The USC women’s basketball team fell 74-64 Saturday night at Galen Center after a tight battle with No. 6 powerhouse Texas A&M. This marks the second loss of the season for the team and the fifth win for the Aggies.
The teams traded the lead eight times in the first half, but the competition tapered off as Texas A&M won the third quarter 19-13 and never looked back. Poor rebounding from USC led to the Aggies’ runoff, which included 9 unanswered points and strong defense from A&M junior guard Kayla Wells and senior guard Shambria Washington.
The Aggies once led by 14 points, but the Trojans were able to fight back and come within 9 with just under three minutes left in the fourth. However, the Trojans were unable to close the gap, and the Aggies held on.
Both teams were sharp in the field throughout the game, but rebounding struggles ultimately did USC in, as Texas A&M far outpaced the Trojans 44-26.
USC freshman guard Endyia Rogers posted her first 20-point college game, while freshman forward Alissa Pili followed with 12 points. This is the third game both Rogers and Pili have led the Trojans in points, as both players scored double digits in the loss against UC Santa Barbara last weekend.
The four-freshman roster could not match up to A&M’s veteran group. The Aggies played a junior- and senior-exclusive squad carrying deep NCAA tournament experience from last season. Junior guard Chennedy Carter, an All-American and First Team All-SEC player, scored 26 points for A&M while junior forward N’Dea Jones racked up 18 rebounds.
Head coach Mark Trakh kept his lineup nearly identical to the UC Santa Barbara game, only replacing freshman guard Alyson Miura with senior forward Kayla Overbeck. Overbeck had been sidelined due to an injury and had last played against UC Riverside two weeks ago for just two minutes.
A noticeable absence in Saturday’s lineup was graduate transfer guard Stephanie Watts, who was also unavailable last week. Watts joins freshman guard Madison Campbell and redshirt sophomore guard Shalexxus Aaron on the injured list, with Campbell and Aaron yet to see the court this season.
The Trojans will not face another ranked team in pre-conference play. However, notable upcoming opponents include Nebraska on Friday and Alabama on Saturday at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas.
The Aggies acted as the warm up for the competition the Trojans can expect in women’s basketball Pac-12 play. USC’s first conference game is against No. 11 UCLA.
“I think we played very well as a team,” Rogers told The Eagle after the game. “Obviously, we have to build on it and take it to the next game and then to conference.”
USC’s ability to compete with a ranked team and keep up offensively gives the Trojans reason for optimism moving forward.
The Trojans will take on Nebraska to open the 2019 South Point Shootout in Las Vegas Friday at 5:45 p.m.