After winning 10 of its first 11 games, the USC women’s basketball team started conference play 0-5 after losing to both No. 5 Oregon and No. 10 Oregon State this past weekend at the Galen Center. The Women of Troy continued to struggle against ranked teams, coming off losses to No. 6 Stanford and No. 18 Cal last week.
On Friday night, the Trojans fell to the 15-1 Oregon Ducks 93-53. The Ducks, who are averaging over 90 points per game, have been a powerhouse all season. The Women of Troy got off to a shaky start in the first quarter, giving up 21 points while scoring only 9. Turnovers were a major problem in the second quarter, as the Trojans had 11 turnovers to the Ducks’ two. In addition, USC went 2-of-11 from the field and 0-of-4 from behind the arc.
USC entered the second half already down by 23 points, trailing 41-18. Even though the Women of Troy nearly matched their first half scoring output in the third quarter with 16 points, the Ducks countered with 29. Oregon finished its night scoring at least 20 points in every quarter. USC finished with only 16 field goals compared to the Ducks’ 34.
“[Like always], we came in with the same positivity, but we did not come into today’s game with the same heart,” junior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley said.
Ducks sophomore forward Satou Sabally led all players with 26 points scored and five 3-pointers. Senior guard Aliyah Mazyck led the Trojans with 16 points, going 6-6 at the free throw line.
Sunday’s 76-52 loss to the 14-2 Oregon State Beavers marked USC’s fifth-straight defeat. Junior guard Minyon Moore led the Trojans with 6 first quarter points, while Beaver freshman guard Aleah Goodman kicked off the Beavers’ hot start with three straight 3-pointers. At the end of the first quarter, Oregon State led 19-13 after shooting 64 percent from the field.
Moore was the leading scorer for the USC in the first half with 10 points. Mazyck added 6 of her own, while freshman forward Jillian Archer also contributed down low, scoring one basket in the paint and hitting two free throws.
In the second quarter, senior guard Mariya Moore got on the board as the Women of Troy sought to penetrate the interior, after going 0-7 from beyond the arc. The Beavers cooled off from 3-point land as well, while the offensive presence from the Trojans helped trim the lead to 29-27 with five minutes left in the second quarter. Despite shooting only 3-of-15 from inside the paint, USC’s inside attack led to success at the charity stripe, where the Women of Troy shot 11-of-12 in the quarter and 14-of-16 in the game.
USC also forced six steals in the first half, part of the Beavers’ 13 turnovers. However, Goodman extended the lead for the Beavers with her fourth 3-pointer. Oregon State led at the half 34-29.
At the beginning of third quarter, USC cut the lead to 2 with their first 3-pointer of the game from Mazyck. However, head coach Mark Trakh was forced to call a timeout halfway through the third after Oregon State scored 5 straight points.
“We stall. If you don’t score and the other team gets 10 points that’s a 10-0 run,” Trakh said.
The Beavers continued to dominate in the third, holding the Trojans to only three field goals in the quarter. The Beavers finished on a 24-7 run, entering the fourth quarter with a 58-36 lead. USC’s shooting percentage lowered to 17 percent in the third quarter, and 22 percent for the game.
“We just petition to the NCAA that we want to start in the fourth quarter…” Trakh said of improving third quarter performance. “It comes down to knocking down shots.”
USC turned to a full court press and an intense zone defense in the final quarter, but couldn’t erase the Beavers’ double-digit lead as Oregon State emerged victorious.
“We’re not done,” Trakh said. “People thinking we’re going to fold our tents. We’re not. We’re going to work even harder to get this thing turned around.”
Minyon Moore finished the game with 21 points, adding two rebounds and two assists. For the Beavers, junior guard Mikayla Pivec finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.
The Women of Troy head to Westwood to play crosstown rival UCLA Sunday at 4 p.m.