It’s finally March! The Pac-12 Tournament is coming up for he women’s side this week with the final seeding in place after the final regular season games. The USC women’s basketball team spot has already been determined as the nine seed in the tournament. They will face the Arizona Wildcats who own the head to head tie breaker over the Trojans. The Women of Troy currently have a 17-12 overall record with a 7-11 record in Pac-12 play and are looking to capture their first Pac-12 Tournament Championship since 2014. While their record tells one story, the Trojans have put a scare into quite a few teams through Pac-12 play. You could say USC was a few plays from having a much different record in Pac-12 play and from being considered for an at large berth in the NCAA Tournament. After the last month of conference play, USC has shown that they can defiantly be a dangerous team heading into the Pac-12 Tournament.
The Women of Troy have matched up very well against some of the top teams in the Pac-12 this season. However in some of those games, the Trojans have taken a fourth quarter lead only to fall apart within the final 4-5 minutes of the game. USC has challenged teams such as Stanford, Cal, Oregon State, Utah, UCLA. All teams who will make their way into the NCAA Tournament, or who are in the mix for an at large spot. The Trojans carry a very talented line up that can beat teams in transition and suffocate teams with their defense. Junior guard Minyon Moore has been the spark to jump start both sides of the ball. For example, Moore manages to put players in good positions to make a play, jump starts the offense with a steal, leaks out and pushes the ball in transition, and forces teams to play a much faster game than they’re used to. Moore is averaging 15 points, 6.2 assist, and 2.6 steals per game. She’s without a doubt an engine that keeps USC going.
It’s not just Moore who makes the team dangerous, as the Trojans have two scorers at the guard position as well. Senior guard Mariya Moore, the sister of Minyon, and senior guard Aliyah Mazyck have provided more scoring in the backcourt for USC. The trio has been nothing short of deadly when they play their game in transition. It’s not only scoring where they make their presence known, but their defense and high energy that rubs off onto their fellow Trojans when they make runs against teams.
USC’s biggest issues has been its ability to finish games. As mentioned, the Trojans have held leads against Stanford (2X), Oregon State, and UCLA during the first meeting heading into the fourth quarter but were unable to finish the job. Some of that is due to scoring droughts in the half court set, key players in foul trouble, or lack of bench depth. Turn any two of those games around and it’s a completely different outcome.
The Trojans will have a rough road ahead of them in the conference tournament. They start off the tournament against the Arizona Wildcats, a team that defeated USC by three in Tucson back in January. The winner of the USC/Arizona game will face the top seeded Oregon Ducks. In the Trojans last two meetings with Oregon, they were defeated by 20 or more points. In their last game against the Ducks back in February, senior guard Mariya Moore scored 30 points, however the Trojans lost 78-96.
It will be a tough road for USC to win the Pac-12 tournament, but after ending the regular season with two consecutive wins and playing up to their potential, the Women of Troy could be a pretty dangerous team this weekend.