The USC women’s basketball team played a pair of home games over the weekend, jumping out to double-digit leads early in both contests. However, the games would result in completely different outcomes.
The Women of Troy blew a 16-point halftime lead to lose 60-53 to Arizona State on Friday but were able to hold on to a 21-point halftime lead to beat Arizona 74-57 on Sunday. The victory ended a three-game Pac-12 losing streak that began Jan. 17 in an overtime loss against Cal.
Junior forward Cassie Harberts led USC (8-11, 5-3 Pac-12) with 26 points, six rebounds and three blocks against Arizona(11-8, 3-5 Pac-12). Sophomore guard Kiki Alofaituli added 11 points while fellow sophomore guard Ariya Crook finished with 15 points, seven assists and five steals.
USC got in rhythm quickly against the Wildcats, jumping out to a 23-8 lead in the first 11 minutes behind Harberts’ 13 points. They would stretch their lead to as many as 23 and entered halftime up 43-22. Much of that had to do with USC’s accuracy from the field: the Women of Troy shot 50 percent at the half compared to Arizona’s 23 percent. Harberts led all players with 15 points and six rebounds at the half, while Crook added nine points and four assists.
Davellyn Whyte and Kama Griffitts led all Arizona scorers with five points at the half. Whyte would finish with 13 points, while Griffitts finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Wildcats came out of the locker room more aggressive on defense, but despite forcing more mistakes from the Women of Troy, Arizona was only able to cut the USC lead down to 48-35. USC would go on a 9-2 run to shift momentum back their way and hold on for the win. Their lead got to as many as 24 in the second half, and they would finish shooting 48 percent on the day to Arizona’s 29 percent.
On Friday, USC looked like it was ready to roll to an easy win over the Sun Devils (11-9, 3-5 Pac-12) after entering halftime with a 36-20 lead.
Unfortunately, the second half was dramatically different from the first.
Arizona State outscored the Women of Troy 40-17 in the second half, changing the outlook of the game.
The Women of Troy were led by Harberts, who finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, including 19 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. Harberts was the only player to score in doublefigures. Sophomore forward Alexyz Vaioletama added seven points and six rebounds, while Alofaituli finished with six points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Sun Devils were led by Janae Fulcher and Promise Amukamara, who each scored 9 points.
USC controlled the boards in the first half against Arizona State, outrebounding the Sun Devils 24-12, and shot 41 percent compared to Arizona State’s 32 percent. The Sun Devils came out more aggressive in the second half, outrebounding the Women of Troy 16-15 and shooting 59 percent from the floor compared to USC’s 24 percent.
The Sun Devils took a 54-53 lead with less than one-and-a-half minutes to go in the game off two free throws by Haley Videckis and didn’t give it up.
The Women of Troy stay at the Galen Center to play another pair of home games next weekend, taking on the Utah Utes (10-9, 1-7 Pac-12) on Friday at 7 p.m. and the No. 20 Colorado Buffaloes (15-3, 4-3 Pac-12) on Sunday at 10 a.m.