After breaking into the Top 25 rankings for the first time since March 2014, the Women of Troy suffered their third loss of the season in a 73-61 defeat to Washington State.
With No. 25 USC (14-3, 2-3) missing starters Jordan Adams and Brianna Barrett, reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week Temi Fagbenle finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds while fellow forward Kristen Simon chipped in a team-high 19 points along with 8 rebounds. Freshman Aliyah Mazyck did an admirable job filling in for Barrett with 10 points and four assists; however, she also committed five turnovers and struggled down the stretch.
Washington State’s freshman sensation Borislava Hristova had 21 points and Louise Brown finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds in the win for the Cougars (12-5, 3-3).
After a close start to the game, Coach Cynthia Cooper was not happy with the team’s performance and called a timeout with six minutes left in the second quarter. The Women of Troy immediately responded with an 11-0 run that extended a two-point lead to 13. USC ended the half with a seven-point lead.
But the Cougars weren’t done. Following a basket by Simon to start the second half, the Cougars went on a 20-2 run to take a nine-point lead with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Trojans were able to stop the bleeding with a layup by Alexis Lloyd and cut the Cougar lead to one at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Cougars soon went on another run to extend the lead to eight and never looked back.
“We just lost our focus,” head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. “We didn’t come out ready to play and they outplayed us. They hustled more and just played better than us.”
It was a tale of two halves for Fagbenle. After finishing the first half with 10 points, she was held scoreless as the Women of Troy were outscored by 19 in the second half.
“They made her work extremely hard,” Cooper-Dyke said. “They double-teamed her, played extremely physical and we didn’t do a good job of getting her the ball.”
With the loss, USC is now 14-3 and 2-3 in conference play. Jordan Adams has not played in all three losses. USC faces a tough upcoming schedule with games against Washington, No. 11 Stanford, and Cal.