USC Women’s Basketball Falls 68-59 In Regular-Season Finale At No. 12 Arizona
LOS ANGELES — The USC women's basketball team was powerful out of the gates but was stymied by turnovers in taking a 68-59 loss at No. 12 Arizona today in Tucson. That wraps the regular season for the Trojans, who hold a 12-15 overall record with a 5-12 mark in Pac-12 play entering the coming Pac-12 Tournament. Arizona improves to 20-6, 10-6.
It was a see-saw battle in the first half, as a 14-0 USC surge in the first frame crafted a double-digit lead for the Trojans. Arizona would chip that down in the next 10 minutes with an offensive outburst that saw the Wildcats edge ahead 34-33 at halftime with a 10-0 run to end that frame. USC was shooting 50 percent from the floor to that point, while Arizona was at 34.4 percent. In the end it was a turnover-plagued second half that spelled doom for the Trojans, who committed 13 turnovers in the final 20 minutes while the Wildcats extended their lead. Arizona scored 19 total points off USC's turnovers in the game while shooting 34.8 overall from the floor. USC wrapped the game shooting 47.6 percent and was outrebounded 35-32.
USC was led by a career-high 19 points from Alyson Miura along with 18 points from Rayah Marshall. Arizona was paced by four players in double digits — Taylor Chavez (18 points), Shaina Pellington (14 points), Lauren Ware (12) and Sam Thomas (10). Ware also had a double-double with her 11 rebounds.
Arizona got the early lead before Jordan Sanders sparked a serious USC surge with a jumper at 7:50 That was followed by a 3-pointer from Rayah Marshall and then two more buckets from the freshman as USC maneuvered ahead 11-4 with 4:30 on the clock. The rally continued as Tera Reed buried a three next, and then Marshall scored her 11th points of the day to make it a 14-0 USC run to lead it 16-4 at 2:50. Only free throws would fall for Arizona in that 8-minute span, and the Trojans would lead it 16-6 at the close of the first. The Wildcats chipped down the Trojan lead in the next stretch as Arizona seemed to find its scoring touch. A 7-0 run cut the USC advantage to 20-19 at 6:10, but Alyson Miura buried a three next to give the Trojans a lift. Miura continued to strike, with her 10th points of the quarter tugging the Trojans ahead 33-24 with 1:20 to go. The foul count continued too tip against the Trojans, while Arizona made a push into the lead in the final stretch. A couple 3-pointers, and and-one and a three-point play just before the buzzer made it a 10-0 Wildcat surge to lead it 34-33 at halftime.
Miura kept striking in third, nailing two more threes around a bucket from the Wildcats to tie things up 41-41 at 3:35. Just one bucket would fall for the Trojans before the close of the frame, however, while the Wildcats tallied nine more points to lead things 50-43 entering the fourth. Trojan turnovers were costly in the next stretch as Arizona opened up a 61-50 lead with 6:50 to go. A score from Desiree Caldwell and two free throws from Marshall got the deficit to 61-54 with 4:00 left, and then Miura's fourth 3-pointer of the game would fall to make it 65-59 with 1:00 remaining. That would be as close as the Trojans would get the rest of the way, with the Wildcats sewing up a 68-59 win to wrap the regular season.
- With seven blocks today, Marshall extended her run of games with at least one block to 22 straight.
- Marshall's seven blocks was a new career high and marked the fourth most by a Trojan in a single game.
- With a career-high-tying 18 points, Marshall scored in double digits for the 11th straight game.
- With 19 points, JR Alyson Miura set a new career high.
USC heads to the Pac-12 Tournament next, held March 2-6 at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. having received the No. 10 seed in the tourney.