Women’s basketball squeaks by Utah at home

Senior Mariya Moore was an integral part of the Trojans’ victory over Utah Sunday. Her 25 points led the team, and her 3-pointer with 6 seconds left in regulation helped USC reach overtime. (Sinead Chang/Daily Trojan)

The Trojan women’s basketball team ended the regular season on a high note with two weekend victories. The first came in an 84-77 victory over Colorado at Galen Center Friday night, followed by an 83-77 overtime win against Utah. 

Colorado started off hot, taking a 12-6 lead in the first five minutes of regulation. Sophomore guard Mya Hollingshed scored 10 of the first 12 points for Colorado. Scoring from guards junior Minyon Moore and senior Aliyah Mazyck matched the Buffaloes’ run early, and a 3-pointer from junior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley tied the game at 12. At the end of the quarter, the score was 21-17 Colorado. 

With .06 seconds left in the half, Moore inbounded to Mazyck, who tipped in a last second buzzer-beater to bring the lead to 39-30 by the half. USC finished the half on a 10-0 run. 

Junior forward Kayla Overbeck returned from a first-quarter leg injury to add 6 points in the second half, as the Trojans extended their lead to 12. After a quick 5-1 run, Colorado senior guard Alexis Robinson hit a 3-pointer to bring the Trojan lead down to single-digits. 

USC held its lead for the entirety of the fourth quarter, and a quick run from the Buffaloes in the last minute was not enough to take the win from the Trojans.

Mazyck finished with a game-high 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting, hitting 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc. The Trojans forced 15 turnovers, which they converted into 27 points. 

USC finished the regular season Sunday at home against Utah with a thrilling 83-77 overtime victory. Mazyck, Mariya Moore and forwards Cheyanne Wallace and Marguerite Effa were honored on Senior Day in their last home game as Trojans. 

It was a low-scoring first quarter, as Minyon Moore scored the first points of the contest on a layup with six minutes remaining in the period. The Trojan defense swarmed the Utes, causing 10 turnovers in the first quarter. 

Both teams continued to struggle offensively in the second quarter, combining for 2-for-25 from the field until a three from graduate student guard Sarah Porter put the Utes up 22-18. Mazyck walked off the court with a leg injury before the last possession of the half and did not return. A Minyon Moore layup at the buzzer made the score 26-23 Utah at the half. 

The game opened up in the second half, as evidenced by USC’s 23 points in the fourth quarter, matching its first half output. In the last minute of regulation, the score was 62-58 Utah. 

However, the Trojans wouldn’t quit, as a quick step-back three from Mariya Moore and two free throws from Minyon Moore brought their deficit down to two. Utah went 1-for-2 from the line after being intentionally fouled and Mariya Moore hit another 3-pointer to make the score 67-66 Utah.

Utah senior guard Erika Bean stepped to the line and made the front end of a one-and-one, but missed the second. In the ensuing scrum for the rebound, USC freshman guard Desiree Caldwell was fouled. On the other end of the floor, she hit two clutch free throws that tied the game 68-68, and the game went to overtime.

“To be down by [4] with 50 seconds to go in the game, the team didn’t quit,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “The kids showed huge heart.” 

The teams traded blows to start the overtime period. With just over two minutes remaining, Minyon Moore picked up her fifth personal foul, ending her night. 

Redshirt freshman guard Shalexxus Aaron’s fifth three of the night put the Trojans up 3 but was quickly answered by a three from Utah senior forward Megan Huff at the top of the key to tie the game at 77 with one minute to go. 

Overbeck and Caldwell contributed perfect trips to the line, and the Trojan defense got two straight stops, putting USC up 81-77 with 16 seconds left. Caldwell’s last trip to the line secured the victory for USC.

“I know in overtime my legs were shaking,” Mariya Moore said, “So for [Desiree] to come in clutch like that was great.”

The Moore sisters combined for 43 points, while Aaron added 17, including five 3-pointers. 

USC finished the season 17-12 and 7-11 in the Pac-12. The conference tournament begins Thursday in Las Vegas.

“We’re the underdogs,” Mariya Moore said of the tournament. “But honestly, I love being the underdogs more. You surprise people. We’re excited, and we’re not ready for the season to be over.”