USC Women’s Basketball Works Up 51-44 Win At WSU
PULLMAN, WASH. — The USC women's basketball team put forth another ferocious defensive effort — this one on the road — in keeping another conference opponent under 50 points for the third straight game with the Trojans' 51-44 victory over Washington State tonight in Pullman, Wash. It's the first time in the Pac-10/Pac-12 conference era that USC has accomplished such a defensive feat, and it also scored the Trojans their third straight win. USC is now 14-4 overall and 4-3 in Pac-12 play, marking USC's best 18-game start since opening 14-4 in 2015-16. WSU goes to 13-5, 3-4 with tonight's loss to the Trojans.
WSU was outshooting the Trojans in the first half, but USC got the buckets it needed to break up a first-quarter tie and lead it 26-23 at halftime thanks in large part to 15 first-half points from Kadi Sissoko. USC was shooting 33 percent to the floor to trail the Cougars' 41 percent effort by the break, but was up on the boards 20-15 and had converted 11 WSU turnovers into seven points to help claim that halftime advantage. USC would lead it by as much as 13 in the second half and was up 49-36 with 7:20 to go before the Cougars made things interesting and got within five. USC held its ground defensively in the final three minutes, though, and closed out the win shooting 36.7 percent from the floor and leading on the boards 38-29. WSU shots 35.3 percent overall, and both teams hit five 3-pointers apiece.
In her first game back since Dec. 30, Sissoko would finish with a game-high 19 points for the Trojans, with Rayah Marshall leading all on the boards with 13 rebounds on the night. WSU received 13 points from Astera Tuhina and 10 from Bella Murekatete.
USC opened the game with three straight steals and got a 3-pointer from Kadi Sissoko to lead it 5-2 early. WSU sneaked ahead 9-7 three minutes later, forcing USC to find equalizers. The Trojans got those from Sissoko and Marshall, with Sissoko snarling it up 13-13 to wrap the first quarter. The lead traded hands a few times to roll out the second before a 3-pointer and a free-throw from Kayla Williams edged USC ahead 21-16 with 5:25 on the clock. The Cougars pushed back again and got to within one on two occasions in the final minute of the half, only to see Sissoko bury a couple key buckets, including a jumper with 10 ticks to go to build a 26-23 halftime lead for the Trojans.
USC kicked off the second half with a buzzer-beating three from Williams and then followed a WSU score with a three from Okako Adika to make it a 32-25 Trojan advantage hardly two minutes into the half. USC would build out a double-digit lead a few minutes later thanks to scores from Marshall and Adika, going up 38-27 by the five-minute mark of the frame. Clarice Akunwafo's first points of the game bulked up the lead to 40-27 at 4:30, although the Cougars did push back to make it a single-digit margin with a push to make it 42-46 USC to wrap the third. The Trojans kicked down the gates of the fourth with a 7-0 rally keyed by a three from Alyson Miura, but WSU responded with a speedy 8-0 surge in a span of 90 seconds to carve the margin to 49-44 with 3:07 to go. USC's scoreless slump from the floor extended from that Miura three to the final buzzer, although Littleton knocked down a key free throw with 28 seconds on the clock to edge USC's lead to 50-44. After serving up a block in her 39th straight game, Marshall would go to the line and bury the front end, making it 51-44 USC with 17 ticks to go. She'd add one more block for good measure, and that capped off the road win for the Trojans.
USC continues Pac-12 play with a trip to Seattle to take on Washington at 12 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 22).
- In holding WSU to 44 points, the Trojans held a conference opponent to under 50 points for a third straight game —the first time in the Pac-10/12 conference era that USC has done so.
- WSU's eight points scored in the fourth quarter marked the 15th time this season that USC has allowed fewer than 10 points in a quarter.
- With 19 points, GS Kadi Sissoko scored in double digits for the 11th time; it was her first action since Dec. 30 as she had missed the past four games with injury.
- With 13 rebounds, SO Rayah Marshall recorded double-digit rebounds for the 10th time this season.
- With two blocks, Marshall has recorded at least one block in 39 consecutive games played.
- RS FR Taylor Bigby tied her career high with two blocks.
- Now 14-4 overall, USC has recorded its best 18-game start since also going 14-4 in 2015-16.