Seattle, Washington – USC’s Courtney Jaco scored 19 points and Temi Fagbenie added 18 as the eighth-seeded USC Trojans rallied through a tense finish to defeat No. 9 Washington State 77-73 in the first round of the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament at Key Arena.
Having split the season, each team came into tonight’s matchup looking for an edge. The winner continues on, the loser ends their season on the worst note possible.
The opening tip-off went the way of the Trojans, but very little else did in the first half. A defensive struggle between the two teams trying to peak at the right time led to a see-saw half, with sloppy play on both sides.
The Cougars settled into an up-tempo pace that found USC flat-footed more than once. USC #41 Temi Fagbenle lead the Trojans in the first half with nine points. The team shot a dismal 36.4%, compared to the Cougars 44.8%,
WSU Taylor Edmondson #12, gave the Cougars momentum heading into the half nailing a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give them a 34-31 halftime lead.
The second half was more of the same as the teams battled back and forth with sloppy play leading to turnovers on both sides, and yet they remained tied going into the fourth quarter.
With no one truly able to pull away, overtime was looking like a real possibility.
With two minutes left, the game was still tied. With a chance to win in the final minute, WSU missed 3 of 4 foul shots. However Freshman Borislava Hristova made one to come as close as 72-71, but Nike McClure, after swiping the ball from Simon and getting fouled, missed both.
The Women of Troy will move on to play Pac-12 #1 seed Oregon State Friday March 4th at 6pm. The Beavers swept the Trojans during the regular season.