USC narrowly drops its season opener

first_imgIn a battle of ’SCs, the USC women’s basketball team played a close game against the No. 2 South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday. USC fought hard throughout, but a late run by the Gamecocks gave them a 70-61 victory in Columbia, South Carolina, in both teams’ season opener.Sound the horn · Senior forward Kaneisha Horn scored 11 points in USC’s game at No. 2 South Carolina on Saturday night. The Birmingham, Alabama, native averaged just 3.0 points per game last season. – Brian Ji | Daily TrojanSenior forward Kaneisha Horn and freshman guard McKenzie Calvert led the Women of Troy (0-1) with 11 points each, while Horn also led the team with four steals. Sophomore forward Drew Edelman added 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting and five rebounds from the bench.The Gamecocks (1-0) were led by center Alaina Coates’ 18 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Tiffany Mitchell contributed 18 points and four assists.USC is now 0-3 against South Carolina all-time.The opener pitted last year’s SEC regular season champion with last year’s Pac-12 Tournament champion, and the match lived up to the hype. Horn got the game started with a steal and a basket to give the Women of Troy a 2-0 start, and USC built a 7-2 lead after another basket from Horn and a three-pointer from senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama.The Gamecocks responded with a quick 6-0 run to take an 8-7 lead, and chaos ensued.The first half featured six lead changes and three ties, with the largest lead being South Carolina’s nine-point lead with 1:57 left in the half. The Gamecocks led or were tied for the final 8:24 of the half, and entered halftime with a 27-24 lead.Both teams struggled on offense in the first half, as the Women of Troy only shot 24 percent from the field, compared to 36 percent for the Gamecocks.Both teams broke it open in the second half, as USC and South Carolina improved to shooting 46 percent and 56 percent from the field, respectively.The second half was mostly controlled by the Gamecocks, who held the lead from halftime until a layup from Calvert gave USC a 53-52 lead with 6:56 remaining. Their advantage was short-lived, as South Carolina would go on a 14-0 run over the next 4:41 to seal the win.“I felt we missed a couple layups, and then turned the ball over a couple times in a two or three minute span,” said head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. “When you play a great team like South Carolina, you can’t make those mistakes because they make you pay for them. That was part of their 14-0, and we have to learn from that and learn how to finish games as strong as we start them.”Overall, the Women of Troy shot 33 percent from the field compared to 46 percent for South Carolina. The Gamecocks forced 15 turnovers and 23 fouls, and USC forced 19 turnovers and 18 fouls.“I think it gives our team more confidence,” Horn said about starting the year against the defending SEC champions. “We see that we’re better than people portray us. We’re not ranked, but for us to compete with that team, we should do really good this season. It motivates us all.”Today, the Women of Troy will travel up to Davidson, North Carolina, to take on Davidson (0-1), who is coming off a 67-60 loss to Furman (1-0). Hannah Early led the Wildcats with 15 points and nine rebounds, Dakota Dukes added 12 points and nine rebounds and Mackenzie Latt earned a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds).The match-up, which begins at 4 p.m. PST, will be the first meeting ever between the Women of Troy and Davidson.“We have to take what we did really well, and why we were in the game against the No. 2 team in the country,” Cooper-Dyke said. “We need to take those things, and continue to cultivate and build on those, and then fix some of the smaller things; the turnovers, the missed layups, the missed opportunities … This was the first game of our season, so we have a long way to go, and the key is to continue to grow.”After USC returns from the Carolinas, the Women of Troy head to Long Beach to take on Long Beach State (1-0) on Friday, Nov. 21. They’ll play their home opener on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. against Fresno State (1-0).last_img

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