After a tenacious effort in the second half, the USC women’s basketball team lost to the Arizona State Sun Devils 63-54. The Women of Troy dissolved a 20-point deficit to a nine-point difference, keeping their competitive spirit high in the final minutes of the game.
USC women’s basketball head coach Mark Trakh mentioned that he was proud of the squad’s performance.
“We’re so young,” he said. “We didn’t give up, we scrapped, we played hard.”
Freshman forward Alissa Pili led the Women of Troy with 23 points, senior forward Kayla Overbeck made seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Jayde Van Hyfte led the Sun Devils with 12 points. Three players tied for the game high of four rebounds, including former USC player Ja’Tavia Tapley.
Arizona State showed the talents of their bench, gaining 30 points from their reserves. Sun Devil’s women’s basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne was quick to sub out players that made fouls and subbed out her entire lineup several times throughout the game.
Guard Endyia Rogers and Overbeck kept the Women of Troy on pace in the early minutes. Yet, USC suffered through poor shooting as time went on. The Sun Devils forced turnovers and executed on the offensive end to make a six-point run in under one regulated minute.
The Sun Devil’s windfall of scoring continued into the second quarter. A two-minute drought by USC allowed Arizona State a seven-point run. Overbeck broke the silence with the jumper, but the Women of Troy could not get their footing in the game.
Arizona State found success with shots down below, allowing their frontcourt scoring opportunities. Accurate free throw shooting started helped USC get within seven points.
The frequent subbing of players allowed all except one Sun Devils player to score points in the first half. Rogers and Overbeck were main contributors, having respectively scored 10 and eight points by halftime.
“We have big scoring roles within the team, so I know they look for us to score buckets,” Rogers said. “The first half, they were going to me and when [Pili] got hot, they went to her, we have to play to score.”
Rogers and Pili fought to make shots to begin the second half. But missed shots and turnovers by the Women of Troy kept the runs in favor of Arizona State. The USC front court countered by drawing in fouls to get charity points.
“Everybody wanted that game bad and moments like those, we knew we had to tighten up, make the clutch plays,” Pili said. “Everyone was focused and I think that helped making shots.”
Pili was 9-10 from the free throw line, this chipped away at Arizona’s double-digit advantage and displayed the level of fight the Women of Troy possessed.
USC will travel to battle the Colorado Buffs on January 10 at 7:00P.M. MT.