USC women’s basketball starting to gain their footing

LOS ANGELES, CA – The month of December was not kind to the USC women’s basketball team. Like everyone else, the Trojans are looking forward to putting 2020 in their rearview mirror altogether. Four of the five games that the Trojans have lost this season came in December. They’re doing a bit better in January.

After earning wins earlier this month against Utah and Colorado, USC has weekend dates against Washington State and UC Riverside before hitting the road for away games against Cal and Stanford. Since their four-game losing streak, the Trojans have won five of their last six games. A win that may have galvanized the Trojans to play better was the Trojans’ victory against Long Beach State back in December.

USC guard Endyia Rogers looks to make an assist against Long Beach State. Photo by Dennis J Freeman/News4usonline

It took some time, but USC finally got untracked in the win column for the second time in December. The Trojans achieved this milestone by posting a methodical 71-65 victory against Long Beach State at Galen Center. It’s been a while since the Trojans tasted victory by this kind of margin.

In fact, it hasn’t happened this season for the Trojans. The other two victories recorded this season by USC have been blowout wins against LMU and Cal. When the Trojans have been involved in really close games, they have come out on the losing side of the coin (Arizona, Arizona State).

Prior to beating the Beach, the Trojans’ other two wins came against LMU in the team’s season-opener back on Nov. 25 and against Cal. Before beating the Golden Bears, the Trojans had experienced a December winter freeze for victories. The win against Long Beach State gives the Trojans some winning momentum to carry with them until the start of the new year with games tentatively schedule against the two Oregon schools (Ducks and Oregon State).

Outside of downing Long Beach State and beating Cal, December has not been too kind to the USC women’s basketball team. The Trojans got the worst end of the draw of a schedule by playing two Top 10 schools (Arizona, Stanford) and another squad (UCLA) on the verge of cracking that insulated bubble.

First came a one-point defeat (78-77) to the No. 7 Wildcats, followed by double-digit losses to the No. 11 Bruins (73-52) and top-ranked Cardinal (80-60). The Trojans’ win against Cal snapped their four-game losing streak. Now after defeating Long Beach State, the Trojans have another streak on hand.

Since losing four games in December, the USC Trojans have won five of their last six games, including a win against Long Beach State. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

USC managed to pull off their second straight win by merely shooting the ball better than the Beach. As a team, the Trojans made half of their field goal attempts, while holding Long Beach State to just 39 percent. The real separation in this contest was coming down to who scored the most points.

Through the first two quarters, USC and Long Beach State played even, going into the locker room at the half all knotted up at 30-30. The third quarter is where USC won the ballgame. The Trojans pulled away from their pesky opponents by outscoring the Beach, 20-10, in the third quarter, In an evenly matched game, all it takes is a run to make a difference.

The Trojans used the third period to make their run. At the 8:34 mark of the third quarter, Long Beach State pulled out to a 33-30 lead. At 3:02 in the period, USC had not only wrestled the lead back from Long Beach State but the Trojans also established control of the game. That 15-2 run was all the cushion the Trojans would need to secure their third victory (3-4) of the season.

USC needed that scoring spark in the third quarter because the Beach outscored them in the final period to make the game close. Spearheading the Trojans win was Jordan Sanders, who scored 23 points. Endyia Rogers added 18 points and Desiree Caldwell chipped in 10 points. Long Beach State was led by Naomi Hunt’s 19 points. Justina King dropped in 13 points for the Beach.

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