The USC women’s basketball team went on the road for the first time this season after four consecutive games at the Galen Center to start the season, coming out with a 62-51 win over UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Junior forward Cassie Harberts led the Women of Troy (3-2) with 17 points (11 in the second half), 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Freshman guard Jordan Adams scored 12 points on four 3-pointers, and sophomore guard Ariya Crook finished with 9 points. Every USC player scored at least once, and Harberts finished with double-digit points for the fifth straight game.
“My teammates found me when I was open,” said Adams. “I had a lot of time in the pocket. They didn’t run out to me and my teammates did a really good job finding me outside.”
Angela Aguirre finished with 13 points to lead the Gauchos (2-4) in scoring. Kendra Morrison scored 11 points, all in the second half, and Destini Mason had nine points and five rebounds.
USC finished the first half on a 14-4 run to take a 31-22 lead at the half, with Harberts, Adams, and junior forward Desiree Bradley all scoring six points each. The Women of Troy shot 50 percent (12-for-24) from the field, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc, compared to UCSB’s 37.5 percent (9-for-24). Both teams only went to the line twice at the half, with each team making both free throws.
The Women of Troy held the cushion throughout the rest of the game, thanks to Harberts’ 10 points in the first seven minutes of the second half. Crook scored all nine of her points after halftime, and USC narrowly outscored the Gauchos 31-29 in the second half to seal a comfortable win. USC led by as many as 18 with eight minutes left, but a 13-1 run by the Gauchos pulled the deficit to single-digits before a 3-pointer by Destinie Gibbs with 48 seconds left ended any chance for a comeback.
“They made our runs and we made our runs back,” said junior forward Cassie Harberts. “A lot of it was just defensive coverages. We didn’t do what we needed to do.”
USC continued to improve in the turnover column, finishing the game with only 12 turnovers, compared to 15 and 18 in its last two games, along with 14 fouls. The Woman of Troy finished shooting 48.9 percent (22 for 45) from the field, along with 58.3 percent (9 for 16) from 3-point range and 9 of 13 from the free-throw line. They outrebounded the Gauchos 28-22, marking the fifth-straight game the Women of Troy have outrebounded their opponent, as well as holding Sweets Underwood, the Gauchos’ second leading scorer, to 0 points on 0-for-4 shooting.
“You can’t win the game with a bunch of turnovers, and we really stressed taking care of the ball and valuing possessions,” said Adams, “When you turn the ball over, you beat yourselves.”
UCSB shot 20 for 42 from the field (3 for 6 from 3-point range), and 8 of 11 from the free-throw line. The Gauchos committed 13 turnovers and 12 fouls.
The Women of Troy go back on the road Friday to take on San Diego State (3-2) at 7 p.m. PT. USC’s next home game is Saturday, Dec. 15 against Texas A&M (3-3).