After splitting a pair of home games against Pac-12 opponents last weekend at the Galen Center, the Women of Troy now look to strongly finish off their four-game home stand against Utah on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by No. 22 Colorado on Sunday at 10 a.m.
On Jan. 25, USC (8-11, 5-3 Pac-12) fell 60-53 to Arizona State at the Galen Center. The Women of Troy led by 16 points at halftime, 36-20, before the Sun Devils rallied in the second half, outscoring USC 40-17 to hand the team its third consecutive loss.
In the defeat, junior forward Cassie Harberts hauled in her seventh double-double of the season with 24 points and 14 rebounds. The Sun Devils’ comeback was primarily because of their hot shooting, as they heated up from 32 percent in the first half to 59 percent in the second half, finishing the game shooting 45 percent from the field.
The Trojans were able to rebound from their previous loss and put a stop to their three-game losing skid with a 74-57 win over Arizona on Jan. 27, shooting 50 percent from the floor in the first half to jump out to a 43-22 lead at halftime. Unlike the Arizona State game, the Women of Troy would secure the large lead and not look back, holding Arizona to only 29 percent shooting compared to their 48 percent.
“We were able to put the Arizona State game behind us, rally together as a team and close out the game,” Harberts said.
The Trojans were also able to force plenty of Wildcat turnovers with 15 steals and moved the ball well as the team finished with 20 total assists. Once again, Harberts led the way with 26 points. She wasn’t alone in double figures this time, as four USC players scored at least 10 points. Sophomore guard Ariya Crook added 15, sophomore guard Kiki Alofaituli had a career-high 11 and junior forward Kate Oliver put in 10.
“Arizona is a very good basketball team, better than their record indicates, and it took a maximum effort to beat them,” USC head coach Michael Cooper said. “We had a little chip on our shoulder from the Arizona State game and I felt that we learned from our mistakes.”
Utah (10-9, 1-7) and No. 22 Colorado (15-4, 4-4) are coming off a pair of games against No. 4 Stanford (18-2, 7-1) and No. 6 Cal (17-2, 7-1).
The Utes dropped both games by sizable margins, losing 65-44 to Stanford and 71-54 to Cal. The Buffs played the games a little closer, but finished with the same results, falling to Cal 59-56 and Stanford 69-56.
The Utes’ Michelle Plouffe leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, Colorado is led by Chucky Jefferey, who is averaging 12.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
USC lost to both teams in their lone meetings last season, falling to Colorado in Boulder 69-67 and to Utah in Salt Lake City 63-55.