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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona WBB leaves California winless after falling to No. 10 USC

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Noor Haghighi
Women’s basketball assistant coach Salvo Coppa gives directions to Skylar Jones (left), Esmery Martinez and Breya Cunningham in McKale Center on Jan. 26 against Cal. Jones scored 6 points in the third quarter in her first career start in the matchup.

The Arizona women’s basketball team faced No. 10 USC on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in Galen Center, located in Los Angeles, California. The Wildcats were coming off a loss against No. 9 UCLA and were looking to return to Tucson with at least a single victory. However, after a hard-fought battle against No. 10 USC, the Trojans, feeding off their home court advantage, held off the Wildcats to win the game, 81-64.

Arizona (12-12, 4-8 in Pac-12) has now lost seven straight road games, and after this loss, they are also (1-7) against ranked opponents this season.

First Half

The starting lineup included Jada Williams, Breya Cunningham, Esmery Martinez, Helena Pueyo and Skylar Jones. USC started the game with the first possession and the first points on the board. The Wildcats faced a challenge battling against Juju Watkins, who just claimed her 12th Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award. Pueyo took on this challenge, keeping a close eye on Watkins in this matchup. Arizona’s defense kept USC at a low scoring pace in the first quarter.

Kailyn Gilbert came off the bench ready to battle. The Wildcats’ offensive rebounds helped them stay in the lead going into the second quarter. USC was 7-15 in this half, with 3-pointers helping them keep it a tight game. With four ties and four lead changes, USC was up going into halftime 37-33. Jones had seven points and four defensive rebounds already going into halftime, while Watkins had 14 points.

Second Half

USC started this half with two blocks, showing dominance on their home court. Unfortunately, Williams got hurt at the start of the third, but she eventually rejoined the game. USC would go on a 9-0 run, but Martinez quickly ended that. Multiple fouls were drawn on Arizona, putting four players in foul trouble.

Great full-court pressure by the Wildcats helped change up this game. USC’s Kaitlyn Davis also struggled with foul trouble, accumulating four in the third quarter. Martinez received her fifth foul and was taken to the locker room after a hard hit. Arizona was already missing seven players, making it challenging for the Wildcats to continue to matchup with the Trojans.

The Wildcats had a poor shooting performance, hitting only 6-18 in the last quarter. Jones and Martinez were the leading scorers of the game, both scoring 13 points. USC put forth another dominant performance, with Watkins reaching her ninth 30+ point game this season. USC’s Kayla Padilla also had an impressive game going 5-8 from the 3-point line. Unfortunately, for the Wildcats they were unable to keep pace with the Trojans, ultimately falling 81-64.

Looking ahead:

The Wildcats’ next game will be against Washington State University on Friday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. in McKale Center.


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