go, making it a two-point game and forcing the Trojans to foul. One free throw fell for the Wildcats, and then Rogers was sent to the stripe. She'd nail both to get USC within one a 78-77 but there were only six seconds left and Arizona outran USC's attempt at one more foul to preserve the victory for the host Wildcats.
USC returns home to host crosstown rival UCLA next week in a 12 p.m. showdown on Sunday (Dec. 13) at Galen Center.
- Jordan Sanders had her first double-digit game as a Trojan with 15 points
- Angel Jackson and Endyia Rogers both scored in double figures for the third straight game.
- It was USC's fifth consecutive loss to Arizona.