The USC women's basketball team hung with the No. 2 team in the land Saturday night, but couldn't keep up with the South Carolina Gamecocks down the stretch.
South Carolina used a 14-0 run late in the second half to take the lead and secure the victory against the Women of Troy, winning 70-61. USC freshman McKenzie Calvert and senior Kaneisha Horn led the Trojans with 11 points each while Drew Edelman had an impressive 10 points in 16 minutes. She finished a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and grabbed five rebounds.
The Trojans got South Carolina leading scorer Aleighsa Welsh, who averaged 30.5 points last season, into foul trouble and held her to 10 points, but she did grab seven rebounds and four blocks. Alaina Coates had a strong night, scoring 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting and pulling down 13 rebounds. She was also a perfect 6-for-6.
The Gamecocks also got 18 points from Tiffany Mitchell. She was only 4-for-10 from the field, but made her money at the free throw line, making 10-of-12.
USC struggled from the field, shooting just 24 percent in the first half and 33 percent overall, but were able to stay close with some strong free throw shooting, finishing 16-for-20. The Women of Troy jumped out to a 7-2 lead early, but were outscored 25-11 until the final 90 seconds of the first half. They finished the half on a 6-0 run to go into the half down 27-24.
South Carolina was able to push their lead to seven early in the second half, but the resilient Women of Troy kept coming back. USC was able to even up the score on multiple occasions, but couldn't get over the hump to take the lead until Alexyz Vaioletama came up with a steal and found Calvert for a layup.
The bucket put USC up 53-52 with 6:56 remaining, but the Trojans went ice cold afterwards, making just one field goal the rest of the game. South Carolina's 14-0 run put the game out of reach. USC made some free throws to trim the lead down to six, but Mitchell hit four free throws to seal the game.
The Women of Troy will stay on the East Coast traveling to North Carolina for a 4 p.,matchup with Davidson on Monday. The Wildcats return four starters from last year's 16-16 squad.