LOS ANGELES (AP) – Riding the momentum of a victory over UCLA – its crosstown rival – in its Pac 12 Conference opener last Monday, the Southern California women’s basketball team made it two in a row with a 55-45 win Friday over No. 12 Colorado.
Cassie Harberts scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead USC.
Harberts gave USC a 46-45 lead after converting two free throws with 3:08 to play. Brianna Barrett added a bucket and Harberts sunk three free throws and Desiree Bradley added two more free throws to seal the victory. USC outscored Colorado 11-0 over the final 4:01 of the game.
“It’s a testament to our poise the way we played defense in the last four minutes tonight,” Harberts said. “We got stops and got back on transition and knocked down free throws.”
Bradley scored 11 points for the Trojans (9-5). The team shot 31 percent from the field overall and 76 percent from the line.
USC was dealt a blow in the first minute of the game as Trojans leading scorer Ariya Crook, who averages 16.3 points per game, left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return.
Brittany Wilson led Colorado (10-2) with 13 points and her twin sister Ashley added 12 points.
The Trojans snapped the Buffaloes nine-game regular season conference game winning streak – a run that started with a win over the Trojans on February 3, 2013.
“It was our best defensive effort of the season and I’m proud of our players,” USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said.
Colorado fell to 3-2 on the road this season with its only other loss coming in a 69-62 setback against No. 7 Louisville two weeks ago. It was Colorado’s first regular season nonconference loss in 33 games, a streak that spanned back to the 2010-11 campaign.
“Our rebounding in the last four minutes killed us,” Colorado coach Linda Lappe said. “We weren’t crisp and weren’t kicking the ball out and that hurt us. It comes down to making shots and we didn’t do that.”
Both teams shot poorly from the outset of the game, however the Trojans managed to build a 9-0 lead following two free throws by Desiree Bradley.
The Buffaloes missed their first 12 shots and didn’t get on the board until Ashley Wilson’s basket with 13:20 left in the first half. USC upped its lead to 17-5 after a basket by Harberts at the 9:05 mark.
Colorado countered with a 15-6 run over the final 8:30 of the half to cut the lead to 23-20 at the break. The Buffaloes 20 points was its lowest first half point total of the season.
The Trojans shot 25.9 percent (7-27) in the first half and made 8 of 10 free throws. USC blocked nine shots in the opening half.
The Buffaloes made 7 of 33 shots (21.2 percent) and missed all four 3-point attempts in the first half.
Ashley Wilson led all scorers in the first half with seven points. Alexyz Vaioletama led the Trojans with six points and six rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
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