The USC women’s basketball team was unable to continue its four-game winning streak Thursday night as it lost a tough game on the road against the No. 7 California Golden Bears, 71-63 in overtime. This was the Women of Troy’s fifth Pac-12 conference game and was also their first loss in Pac-12 conference play.
The Women of Troy (7-9, 4-1 Pac-12) had a six-point lead with 1:42 to play in regulation, but Cal rallied back to send the game into overtime. They outscored the Trojans 9-1 in the extra period to overcome the Women of Troy.
Sophomore guard Ariya Cook led the Trojans in scoring off the bench with 21 points, while junior forward Cassie Harberts added 15 points. Junior forward Kate Oliver recorded her second-straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“This was a really tough loss for us but I am really proud of our team for playing hard against a great Cal team, and we are just going to have to move on to the next one,” Harberts said.
Senior guard Layshia Clarendon led the Golden Bears (14-2, 4-1) with 27 points while adding six rebounds. Junior forward Gennifer Brandon dropped in 23 points of her own while contributing a career-high 26 rebounds. All six points to tie the game in the closing minutes of regulation were scored by Brandon, who also added a timely block to help send the game into overtime. With her performance on the boards, she was able to assist the Golden Bears in outrebounding the Trojans, 54-43.
Though USC barely outshot Cal, shooting 34.4 percent to the Golden Bears’ 31.4 percent, they were once again plagued by turnovers with 15. A contributing factor to this was the 11 steals racked up by the Golden Bears.
“We are going to need to play fundamentally sound basketball and avoid these two- to three-minute lapses that we have should we want to continue to be successful in conference play,” Harberts said.
The Trojans controlled the tempo for much of the first 35 minutes, as they limited points in the paint and kept Cal off the boards, but still trailed at halftime 36-31. After being down by as much as six points, USC went on an 11-0 run to take a 46-41 lead early in the second half. A 3-pointer from Cook made it 58-53 with only 2:53 remaining, but Cal played well enough down the stretch to take the game into overtime.
The Women of Troy now move on to play at No. 6 Stanford, who faces off against UCLA on Friday. The Trojans will later return home beginning on Jan. 25 for a two-game home stand against the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-6, 2-2) and the Arizona Wildcats (10-5, 2-2).