In a game marked by first-half fouls and a 10-minute power outage, the Women of Troy managed to create enough offense to take down the University of Texas-San Antonio 74-56 at the Galen Center.
The Women of Troy (3-3) were led by sophomore forward Cassie Harberts, who scored 15 points. Senior guard Jackie Gemelos contributed 13 points as USC shot 39.7 percent from the field. The Roadrunners (2-5) had only two players in double figures.
“It was one of those games you just had to keep working in it,” USC coach Michael Cooper said. “Sometimes you have to find a way to win ugly, and this was it.”
The first half saw a lot of fouls, with six coming from the UTSA in the first two and a half minutes of the game. USC took a 16-point lead into the half because of 10 first-half points from Harberts. Gemelos chipped in with six first half points to give the Trojans 36 points at intermission.
Meanwhile, the defense played tough, surrendering only 20 points to the Roadrunners and forcing them to shoot only 23.3 percent from the field.
The biggest storyline of the first half, however, might have been the power outage that sent the game into an extra 10-minute recess. All the lights in the stadium went off, and when the scoreboard came back on, the overhead lights were off. Despite the delay, the USC women came out strong after the delay and outscored UTSA 16-6 to end the period.
“[The game] was indicative of the lights going out,” Cooper said lightheartedly.
The second half featured much of the same, with USC taking a 20-point lead at the 11-minute mark. The second half surge was led by freshman guard Ariya Cook, who scored six consecutive USC points during one stretch. With about six minutes left in the contest, Cooper took out the majority of his starters and gave his role players minutes to close out the game. Cooper had much praise for Harberts after the game.
“Cassie is our anchor in the middle, offensively and defensively,” Cooper said. “We expected her to do a lot
for a sophomore. She’s getting it done, and tonight was an indication of that. As long as she’s active down there … we’re gonna be successful.”
The Women of Troy have had an up-and-down season thus far, and Cooper acknowledged that his team is not playing where they need to be.
“We’re gonna be okay. We’re learning from [losses] and our job is to keep winning and get ourselves ready for Pac-12 play,” Cooper stated. “We have to be more disciplined offensively and defensively … we gotta box out and we haven’t really gotten into where we’re hitting shots yet … We’re gonna continue to work on those aspects of our game and work on our shooting, and hopefully that turns around. And when our shooting comes, hopefully our defense will follow behind.”
The Women of Troy will next face No. 24 Gonzaga in Spokane on Dec. 4.