Washington State’s shots fall, but USC prevails
LOS ANGELES — A blazing start and strong shooting was not enough for Washington State (7-15, 2-9) to overcome some key mistakes late as USC (13-8, 3-7) rallied to defeat the Cougars, 81-73, Sunday afternoon at the Galen Center.
Just as she did two days prior, junior Chanelle Molina put together a shooting clinic in the opening quarter as the junior scored 12 points on four three-pointers to push the Cougs to a 30-24 lead after one.
The 30 points in the opening frame tied a program record for scoring in the first quarter, a mark set earlier in the year against Boise State. However, the hot shooting would not hold for WSU as the Cougs struggled to score in the second quarter leading to an 11-0 run by the Trojans over the first six minutes of action.
Despite not hitting their first field goal until the 1:28 mark in the quarter, the Cougars would finish the half on an 8-2 run, including back-to-back threes by Ula Motuga and Alexys Swedlund , capturing the lead before the halftime break. Up one, the Cougars would push their lead to as much as eight midway through the new quarter as Borislava Hristova took over the game on the offensive end of the floor.
The star junior would go off for 14 of her 24 points in the 10-minute run, only to watch the Trojans overcome her efforts with a push to the basket. Back-to-back and-one opportunities for USC’s Minyon Moore kick started a Trojan rally that proved to be the difference in the game as USC closed the quarter on a 17-4 run that gave USC the lead for good heading into the final quarter.
While the Cougars would close the gap to just four late in the game, the Trojans would finish out the contest at the line to end any hopes of a comeback by WSU.
Coach Ethridge Quote of the Game
“I am really proud of the team and how they played. I am playing the snot out of a couple of players who are having to play so many minutes and its just really ahrd to be that on edge and that good and to carry us like they did. I thought we bounced back and really competed hard. We just didn’t guard them well enough in the second half and they just got to main line drives. We’ve been really good at guarding the weaves, and blurs, and all those kinds of defenses and catching them, making people make hard twos, but we let them turn the corner and get some and-ones. We couldn’t answer quite enough offensively to keep up with them in the second half.
So, it’s discouraging that we didn’t hold them a little bit better and give us a chance to win. On the offensive end we got some great looks and I don’t know if it is fatigue or just some misses that really hurt us to keep it tight and give us a chance at the end.”