Women of Troy fall to Bruins after first-half lead

first_imgThe USC women’s basketball team traveled to Westwood on Sunday to take on rival UCLA. They fell to the Bruins 71-60, and their record is now 11-6, 3-3.The Women of Troy got off to a strong start against the Bruins, but UCLA seized the game behind a strong second-half effort, sending USC to a loss at Pauley Pavilion.Senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama led the Women of Troy with 17 points and 12 rebounds for her fourth career double-double. Freshman guard McKenzie Calvert added 12 points, while senior forward Kaneisha Horn fell just shy of a double-double with 9 points and 10 rebounds.UCLA’s Kari Korver led all scorers with 23 points. Nirra Fields finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Jordin Canada added 15 points and 6 rebounds, all in the second half.“It was a tale of two halves,” said head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. “UCLA came to play the second half, and USC didn’t. We rebounded well in the first half, executed in the first half, played with a lot of intensity, and in the second half, I thought we were unfocused. UCLA got some momentum going and made some big plays down the stretch.”The atmosphere was what can be expected of a crosstown rivalry game, with fans cheering on their teams and both sides giving it their all. The Women of Troy, looking for vengeance after suffering a 59-52 loss to the Bruins at the Galen Center, came out strong, jumping out to an early lead and managing to hold onto it despite constant pressure from UCLA. The Bruins only led for 45 seconds in the first half, as USC took a 32-26 lead heading into halftime.Vaioletama led all players with 13 points and 7 rebounds in the first half. Horn added 9 points and 8 rebounds for the Women of Troy. Korver led the Bruins with 9 points at the half, while Fields had 7 points and 4 rebounds. Both teams committed 10 fouls and 9 turnovers and had similar field-goal percentages (38 percent for USC, 31 percent for UCLA), but USC had a 26-18 edge on the boards, including 9-6 on the offensive glass. However, USC struggled from behind-the-arc, going 0-for-9 on three-point attempts, compared to 3-for-10 for UCLA.“Like coach said, it was intensity,” Vaioletama said about the team’s first-half play. “For us, it was getting out on their three-point shooters, and us executing and attacking their defense and rebounding. That was a big key for us. They’re lengthy and they’re very athletic, but we needed to box out and rebound down the stretch and we didn’t.”The second half was a completely different story, as UCLA came storming out from the opening whistle. Korver scored UCLA’s first 10 points to cut USC’s lead to 40-36 while the addition of Canada into the UCLA rotation helped provide a spark for the Bruins. After a first half featuring only two lead changes, the second half had five.Junior guard Brianna Barrett hit two free throws to tie the game at 60 with 3:06 remaining and the game looked to be going back-and-forth until the final buzzer. The Bruins seized the momentum, putting USC away with an 11-0 run.UCLA dominated the boards after halftime, grabbing 28 second-half rebounds to USC’s 16 and shot 47 percent from the field to USC’s 33 percent. While the Women of Troy were able to knock down a couple of 3s, they finished the game hitting only two of 19 attempts.The Women of Troy will look to bounce back at home against California (12-5, 4-2 Pac-12) on Friday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. and No. 11 Stanford (13-5, 5-1 Pac-12). They will then go back on the road to take on No. 9 Oregon State (16-1, 6-0 Pac-12) in Corvallis on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 2:30 pm and Oregon (8-9, 1-5 Pac-12) on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. All games will be available on the Pac-12 Network.last_img

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