The USC women’s basketball team fell 69-68 in the final seconds to Arizona State on the road Sunday as Temi Fagenble’s basket as at the buzzer was called off after the officials ruled time expired before she took the shot.
Arizona State’s Sophie Brunner hit a game-winning layup plus the foul with one second remaining to give the Sun Devils (20-4, 11-1) the narrow victory.
Brunner finished with nine points and six rebounds and teammate Arnecia Hawkins finished with 12 points as the Sun Devils defeated the Women of Troy (17-7, 5-7) in a nail-biter.
Arizona State tied the game 66-66 on a layup by Kelsey Moos with 13 seconds remaining. Temi Fagbenle responded with a jumper with four seconds remaining to retake the lead and then hit a tough jumper with second seconds remaining to give USC a 68-66 lead. It seemed like the game was over until Brunner made an and-one layup to retake the lead for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State came into today as one of the best defenses in the country, limiting opponents to a meager 52.9 points per game. However, the Sun Devils struggled defensively to start the game as USC jumped out to a 22-10 lead in the first quarter. Sadie Edwards had her way in the first quarter, scoring eight points as the Sun Devils struggled to stay in front of her.
Arizona State started off the second quarter with a 10-4 run, hitting a pair of 3-pointers while cutting the USC lead to 26-23 before Coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke called a timeout. USC came out of the timeout with a layup by Khaedin Taito but the Trojans struggled on the defensive end as Arizona State continued to score at will.
It seemed like the Women of Troy would be able to head into the half with a 34-32 lead but Aliyah Mazyck was called for a foul as USC tried to inbound the ball with 25 seconds remaining. Peace Amukamara proceeded to hit two free throws to tie the game at 34-34 heading into the half.
USC started the second half on a 7-3 run to take a 41-37 lead but Arizona State was able to tie the game again on a jumper by Amukamara. Neither team took control of the game and the two teams traded baskets until Mazyck eventually hit two free throws to tie the game at 52-52 with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter.
USC went on a 6-0 run following a layup by Arizona State’s Elisha Davis to take a 58-54 lead. It seemed like the Women of Troy would finally pull away after Edwards hit a jumper to take a 64-58 lead with 5 minutes remaining in the game. But the Sun Devils came back with baskets by Quinn Dornstauder and Katie Hempen to cut the lead to 64-62.
Edwards led the way for the Women of Troy, finishing with a game-high 26 points. Courtney Jaco, coming off a career-high 24-point performance against the University of Arizona on Friday, had a quiet game on Sunday, finishing with five points. Fagbenle struggled to stay on the floor after committing two fouls in the first three minutes of the game but managed to finish with 10 points and eight rebounds.
After losing to lowly Colorado last Sunday, USC followed up with a win against the Wildcats on Friday. But with today’s loss, USC falls to 5-7 in conference play.
The Women of Troy return home next week to play Washington and Washington State. USC lost to both teams on the road in Washington in their previous matchup. The Women of Troy will have their hands full on Friday night when the nation’s leading scorer, Kelsey Plum of Washington, comes to town. Plum had 32 points in the Huskies’ 69-60 victory over USC on January 17. The Trojans will then play Washington State and freshman star, Borislava Hristova, who had 21 points against USC in their previous matchup.