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USC Women Win Wild One In OT To Beat No. 25 WSU

Jan 15, 2021


LOS ANGELES — The USC women's basketball team captured a wild win at Galen Center in gutting out its first overtime adventure of the season, beating visiting No. 25 Washington State 81-77. It was the third consecutive tight finish for the Trojans, who this time saw a 12-point lead over the Cougars melt away in the fourth before regrouping and making their winning move in OT behind a combined 15 points from Endyia Rogers and Angel Jackson. USC improves to 6-5 overall and to 4-5 in Pac-12 play with the win. WSU goes to 7-2, 5-2.

The lead changed hands 10 times in the first half of play as the Trojans and Cougars jostled for control. WSU was dominating the boards 24-10, but USC had the hotter hands from the floor as the Trojans shot 41 percent to 35 percent by the Cougars through the first 20 minutes of play. WSU had hit five first-half 3-pointers as well to three made by the Trojans to help account for the Cougars' 33-29 halftime advantage. By the final overtime buzzer, WSU had landed 13 three — including a trio in. OT — to five from the Trojans. USC still led the way offensively, though, with a final 47 percent effort from the floor to outpace the Cougars' final 38 percent. USC carved down the deficit on the boards, but WSU still held the advantage there 41-35.

USC was led in scoring by Jordan Sanders' season-high 24 points, while Endyia Rogers added 16 — nine of which came in overtime. Angel Jackson scored 12 for USC, as did Jordyn Jenkins, who also led on the boards with nine rebounds. WSU received a game-high 29 points from Charlisse Leger-Walker along with 23 from Krystal Leger-Walker, while Ula Motuga pulled in 12 rebounds for the Cougars.

A 6-0 USC rally took the Trojans ahead 6-4, but the Cougars countered with back-to-back 3-pointers to edge back ahead 10-6 after five minutes of action. The next stretch saw USC and WSU trade baskets, with  bucket from Jordyn Jenkins in the final minute making the score 14-12 WSU at the close of the first. Checking in for her first minutes of the season was sophomore post Alissa Pili, who promptly punched up a 3-pointer and then a block on the defensive end. Desiree Caldwell dropped a three for USC next, and the Trojans were up 18-14 early in the second. Again WSU fired back, and the lead would go back and forth for a four-minute span. Jordan Sanders snarled the score at 27-27, but then WSU mounted a 6-0 surge to work ahead 33-27 entering the final minute of the half. Sanders knocked down a couple free throws, and the score would sit at 33-29 by the halftime buzzer. 

WSU's 3-point pressure cranked up again in the third as the Cougars landed a pair to counter buckets from Sanders and Rogers and help craft a 41-33 lead for WSU by the five-minute mark. In the next two minutes, though, USC found a groove. Four Trojans scored in an 8-0 surge that locked the teams even for the fourth time at 41-41. WSU would land a three next,  but the Trojans responded in kind with yet another 8-0 rally that had the Trojans on top 49-44 by the close of the third. Five quick Trojan points would kick off the fourth to build out a double-digit lead for USC at 54-44 as Caldwell nailed another three and Angel Jackson delivered down low. Entering the final five minutes, USC was gripping a 62-50 lead over the Cougars. WSU chiseled that down to a three-point margin with a 9-0 run in three minutes as the Trojans stalled out on the offensive end and the Cougars turned up the energy. Pili stopped the run as she stepped to the stripe and sank both to make it 64-59 with 1:33 to go. WSU answered with another 3-pointer, and it was a two-point game entering the final minute. With 5.8 seconds on the clock, WSU hit two free throws to tie things up at 64-64 and that would stand as the teams turned to overtime.

Overtime did not disappoint. Rogers delivered nine points for the Trojan cause in OT — a feat  that proved very necessary as WSU's Charlisse Leger-Walker landed three 3-pointers in that stretch to go with a pair of free throws with six seconds to go. By that time however, USC had edged ahead 79-75 on another perfect trip to the line by Sanders, so Leger-Walker's tosses made it a two-point game with just ticks to go. Fouled for a visit to the stripe herself, USC's Jackson nailed both to net her sixth points of OT and make it 81-77 Trojans with five seconds left. WSU would come up empty on its final attempts, and the Trojans emerged victorious in their first overtime experience of the season. 

- This was USC's first win over a ranked opponent since a 72-66 win over No. 11 Oregon State on Feb. 14, 2020.
- It was the first overtime game of the season for USC.
- For the second time this season, USC won after trailing at halftime.
- With a new USC-high 24 points tonight, SR F Jordan Sanders scored in double digits for the ninth straight game.
- SO F Alissa Pili made her first appearance in game action this season after being sidelined by injury.
- With 12 points, FR F Jordyn Jenkins set her career high with her first double-digit game.
- Jenkins also set her career high on the boards with 9 rebounds. 
- With 16 points today, SO G Endyia Rogers scored in double digits for the seventh straight game.
- With 12 points today, SO C Angel Jackson scored in double digits for the third straight game.

USC is lined up for a nonconference game next, hosting UC Riverside at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 17) at Galen Center.