The USC Lady Trojans won their first ever PAC 10 championship under the leadership of Locke High and USC alumn Cynthia Cooper Dyke
Former Locke High star Cynthia Dyke-Cooper and the Women of Troy basketball team will be marching when the NCAA Tournament is announced on St. Patrick Day. The No. 5-seeded women’s basketball team shocked everyone, but itself by winning, winning the program’s first-ever Pac-12 Tournament Championship. The Trojans barely blinked when No. 3 seed Oregon State took an 11-point lead in the first half last Sunday at Key Arena, and drove right past the Beavers in the second half to win it all with a 71-62 final victory.
USC was the first team in the conference tournament’s history to play four games in the four-day event, let alone the first team to WIN all four of those games. The relentless effort of the Women of Troy has punched a ticket to the NCAA Tournament with an automatic bid, marking the first time since 2006 that USC will make an appearance in the tourney. USC -- who kept top-seeded Stanford out of the title match for the first time in history with yesterday’s semifinal upset -- will take a 22-12 overall record into the NCAA Tournament, with the selection set for March 17.
Both teams dropped four 3-pointers apiece in the first 20 minutes, but it was Oregon State’s 44-percent effort from the floor overall that helped outpace USC by the break. The Trojans, were shooting 33 percent as they trailed the Beavers 36-29 at halftime. USC had trailed by 11 in the first half, but constructed a 23-point swing in taking a 12-point lead during the second half thanks in part to a defensive effort supercharged by a stubborn press and an improved offensive push at the other end.
USC would shoot 39 percent from the floor to finish at 36 percent in the game. OSU, meanwhile, cooled down to 31 percent in the second half and finished up at 38 percent. USC landed seven 3-pointers and went 20-of-24 from the free-throwline to build the difference and lock in the comeback victory.
USC got four Trojans in double digits for the win, led by 16 points from the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Long Beach Poly star Ariya Cook. Kiki Alofaituli came up big with 15 points while Pac-12 All-Tournament Team member Cassie Harberts added 12. Also finishing in double digits was Brianna Barrett with 11 points on the night. Oregon State was paced by Deven Hunter with 19 points and 11 rebounds, with Sydney Wiese adding 17 points and Ruth Hamblin putting in 10 forthe Beavers.