Jordan Sanders Scores 24 As USC Women’s Basketball Overpowers Visiting Utah 83-62
LOS ANGELES — The USC women's basketball team came to play in its rematch with Utah, pairing lockdown defense with some sharp shooting to put the Utes out of reach early en route to an 83-62 win tonight at Galen Center. Utah was held to just one field goal in the second quarter while the Trojans piled on 26 points to take control, with four players finishing in double digits to help propel USC to its largest Pac-12 win of the year. USC improves to 11-13 overall and to 4-10 in conference play with the victory, while Utah goes to 15-9, 6-6.
USC turned a 16-16 first-quarter tie into a 42-20 halftime lead as the Trojans wrapped the half on a 13-0 run. USC shot 54.8 percent from the floor in those first 20 minutes, outpacing Utah's 15.4 percent. USC's Jordan Sanders and Rayah Marshall were in double digits by the break, and USC was ahead on the boards 20-16. By the final buzzer, USC had shot 49.2 percent overall to Utah's final 25.9 percent, and the Trojans had the edge on the boards 38-36. There were fouls and turnovers aplenty in this one, with USC tagged for 25 fouls and Utah at 17. The turnover count favored USC slightly, 19-21.
On the scoring front, USC received 24 points from Jordan Sanders along with a career-high 18 from Rayah Marshall, who also had a double-double with her 10 rebounds. Jordyn Jenkins and Alyson Miura each added 12 points tonight for USC. Utah was paced by Gianna Kneepkens' 15 points and 10 from Brynna Maxwell.
While the foul count tipped 5-2 against the Trojans, USC was still able to edge ahead 6-5 on buckets from Desiree Caldwell and Jordan Sanders. That fifth USC foul translated into a 7-6 Utah lead after free throws, but Rayah Marshall got hot for the Trojans soon after with back-to-back buckets that were followed by a 3-pointer from Alyson Miura to take USC ahead 13-7 at 3:20. A three-point play from Sanders got USC up 16-9 at 2:25, and then Utah closed out the frame with seven straight points to lock even 16-16. Marshall kept striking for the Trojans in the next stretch, working her way to double digits while lifting USC to a 27-19 lead. Jenkins cashed in next, and USC gripped a 10-point advantage, up 29-19 at 4:20. A single Utah free throw fell next, and then Sanders nailed a three to spark another Trojan rally. USC scored 13 straight points the rest of the way, leading it 42-20 at halftime.
Sanders and Marshall kept up their Trojan tag team in the third, accounting for USC's first nine points before Miura buried another 3-pointer to craft a 56-26 lead for USC as the teams crossed the five-minute mark. Marshall followed quickly with back-to-back buckets to get to a new career high for herself, while the USC lead ballooned to 60-26 with 4:00 on the clock in the third. In the final minute of the frame, Kyra White landed her first 3-pointer of the season to make it 68-38 Trojans before Sanders tacked on two more free throws to net a 70-38 advantage into the fourth. Utah would land some threes in the final stretch, but it was too little too late to catch the Trojans as USC wound up with the 83-62 victory.
- With two blocks tonight, FR Rayah Marshall extended her run of games with at least one block to 19 straight.
- With a career-high 18 points, Marshall scored in double digits for the eighth straight game.
- With 10 rebounds, Marshall recorded her fourth career double-double.
- With 24 points, GS Jordan Sanders scored in double digits for the fifth straight game.
- Sanders' 24 points tied the most she has scored in her two seasons as a Trojan.
- With 12 points tonight, SO Jordyn Jenkins has scored in double digits in 15 straight games.
USC sets up for Senior Day next, hosting Colorado at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 20) in the Trojans' final home game of the season. USC will honor its three departing Trojans — senior Desiree Caldwell and grad students Tera Reed and Jordan Sanders — in a pregame ceremony.