The USC women’s basketball team went on the road for the second time this week and suffered its biggest loss of the season, an 80-46 defeat by San Diego State on Friday.
Junior forward Cassie Harberts led the Women of Troy (3-3) with 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Sophomore guard Ariya Crook added 11 points for USC, which had no other player score more than four points.
Guard Courtney Clements led the Aztecs (4-2) with a season-high 25 points and grabbed six rebounds, while guard Chelsea Hopkins finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The game started out close, with the Aztecs leading 23-16 with 8:28 left in the first half. USC would take advantage of opportunities generated by offensive rebounds, cutting the score to 23-20 thanks to consecutive layups by freshman guard Brianna Barrett and senior forward Christina Marinacci. After the last media timeout of the first half, the Aztecs went on a 15-4 run, which included three 3-pointers, putting San Diego State up 38-24 at the half.
“We aren’t a tournament team as of right now and we’re trying to be that tournament team,” co-captain Marinacci said last week. “When we play teams that played in the NCAA tournament, it’s gonna be really important for us to get those wins.”
Harberts led USC with nine points at the half, while freshman guard Jordan Adams had three rebounds. USC shot 30 percent from the field in the half compared to the Aztecs’ 43 percent.
San Diego State continued its hot shooting to start the second half, going on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 19. After back-to-back jumpers from Harberts and Crook brought the score to 43-28, the Aztecs went on a 13-4 run to jump out to a 56-33 lead. The Aztecs would shoot 50 percent from the field in the second half, including 3-for-5 from behind the arc, and jump out to a 34-point lead, their biggest of the game, with 49 seconds to go. The Women of Troy shot 35 percent in the second half, while making the only 3-pointer attempted in the half.
USC committed only 13 turnovers for the second straight game but was unable to overcome shooting 32 percent from the field, including 2 for 11 from behind the arc. The Aztecs shot 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from behind the arc, committing only eight turnovers. San Diego State also out-rebounded the Women of Troy 48-29 (19-10 on the offensive boards), marking the first time USC has been out-rebounded by an opponent all season. Both teams committed at least 14 fouls, with the Women of Troy shooting 8 of 12 from the free-throw line while the Aztecs shot 10 for 18.
“Right now, it’s about this year and this group,” said USC associate coach Daron Park last week prior to the contest. “Our team is certainly different from the one last year. San Diego State is certainly different from the one last year also. It’s a great early-season test. We love playing great non-conference opponents.”
Redshirt freshman forward Deanna Calhoun and sophomore guard Rachel Totten played their first minutes for USC in the loss. Calhoun picked up three fouls in seven minutes and Totten grabbed a rebound in three minutes. Neither player scored any points.
USC looks to bounce back on the road against Fresno State (3-2) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. They will then return to the Galen Center on Dec. 15 at noon against Texas A&M (3-3).