LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The USC women's basketball team was down by six in double overtime and fought back to upset No. 7 UCLA 70-68 tonight at Galen Center, handing the Bruins their first loss of the season to take out the only remaining undefeated team in the nation.
liyah Jeune was the driving force for the Trojans in this one, hitting six 3-pointers and finishing with 27 points to go along with 13 rebounds. But it was freshman Alissa Pili who calmly converted a three-point play with 28 seconds left that lifted USC to the winning margin. USC goes to 9-8 overall and 1-5 in Pac-12 play. UCLA is now 16-1, 5-1.
USC trailed by six out of the gates but eked out a slim lead, fighting through seven lead changes in the first 10 minutes. During that time, though, UCLA went cold, landing a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:10 on the clock and then stalling out. Only free throws fell for the Bruins for the rest of the half — two in the first quarter and only two in the second while the Trojans crafted a 30-17 halftime lead with a 12-0 rally to top it off.
USC would wrap the first half shooting 39.4 percent from the floor to UCLA's 18.2 percent. USC also had the edge on the boards 25-21 by the break. Madness ensued as the rivals went toe-to-toe through double overtime for the first time in the programs' history. At the close of regulation, UCLA had warmed up to 26.8 percent from the floor while USC was at 37.5. By the final buzzer of the second overtime, a victorious USC had shot 39.1 percent overall to UCLA's 29.9 percent. Both teams hit eight 3-pointers — and made eight free throws — in the game, while USC won out on the boards 57-47.
The Trojans saw Aliyah Jeune match her USC best of 27 points while notching her first double-double as a Trojan with her career-high 13 rebounds. Alissa Pili secured her sixth double-double with her 19 points and 17 rebounds, and Desiree Caldwell joined her teammates in double figures with 10 points on the night. Kayla Overbeck hauled in 10 rebounds for the Trojan cause.
In all, USC and UCLA fought through 15 lead changes before the Trojans edged ahead. UCLA scored just two points in the second quarter but countered with 24 points in the third as the Bruins carved down a once-17-point USC lead.
UCLA received 24 points and 10 rebounds from Japreece Dean and 20 points from Charisma Osborne, while Chantel Horvat pulled in 12 rebounds for the Bruins.
The lead switched hands seven times in the first 10 minutes, with Aliyah Jeune coming up with go-ahead buckets on three occasions in that first frame. After UCLA opened up a 6-0 lead, USC responded with a 7-0 surge. UCLA got out to a 15-11 advantage entering the last two minutes of the first, but USC countered with a take to the hoop from Kyra White and a go-ahead 3-pointers from Jeune to lead things 16-15 at the end of the first quarter. UCLA would land only a pair of free throws early in the second before USC rattled off a 12-0 run to build a 30-17 lead with 2:30 left in the half. Along the way, UCLA missed four free throws and was unable to score a bucket from the floor the entire way while USC gripped that 13-point advantage through to the end of the half.
The Bruins woke up in the third, following up Alissa Pili's push into a double-double and another big bucket from Jeune with a 9-0 UCLA rally that turned a 36-19 USC lead into a 36-30 margin with 4:40 on the clock. Pili snapped the surge with her 12th points of the night, but UCLA wouldn't go away. The Bruins got the deficit down to two in heating up from 3-point range, and it would sit as a 43-41 lead entering the fourth. UCLA took the lead for the first time since the first quarter with a 3-pointer out of the gates of the final frame. From there it was up to USC to play catchup. They did. Jeune buried her fourth 3-pointer with 2:05 to go to tug the Trojans within two.
With 51 seconds left, Kayla Overbeck got to the line and knocked down both to level it at 51-51. She'd come up big with a huge defensive rebound and called timeout to get USC the ball with 20 seconds on the clock. Southern Cal would get whistled for an offensive foul on its attempt at the winner, and then UCLA missed its ensuing chance to bring up overtime.
USC saw two good-looking 3-point tries rattle in and out early as UCLA edged ahead. Rogers slipped in a runner for a 54-53 USC lead with 1:13 on the clock, only to see UCLA land a three with 47 seconds left for a 56-54 advantage. An almost-busted USC possession was kept alive by hustle plays from Pili, Overbeck and Rogers, who found Jeune for another 3-pointer that lifted USC ahead 57-56 with 20 ticks to go. Caldwell hauled in a UCLA rebound and went to the line with 6.5 seconds left, and the sophomore captain coolly drained both to get USC a 59-56 lead. But UCLA checked in a sharpshooter for the final ticks, and she landed a buzzer-beater to force another overtime.
UCLA would climb out to a 66-60 lead with 2:35 to go before Jeune delivers her sixth 3-pointer to breathe life back for the Trojans. Pili pounced next, and then Jeune picked off a pass and finished to make it a 7-0 USC surge into the lead with 1:10 on the clock. Again UCLA got the go-ahead bucket and was up by one in the final minute before Pili struck again. Fouled, she knocked down the and-one, and USC was up 70-68 with 28 seconds left. The Trojans would gut out the final stretch, hauling in one last defensive board to preserve an enormous win for USC over No. 7 rival UCLA.