The first road trip of the season for the USC women’s basketball team wasn’t an enjoyable one, as the Women of Troy fell 67-60 to No. 12 Georgia on Sunday after being upset by unranked Nebraska 68-50 on Friday.
No. 23 USC (1-2) likely won’t be in the polls much longer after never leading in two games the Women of Troy had hoped to add as solid road victories to their résume.
“We definitely don’t come out as strong as we need to,” senior guard Jacki Gemelos said. “We kind of get the clue in the second half and try to close the gap, but we kick ourselves in the butt by not coming out in the first half as well as we should.”
USC’s game against Georgia was the second part of its home-and-home series that started last season with a win for the Women of Troy at the Galen Center.
This time, the Lady Bulldogs had home-court advantage and rode the crowd support to an early 21-7 lead.
A 3-pointer from Gemelos closed Georgia’s lead to 26-19 at halftime, but the Lady Dogs ripped off a 14-2 run to start the second half to essentially put the game out of reach.
Georgia still had a big 16-point lead with three minutes to go before USC strung together a 16-7 rally that was too little, too late.
Sophomore forward Cassie Harberts chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double in the losing effort, and Gemelos led USC with 18 points while playing all 40 minutes of the game.
USC was outrebounded 44-38 by Georgia and made only three of its 13 attempts from three-point range.
“We just weren’t hitting shots [this weekend],” Gemelos said. “To get out of this slump and into our rhythm, we just need to start hitting our shots, and we’ll be fine.”
That slump started on Friday night, when the Women of Troy made just three of 20 three-point shots, and were rolled 68-50 in a shocking upset to the unranked Cornhuskers.
Nebraska started out on a 9-0 run and led by 13 points at halftime after barraging USC with their fast-paced offense and full-court pressure defense.
That lead would be cut down to six points after a three-pointer by senior guard Ashley Corral made the score 44-38 with just less than 11 minutes to go in the game.
But the Huskers responded with a 18-4 run that ballooned their lead to 20 points and put the game out of reach.
The Huskers dominated on the boards, recording a 66-40 rebounding advantage led by three players with at least 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Briana Gilbreath led USC with 18 points.
The Women of Troy will have to try to stop their losing streak against one of the top teams in the country — they face off against No. 2 Notre Dame on Friday in the Junkanoo Jam in Bahamas. They’ll next play either No. 8 Duke or Gardner-Webb.
Despite this weekend’s tough losses, Gemelos is confident her team can pull off an upset or two in the Caribbean.
“There were times [against Georgia] when the score was really close, and that’s something in [and of] itself against the No. 12 team in the country,” Gemelos said. “We still have a lot of good teams left on our schedule and a lot of chances to redeem ourselves.”