USC defense remains dominant as Pac-12 regular season ends
The USC women’s basketball team has picked up defensive momentum this season and has never quit except for occasional dips that could easily be attributed to fatigue or an elite opponent.
USC’s 68-65 double win over Washington State on Saturday was a game in which the Trojans only scored 53 points in regulation time. It was the 11th time in the Trojans’ last 14 games that they held a Pac-12 opponent to 54 points or less in regulation time.
It started on Friday the 13th – January 13th against Cal. After that 63-43 win, USC continued to put great defensive moves on each other. The only three exceptions are Utah on January 27th, Arizona on February 5th, and Cal on February 19th.
Utah could take first place in the NCAA Tournament. The Utahs, along with Stanford, became Pac-12 champions.
Arizona would be the No. 5 or 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and even then, USC only allowed the Wildcats to score 58 points, which is still a solid defense record.
Cal’s game was the one that got awaybut even then there is an explanation: Trojans emptied the tank two days earlier against Stanford and little left for the Golden Bears.
USC’s defense was as close to perfection as any team or coaching staff could imagine.
How good was USC’s Saturday defense against Washington State? Cougars made 25 shots in 50 minutes of basketball. It’s good to start. It’s even better: USC forced the state of Washington to change 23 employees.
This season, USC has played a number of games in which the number of goals scored by the opposition was equal to the number of passes completed.
Also, USC continues to defend without fouls. Washington State earned just 11 free throws in 50 minutes of play on Saturday. Because this defense simply makes very few mistakes, USC can shoot poorly and still win.
Here’s the evidence to support that last claim: USC has thrown less than 30 percent in each of those last two games at the Galena Center against Washington and Washington State. The Trojans went 2-0.
Lindsey Gottlieb and Beth Burns created one of the best defensive systems in the country. As we wrote earlier this week, if USC can just throw 40 percent, this team could make a big move in March.
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