Sophomore guard Endyia Rogers shined while scoring a career-high 30 points in the Trojan’s Sunday victory over ASU. The final score was 65-57, and USC appeared comfortable on their home court against the Sun Devils. With the win, the team improves to 7-7 overall and 5-6 in Pac-12 play.
Rogers landed a buzzer-beater to give USC a 21-11 lead after 10 minutes of play in the first quarter. The game was Rogers’s 10th straight double digit scoring performance.
The Trojans started the first and second quarter strong and appeared almost unable to miss from beyond the arc, shooting 8-11 from the 3-point line. USC kept the pace going on the defensive end with quick rotations and timely turnovers on defense. ASU struggled to keep up, and by halftime, USC earned a 40-23 lead.
“We defended well and hit big shots, I was really happy with the intensity and the leadership,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “We’re going to keep this going.”
Sophomore forward Alyssa Pili and redshirt sophomore Shalexxus Aaron both returned to the court Sunday after missing time due to injuries.
Aaron worked well with Rogers as a recipient of the high low plays. Aaron was 3-for-3 from behind the arc and hit major shots that got the Trojans going in an early run. Aaron scored in double digits for the first time since a 17-point outing on March 3, 2019, marking Sunday’s game as a major come-back for her.
“It meant a lot. I’ve been a part of three injuries above my foot along with knee surgery and spraining my ankle, so I definitely felt it at half time for sure,” Aaron said after the game. “Getting the team win overall was a victory itself of course. I love basketball, and I love being on the court so that was a victory for myself as well too but I think the team win conquers everything overall.”
ASU adjusted at the half and scored 8-0 straight out of the shoot in the third quarter. The Sun Devils continued to chip away at USC’s substantial lead, but the Trojans never allowed ASU back to secure a comeback. The third quarter started slow but the Trojans still found their rhythm eventually and held onto their lead.
The final quarter began with a ten point difference between the teams — the closest of the entire game. During the quarter’s final three minutes, the Trojans let a three pointer slip in their two-three zone defense, and ASU moved quickly to score and cut the lead down to single digits.
The Trojans beat through ASU’s press defense as they entered the bonus. Rogers knocked down two free throws at the 2:10 mark to score her 25th and 26th points of the night. ASU had two attempts from the three-point line, but junior guard Taya Hanson missed and saved USC from a neck-and-neck finish. Rogers tied her career-high scoring performance by amassing almost half of her team’s points to overpower the Sun Devils in the final minutes.
With only a handful of Pac-12 games left and the tournament nearing, Trakh and his squad need to build on Sunday’s performance with consistent wins if they hope to make a successful postseason run. USC’s next game is against Washington on Feb. 5. Tip off is at 7 p.m.