Women’s basketball suffers back-to-back losses

 Freshman center Angel Jackson leads USC in total blocks with 20 and is second on the team in rebounds. ( Yannick Peterhans | Daily Trojan)

The USC women’s basketball team dropped two games in a row over the weekend, falling to Colorado 66-53 in Boulder, Friday and suffering a close 67-65 loss against Utah in Salt Lake City Sunday. 

The first half of the Colorado game proved promising for a young USC team. The Trojans played tight defense, allowing only 7 points in the second quarter while maintaining a 5-point lead going into the third quarter. 

However, the Trojans’ transition defense broke down after the half, allowing the Buffs to take over by scoring a dizzying 27 points in the third quarter. USC shot 18.8% from the field in the fourth quarter, and head coach Mark Trakh’s team could not recover from Colorado’s offensive onslaught. 

Freshman center Angel Jackson led the Trojans with 12 points while senior forward Kayla Overbeck stood out with seven rebounds. 

Overbeck was the only forward to hit double digits in points and make a significant impact around the glass. Jackson and freshman forward Alissa Pili grabbed fewer than five rebounds each. Overall, the Trojans lost the rebound battle 50-31. 

“I think that it’s important to execute for 40 minutes,” Trakh said. “I think we are getting there. I think the injuries have killed us … but we got to keep on improving and keep on getting better.”

Two days after playing Utah, 3-pointers finally started to fall for the Trojans in what soon became a fast paced game. 

After a tight 2-point game for much of the third and fourth quarters, USC secured a 5-point edge with less than five minutes in the game. But Utah sophomore  guard Dry Gylten and senior wing Daneesha Provo drained two key threes down the stretch to eventually give Utah a late lead.

With less than 10 seconds left in the game, Trakh called a timeout after the teams had traded free throws to bring it to a two-point game.

“Playing with so many young players, [it] can get frantic in a game that’s that close,” Overbeck said about Trakh’s decision to use the timeout. “He was, in a way, trying to calm us down but also giving us that confidence to say, ‘We believe in you, all four of us coaches believe in you, this whole team believes in you, everyone does … Go show us what you can do.’”

Unfortunately for USC, the final play resulted in a missed jumper by sophomore guard Desiree Caldwell. Utah secured the defensive rebound as time wound down. 

Caldwell and freshman guard Endyia Rogers shot above 50% from the field. Caldwell went on to finish the game with 14 points while Pili finished with a team high of 16. The Trojans struggled down low, making only 10 of their 24 layup attempts. 

The two losses dropped the Trojans’ record to 8-8 overall and 0-5 in conference play. USC has yet to see a win this January, with earlier home losses against No. 18 Arizona State and No. 21 Arizona. USC will host UCLA at Galen Center Friday for a second matchup against UCLA, the No. 7 ranked team in the nation.

David Ramirez contributed to this story.