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Alyson Miura’s 3-Point Threat Helps USC Women’s Basketball Hand No. 4 Arizona Its First Loss

Jan 9, 2022

LOS ANGELES — The USC women's basketball team went toe-to-toe with the No. 4 team in the nation and stepped up when it counted, with Alyson Miura burying four huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull  the Trojans toward a 76-67 win over previously undefeated No. 4 Arizona today at Galen Center. The top-10 takedown was USC's first since 2020, and improved the Trojans to 8-4 overall and to 1-1 in Pac-12 play. Arizona is now 11-1, 1-1.

"We completely embraced the opportunity in front of us," USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "It's not easy sometimes to look in the mirror and see what you can do better and figure out how you want to improve things, but with the way that we did that, against the opponent that we did it against, I think that makes it significant. I hope it's a fun and memorable day, but also something that propels us forward." 

The lead changed hands six times in the first half en route to a 34-34 lockup at halftime. An Arizona buzzer-beater had knotted up the score at the break, with the bomb being the Wildcats' fifth 3-pointer of that half. USC was shooting 36.7 percent from the floor to that point, leading Arizona's 35.5 percent while the Wildcats were up on the boards 21-18. In the second half, USC found the gas pedal when it counted, with Miura going 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the last 5:01 of action to fuel the Trojans' push to victory. By  the final buzzer, USC had heated up to finish the game shooting at a 45.5 percent clip from the floor, while Arizona finished at 36.1 percent. Arizona edged out USC on the boards 36-34. All eight Trojans who hit the floor today scored at least one basket.

Miura's 5-of-6 effort from beyond the arc marked a career best for the junior, who led USC's scoring charge with 15 points. Jordyn Jenkins finished with 14 points — all  in the second half — and Desiree Caldwell added 12 for her first double-digit game of the season. Arizona, meanwhile, received a game-high 29 points from Cate Reese  and 12 from Bendu Yeaney.

Arizona manufactured a 10-0 run in the first to peel out to a 13-4 lead, but USC snapped that on an Alyson Miura 3-pointer that sparked a Trojan rally that cut it to a one-point lead. That USC 8-0 run stopped with an Arizona bucket, and the the Trojans crafted a go-ahead push. A 3-pointer from Tera Reed nudged USC into the lead, up 17-15 at 1:20, and then Desiree Caldwell planted two free-throw to take USC ahead 19-15. Arizona would come up with the final five points to sneak back on top, 20-19 at the end of the first quarter. In the second, Alissa Pili launched the equalizer with a three that knotted it at 22-22, and USC would maneuver out to a 26-22 advantage with Reed free throws and a bucket in the paint from Clarice Akunwafo. USC would later run up six straight points — all on freshmen buckets — for a 32-24 lead with 2:50 on the clock. Only free throws would fall for USC the rest of the frame, though, while Arizona got to the line for two and then hit  a last-second three in the final minute to tie things up 34-34 for halftime.

In the third, the score snarled up twice more, and teams traded rallied. USC made an 8-0 surge to go up 45-38 at 4:55, only to see Arizona fire back with nine straight points to snake back into the lead. With a bucket in the final stretch from Reed, USC was within one point of the Wildcats, down 50-49 entering the fourth. A three-point play converted by Jordyn Jenkins broke up a back-and-forth battle as teams traded one-point leads. Jenkins' effort for her into double digits and took the Trojans ahead 56-54 at 7:45. In a 30-second span, Alyson Miura buried back-to-back 3-pointers for the Trojan cause to tug USC ahead 64-59 with 4:25 to go. Miura came up big three minutes later, following up a pair of Jenkins free throws with back-to-back bombs again. Her third and fourth threes of the day bulked up USC's lead to 73-63 entering the final minute of action. That lead was the key, as Arizona found only two baskets downtime stretch while Caldwell went 3-of-4  from the free-throw line for USC in the  final minute to help lock in the 76-67 Trojan victory.

- This was USC's first win over a top-10 opponent since Jan. 17, 2020 when the Trojans beat No. 7 UCLA 70-68 in double overtime at Galen Center.
- It was also USC's first win over a top-5 opponents since a 72-68 win over No. 4 Stanford in the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
- With one block today, FR Rayah Marshall extended her run of consecutive games with at least one block to seven.
- With 14 points, SO Jordyn Jenkins hit double digits for the third straight game and eighth time this season.
- JR Alyson Miura made a career-high five 3-pointers and matched her career high of 15 points.
- Miura also had a career-high six assists.
- With 12 points today, SR Desiree Caldwell scored in double digits for the first time this season.
- FR Bella Perkins made her first career start today.

Pac-12 play continues next week with USC lined up to host the Washington schools at Galen Center. The Trojans take on the Cougars at 7 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 14) and then face the Huskies at 12 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 16).