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Highlanders Hand USC Women 54-52 Defeat At Galen Center

Jan 17, 2021


LOS ANGELES — The USC women's basketball team was unable to climb out of a deep hole constructed by visiting UC Riverside, coming close but falling short of a comeback as the Highlanders never trailed in a 54-52 win over the Trojans today at the Galen Center. USC goes to 6-6 overall with the loss, while UC Riverside improves to 3-5. The loss upended a three-game win streak held by the Trojans.

UC Riverside came to play at Galen Center, capitalizing on 14 Trojan turnovers and landing five 3-pointers while USC misfired across the board. The Trojans fell into an early 11-0 hole and also suffered a cold snap in the second quarter as the Highlanders rallied again and had their hosts in a 36-19 hole by halftime. USC was shooting 33 percent from the floor and was 0-for-5 from 3-point land to lag markedly behind UC Riverside's 41-percent overall effort and 5-of-10 production with threes. 

Down by 19 early in the third, USC would manufacture a 17-0 run to get within two points of Highlanders, but that would be as close as the Trojans would get. USC committed a season-high 20 turnovers while shooting 39 percent in the game. UC Riverside gave up 18 turnovers and shot 30 perfect overall, but the Highlanders hit eight 3-pointers while USC managed only a season-low three 3-pointers.  UC Riverside also won the battle on the boards 40-37, including 15 offensive boards to just seven by the Trojans.

USC was led in scoring by Endyia Rogers' 14 points as she was the only Trojan in double figures. UC Riverside had three players finish in double digits — Keilanei Cooper (26 points), Kari Kyrkjebo (12) and Jordan Webster (10).

USC fell into an early 11-0 hole as the Trojan offense misfired for almost five minutes until Alissa Pili hit Jordyn Jenkins for a bucket in the paint to break the silence. UC Riverside's third 3-pointer of the frame carried the Highlanders ahead 15-2 before USC woke up and made an 8-0 rally to get back in the game. The Trojans would trail 17-10 at the close of the first quarter and would tug to within two, down 19-17 with 6:00 on the clock. But that would be as close as USC would get in the first half, as the Highlanders punched up a 12-0 run next to build out a 31-17 lead. UC Riverside's hot-handed first half wrapped in appropriate fashion with a buzzer-beating three to make it 36-19 in favor of the visitors at the break.

UC Riverside opened the third with a bucket, which may well have served as the wakeup call the Trojans finally heard as USC responded with a 17-0 run to get back within two. UC Riverside broke its eight minutes of scoring silence with a 3-pointer entering the final minute of the third. Angel Jackson issued a buzzer-beater for USC for good cause, making it 41-38 Highlanders entering the fourth. While extending their possessions with some key rebounds, the Highlanders also pulled off a couple back-breaking threes to pad their lead when the Trojans came calling, and UC Riverside was up 52-44 entering the final minute. Endyia Rogers his het first 3-pointer of the day with 26 seconds left, making it 52-47. After getting the ball back with a jump ball, Desiree Caldwell would finish in the lane to get it to 52-49 with 11.7 seconds on the clock. But, forced to send the Highlanders to the free-throw line from there, USC saw UC Riverside land two tosses to take a key five-point lead. Rogers hit a three for USC with 5.5 ticks to go, but the Trojans couldn't get the ball back for a look before the final buzzer sounded on a 54-52 loss.

- SO G Endyia Rogers scored in double digits for the eighth straight game.
- SR F Jordan Sanders matched her career high of four blocks.
- It was UC Riverside's first win over USC since the programs first met in 2016-17. USC is now 4-1 against the Highlanders.
- The loss snaps a three-game win streak held by the Trojans.
- USC committed a season-high 20 turnovers, also committed vs. Utah on Jan. 8.
- USC made a season-low three 3-pointers.
- RS SO G Shalexxus Aaron returned from injury to log her first action since the close of the 2018-19 season.

USC has a Pac-12 road trip ahead next week, set for a Sunday (Jan. 24) matchup vs. Stanford in Santa Cruz, Calif., at 4 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks. USC's Friday (Jan. 22) game at Cal has been postponed due to COVID-19 developments in the Golden Bears' program.