The women’s basketball team seemed to have turned a corner when they defeated Arizona and Arizona State two weeks ago, but back-to-back losses to Stanford and Cal place them back at the drawing board. Sitting at eleventh in the Pac-12, the team will look to rebound this weekend with road games against No. 9 Oregon State and Oregon.
“All we can do is stick to the game plan,” redshirt senior guard Alexis Lloyd said. “We had two tough losses against Stanford and Cal, but we have six games left to do the best we can.”
This weekend’s excursion to the state of Oregon marks the team’s second consecutive road trip. Overall, the Trojans play only two home games in February, with one final trip to Arizona at the end of the month. Currently, USC sits at 0-5 in conference road games since January.
“I wouldn’t say it’s affected our performance,” Lloyd said about the team’s play on the road. “I just think we need to do a better job of executing. It’s tough playing anywhere on the road, but we just have to do a better job of focusing and coming together as one to execute and finish the goal which is to win.”
The Trojans will hope for better results than when they played both Oregon and Oregon State at the Galen Center last month. The Trojans lost 59-53 to the Ducks in head-scratching fashion after holding a 16-point lead at halftime. Then they were thoroughly handled by the Beavers, losing by 14 to the conference’s top team. Currently Oregon State is 22-2 and poised for a potentially deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
In order to exact revenge against two quality teams from the Beaver State, USC will likely need to find offense outside of junior forward Kristen Simon. In the two recent losses to Stanford and Cal, Simon averaged 17.5 points, accounting for over one-third of her team’s scoring effort. Meanwhile, only one other Trojan managed a double-figure game, with freshman guard Minyon Moore notching 10 points against Stanford. Against No. 8 Stanford, the team scored a season-low 42, shooting 31.3 percent from the field.
“Everyone just needs to contribute,” Lloyd said. “Everybody has a role and we need to play the part of getting the ball inside-out because sometimes teams double, triple-team Kristen. So if we can get the ball inside-out, it would help her offensively.”
USC now has a limited amount of time to right the ship before the Pac-12 Tournament begins on March 2 in Seattle. After starting off 10-2 in non-conference play, they have lost nine of their last 12 Pac-12 games. With four teams represented in the AP top-15, the overall strength of the Pac-12 has not helped USC’s cause.
After contests at Oregon State and Oregon, USC returns to the Galen Center next weekend for games against Washington State and Washington. They have just six games remaining before conference championship play begins.