The USC Trojans came into Las Vegas looking to survive and advance in the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament, however things didn’t go according to plan on Thursday afternoon. The Women of Troy were dominated by the Arizona Wildcats 76-48 in the first round of the conference tournament. The game started out at a fast pace, which played into the Trojans’ hand a lot of the time, but the they struggled from the field and couldn’t keep pace with the Wildcats.
Arizona went on a 16-5 run which put them up 44-21 at the half over the Women of Troy. The Wildcats maintained their lead and pushed it to as far as 30 to secure the victory over USC. The biggest downfall for the Trojans was the inability to score, as they scored a season low of 48 points in the loss to Arizona.
As a team, USC shot 25 percent from the field and were 4-18 from three point territory. The backcourt of Minyon Moore, Mariya Moore, and Ayliah Mazyck were a combined 6-35 from the field. Senior guard Mariya Moore led the Trojans in scoring with 12 points while junior forward Kayla Overbeck scored 12 points and five rebounds.
Arizona’s defense made things difficult for the Trojans and played a part in the offensive disfunction for USC. The Wildcats were clicking on all cylinders and shot 57 percent from the field. Arizona guard Aari McDonald finished the game with 19 points and seven assists, while guard Tee Tee Starks finished with 14 points. Center Cate Reese gave the Trojans fits down in the paint with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Arizona improves its record to 18-12 and advances to face the top seeded Oregon Ducks in the second round. For USC, it falls to 17-13 and await to find out its postseason fate. Trojans’ head coach Mark Trakh instantly shutdown any thoughts of them getting into the NCAA tournament.
“We don’t deserve to be in. Let’s end that conversation right away.” said Trakh. “That conversation is over.”
USC would’ve had to win the Pac-12 Tournament and take an automatic bid or make a deep run just to be considered for the NCAA Tournament. The WNIT is still in play for the team as the Trojans play the last month and a half could warrant for them to receive an invite. They’ll have to wait until selection Monday to find out, but it is safe to say that the NCAA tournament is indeed out.
The USC basketball program does have a bright future ahead of them. Next season they could contend in the Pac-12 conference as they return a good portion of its roster which includes point guard Moore and forward Overbeck. They also bring in a talented recruiting class which ranks No. 5 in the nation and includes three five-star recruits in guard Endyia Rogers, Center Angel Jackson, and Forward Alissa Pili, the sister of USC football defensive tackle Brandon Pili.