BOULDER, COLO. — The USC women’s basketball team wound up with a road split after being undone by host Colorado in a 81-76 defeat in Boulder. The teams fought through 13 lead changes and seven ties, but it was a 16-0 Buffalo run spanning the third and fourth frames that stole the game away from the Trojans. The loss puts USC at 14-9 overall and 4-8 in Pac-12 play, while Colorado gets its first Pac-12 win to improve to 11-12, 1-11.
After a sharp-shooting first quarter saw the Buffs lead it 29-28, both teams cooled off in the second, trading the lead six times before Colorado finished out the half with five straight points to take a 43-38 lead at the break. USC was shooting 43.3 percent by halftime to Colorado’s 45.0 percent, while the Buffs also led on the boards 22-17. In the next half, a tight third frame unraveled for the Trojans, who shot 23.5 percent in the fourth quarter to wind up just out of reach. The Trojans finished out the game shooting 43.3 percent from the floor overall, just ahead of Colorado’s 42.5 percent, while the Buffs’ more powerful 44-32 showing on the boards helped to stymie USC down the stretch.
USC received a game-high 22 points from Mariya Moore — her second straight 20-point outing — along with 19 points from Minyon Moore and 14 from Ja’Tavia Tapley. The Moore sisters also collected a team-high seven rebounds apiece, while combining for nine assists. Colorado was paced by 21 points from Mya Hollingshed and 16 from Alexis Robinson, who each landed three 3-pointers, while Lesila Finau added 14 points and Emma Clark had 10 for CU. The Buffs also got 11 rebounds from Peanut Tuitele.
USC led early on, but Colorado kept a tight grip on the Trojans, always seeming to land a key 3-pointer — 11 falling in all for the Buffs — just when USC found a spark. USC got up 56-52 on Ja’Tavia Tapley’s second 3-pointer of the day, coming at 2:20 in the third, but that was the best of it for the Trojans. After a 56-56 draw, Minyon Moore tugged USC back on top 58-56 with 1:25 on the clock in the third. But from there, Colorado took control. The Buffs scored the last six points of the third and then opened the fourth on a 10-0 run to put USC on its heels. The Trojans would battle back with a 12-1 rally in the fourth to get within three, down 73-70 with 3:18 to go. With 1:28 on the clock, Moore had it even at 74-74 with a successful trip to the line, but the bucket they really needed would evade the Trojans the rest of the way, while Colorado landed a back-breaking 3-pointer with 33 seconds left to all but seal it.
USC now returns home for more Pac-12 action, hosting California in an 8 p.m. matchup on Friday (Feb. 15) before taking on Stanford at 12 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 17) at Galen Center.