The will of the Women of Troy was tested last weekend as NorCal schools visited. USC bested the California Golden Bears 86-76, but lost to the #7 Stanford Cardinal 69-67 in the final minutes of their game.
Junior guard Minyon Moore led the Women of Troy with 18 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Junior guard Dijonai Carrington and senior forward Alanna Smith scored double-doubles for the Cardinal: Smith with 23 points and 12 rebounds and Carrington with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Against the Cardinal, USC struck with a defensive energy that held Stanford to 11 points. The Women of Troy committed five steals in the first quarter. USC shot well from the field, their 53.8 shooting percentage topping Stanford’s 35.3 percent during the second quarter.
The Cardinal found their footing in the second half and held the Women of Troy to nine points in the third quarter. Yet, USC still had a lead going into the final phase. Freshmen guard Desiree Caldwell and senior guard Aliyah Mazyck helped USC to an eight-point lead, but two three-pointers from Stanford senior forward Alanna Smith made it a close game.
The last six minutes of regulation was full of lead switches and trips to the free throw line.
Against the Golden Bears, Mazyck was one point shy of her career high 28 points, junior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley led the Women of Troy with eight rebounds. Cal senior forward Kristine Anigwe scored 30 points and 14 rebounds.
The Trojans clinched the win without relying on perimeter shooting, they were 3-16 from behind the arc and they shot at 51.6 percent from the field.
“We pounded it in the paint today,” Mazyck said. ”They say once we get in the paint, we excel.”
USC and Cal traded shots to start the game, the Women of Troy kept the game in their control with a four-point lead at the end of the first.
The Golden Bears launched a 7-2 run to bring them within three points of USC. Aliyah Mazyck scored a three and a pair of free throws to pull away, but Kristie Anigwe and junior center CJ West put six points on the board to tie game at 39. Minyon made two shots to finish the half 43-39 in favor of USC.
Although Anigwe and West are 6’4” tall, the Trojan frontcourt continued to match wits with them.
“I feel like our bigs really went out there and played great defense on them,” Minyon said. “Even though they didn’t score on paper, it shows in the game how hard they were working.”
Cal became more competitive on the offensive end and the Women of Troy countered by scoring in the paint. After falling behind seven points, USC reduced their deficit by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
After three ties, Tapley and senior forward Mariya Moore made buckets and secured a lead with 3:19 left in the game. To execute the win, Mazyck and Minyon launched an 11-2 run.
“The kids dug deep and came back,” said USC women’s basketball head coach Mark Trakh. “They fought and came back and I think this will give us confidence moving forward.”
The Women of Troy will finish off their season battling Colorado on March 1 at 7:00P.M. and Utah on March 3 at noon in the Galen Center.