The Women of Troy were unable to muster a comeback Sunday on the road as Colorado recorded its first conference win of the season in a 66-63 nail-biter.
Colorado (6-15, 1-9) junior Haley Smith scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the victory over USC (16-6, 4-6). Freshman Kennedy Leonard scored 17 points, including a crucial layup with 30 seconds remaining that extended the Colorado lead to 64-58. Fellow freshman Alexis Robinson chipped in 10 points of her own.
Temi Fagbenle led the Women of Troy with 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Sadie Edwards followed up her 24-point performance against Utah with a 14-point performance Saturday.
Colorado came into today as the worst team in the Pac-12 but they played the game with more energy and poise than the Trojans. Colorado was able to wear down the shorthanded Women of Troy — who were visibly tired in the closing moments of the game — by pushing the pace and moving the ball.
It was a disappointing start for the Trojans as they struggled throughout the first half on both ends of the floor. USC committed nine turnovers while shooting 8-of-22 from the field on the offensive end while allowing Colorado to shoot 14-of-27. USC was fortunately able to head into halftime only down 31-27, able to keep within striking distance by attacking the basket aggressively, resulting in 12 free-throw attempts, eight more than Colorado.
The Women of Troy didn’t play much better to start the second-half, shooting 2-of-10 to begin the third quarter while playing substandard defense. USC switched up to a full-court press but this was ineffective for much of the third quarter as Colorado was able to move the ball effectively, leaving the Women of Troy scrambling on defense. The Buffaloes were able to extend their lead to 47-41 heading into the fourth.
The Trojans started the fourth quarter much better, strongly attacking the basket and relentlessly pressuring Colorado into careless turnovers and bad possessions. The Women of Troy were able to tie the game at 51-51 on a layup by Fagbenle but Colorado immediately countered with a layup by Kennedy Leonard to retake the lead. Colorado continued to hit shots and outhustled USC to notch its first conference victory of the season.
The Women of Troy suffered a brief scare in the second quarter when Edwards turned her ankle while trying to help on defense. Edwards fell to the ground and came up limping. Fortunately, she was able to return later in the second quarter after being evaluated by medical personnel.
With the loss, USC drops to 4-6 in conference play and remains in a tie with Utah and Oregon for sixth in the standings. The Women of Troy continue their road trip next week with games against Arizona and No. 8 Arizona State.