USC closes out regular season in Washington

first_imgThe USC women’s basketball team will finish up their regular season this weekend as they take on Washington on Thursday, Feb. 26 in Seattle at 6 p.m. and Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 28 in Pullman at 3 p.m.The Women of Troy (15-12, 7-9 Pac-12) split their final two home games of the season against the Arizona schools, crushing Arizona 77-51 but falling to No. 12 Arizona State 76-73 in double overtime.Senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama tallied 28 points and 15 rebounds in her final two games, picking up the fifth double-double of her career on Senior Day with a 18-point, 12-rebound performance against the Sun Devils.“I think we need to just execute more as a team,” junior guard Brianna Barrett said. “Positive things we can take away are effort, we never gave up, and I think we saw as a team that we can play with the best of the best, and when we take from that we have confidence in ourselves, and in our abilities as a team. We just use that momentum going into this weekend.”Senior forward Kaneisha Horn had 15 points and 11 rebounds over the weekend. Freshmen also made some major contributions for USC, as guard McKenzie Calvert scored 22 points, while forward Kristen Simon racked up 21 points and a team-leading 18 rebounds.Vaioletama leads USC with 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.Calvert is averaging 10.3 points per game, while Horn is scoring 10.1 points per game, and leads the team with 7.0 rebounds per game. Vaioletama has the rebounding advantage in Pac-12 games though, 7.6 to 7.3 per game.The Women of Troy have been led by their offensive rebounding this season, leading the Pac-12 with 14.8 per game and placing second in offensive rebounding percentage at .354.They’ve tallied 20 or more offensive rebounds in four games this season and grabbed 19 against the Sun Devils.The Huskies (20-8, 9-7 Pac-12) are led by Kelsey Plum’s 22.9 points per game.Jazmine Davis is averaging 15.6 points and a team-leading 4.3 assists per game, while Talia Walton averages 13.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.Plum is also the Pac-12’s leading scorer in conference games, averaging 20.2 points per game. USC is 29-31 all-time against Washington, having lost their last two meetings.Lia Galdeira leads the Cougars (15-12, 6-10 Pac-12) with 19.6 points per game, including 19.9 in conference, second only to Plum, along with 6.0 rebounds per game. Galdeira also leads the team in assists with 70, and steals with 90.Tia Presley is averaging 16.4 points for Washington State. The Women of Troy are 44-15 all-time against the Cougars, but have also lost the past two meetings.“I think the key is to contain,” head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said about defending Plum and Galdiera. “We’re not going to be able to stop the scoring guards, but we can contain them and limit their touches. The way you contain a scorer is to make them work extremely hard on offense to get the ball, and then you make them work extremely hard on defense. We’re going to have to value the ball, not turn it over, make them play some defense, and then contain their penetration and contest their 3-point shot.”The two teams split a home-and-home last weekend, with the Cougars winning 83-72 in Seattle on Friday behind 23 points from Galdiera, while the Huskies blew out the Cougars 83-43 in Pullman on Sunday behind 22 points each from Plum and Walton.The Huskies enter the weekend having won four of their last six, while the Cougars have lost six of their last eight.The Women of Troy will return to Seattle next week, as they’ll participate in the Pac-12 tournament from Thursday, March 5 to Sunday, March 8 at KeyArena.last_img

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