With many, MANY question marks hanging over them, the Women of Troy basketball squad kicked off Pac-12 play this weekend with road victories against Oregon and Oregon State, improving their record to 5-8 (2-0).
On Friday, junior forward Cassie Harberts once again took charge for USC, scoring 14 of her team's 20 first-half points while the rest of her teammates went 2/20 from the field. Down five points going into the second half, SC initiated a seesaw game with the Beavers, as the lead changed nine times. With 13 seconds left, Oregon State's freshman forward Deven Hunter gave her team the go-ahead shot to make it 55-54. On the final possession, Harberts had an opportunity to take back the lead with two free throws, but missed both of them. Senior Christina Marinacci attempted the putback, but it was blocked out of bounds with 4.6 seconds left. Sophomore Alexyz Vaioletama, who had only scored four points up to that point, took the ball inbounds and passed it to Ariya Crook. Vaioletama moved into a sweet spot down low, Crook passed it back to her, and...well, see for yourself
USC-OSU Game-winner - usctrojans.com (via USCAthletics)
Harberts went on to finish as SC's top scorer with 27 points and nine rebounds, while freshman guard Brianna Barrett scored 11 points. USC shooting woes continued as they registered a 30.6 FG%, but strong rebounding kept them in the game, as they made 51 rebs to the Beavers' 38.
Against the Ducks, the Women of Troy found themselves in another tight contest, but even though Oregon tied up the game three times in the second half, SC never let them take the lead. Strong free throw shooting kept SC ahead while Oregon missed ten of their 18 attempts from the line. The Women of Troy won 67-62, and the scoring was much more distributed than most of their games so far this season. Harberts and Crook led the way with 16 points each, while Barrett and Vaioletama each scored ten points.
Still, more challenging opponents await for USC, and as SB Nation's women's basketball blog Swish Appeal noted, the Women of Troy have yet to show consistent team strengths beyond their team's consistent rebounding and Harberts' reliable shooting . Up next is a Friday night tilt against the 10-3 Washington Huskies at the Galen Center, and it will be extremely difficult for SC to get a W if their shooting percentage continues to linger in the thirties.