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Women of Troy 'Turnover' Game In Second Half

Jodee Sullivan |
January 24, 2015 | 12:11 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Friday night's game saw USC Women's Basketball Team (11-7, 3-4 Pac-12) lose to Cal (13-5, 5-2 Pac-12), by a score of 67-53. The first half was close and competitive, but in the second USC got cold and Cal got hot.

From the beginning, there was a constant back-and-forth between the two teams. The intensity of the first half was evident by the eight tie scores and seven lead changes.

The Women of Troy dominated the boards with 14 offensive and 13 defensive rebounds, compared to the Lady Bears who only had three offensive and 14 defensive rebounds. For USC, freshman forward Kristen Simon brought down eight rebounds in the first half and 11 overall, yet both teams struggled with eight turnovers a piece.

Senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama lead the Women of Troy in the first half with seven points (team-high 17 on the night). Her presence on the court helped keep the team focused on the game in the first while redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Adams, 12 points on the night, helped Vaioletama keep the intensity high on the court.

From the intensity and the fire between the two teams in the first, one would expect that to carry into the second, but instead, USC fell completely out of sync.

The downfall for the Women of Troy came in the second half, but it wasn’t apparent from the start. Freshman guard McKenzie Calvert knocked in USC’s first 3-pointer of the game to take the lead 29-27. However, after that 3-pointer, the Women of Troy just couldn’t make their shots. 

SEE MORE: USC Bullied By UCLA In Second Half, Fall 83-68

Calvert—a freshman standout—“can turn it on anytime” according to head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, but she just couldn’t get going against Cal. Cooper-Dyke also shared that she chose to start Calvert “because of her play,” but her starting “might be hurting her now.”

“We have to remind ourselves that she’s a freshman,” Cooper-Dyke said. “She’s going to be inconsistent.”

With merely a 30% shooting from the field, it’s almost impossible to win a game—especially when the other team’s percentage is 62.1%. 

Cooper-Dyke commented about how her team lost their confidence in the second half. She made a point that her team’s lack of confidence caused the second half to be “an uphill battle.”

“You cannot lose your intensity,” Cooper-Dyke said. “I thought we did that.”

About four minutes in, Cal took their first lead of the game and their offense was unstoppable from that point on. Not only was their offense clicking, but the Women of Troy’s intensity drop-off from the first half—in addition to three devastatingly long droughts—allowed Cal’s offense to keep increasing their lead.

Back-to-back three-minute droughts hurt the Women of Troy, and compounded with a six-minute drought and Cal’s overpowering offense, the game got away from them. Cal's zone defense prevented the Women of Troy from taking the shots that were successful in the first half, and the game turned into a reminiscent memory of the USC men's basketball team's loss to UCLA at home this season.

SEE MORE: Trojans Chop Down Cardinal, Remain Undefeated

In the face of the loss, Cooper-Dyke pointed out that her team must make sure they finish games.

“We didn’t finish tonight,” Cooper-Dyke said. “So we fell short.”

Other weak points that the Women of Troy fell short on were their 17 turnovers, 52.4% free throw percentage, and 22.2% 3-point percentage. Of all of those, it was the number of turnovers, that “concerned” Cooper-Dyke the most. 

Cooper-Dyke did note that there were some positives to be taken away from the game. She was pleased with the solid defense in the first half and her team’s dominance under the basket rebounding the ball. 

For Cooper-Dyke, she commented that the team’s lack of focus, compounded with Cal’s offensive power, caused the game to get away from the team.

“You’ve got to bring your A-game against teams like Cal,” Cooper-Dyke said. “And we didn’t do that in the second half.”

Looking forward, Cooper-Dyke wants her girls to focus on their strengths like “playing defense and running [the ball].”

“We must allow our offense to feed off of our defense,” Cooper-Dyke said. “Instead of the other way around.”

The Women of Troy will face No. 11 Stanford (14-5, 6-1 Pac-12) Sunday night at the Galen Center at 5pm. 

Contact Staff Reporter Jodee Sullivan here and on Twitter here.



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