LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The USC women's basketball team successfully defended home turf against another ranked opponent with a 72-66 takedown of No. 11 Oregon State tonight at Galen Center. Down by six points in the first half, the Trojans constructed a 9-0 rally in the third quarter that turned the tide for good. The Beavers closed to within two late in the fourth, but USC kept its cool and closed out another big win, thanks in large part to a double-double from freshman Alissa Pili, who produced 26 points and 13 rebounds to anchor the Trojans. USC improves to 13-11 overall and to 5-8 in Pac-12 play with the upset, while No. 11 Oregon State goes to 19-6, 7-6.
Oregon State and USC traded the lead four times in the first half, but it was the Beavers just a step ahead at 35-32 by halftime thanks to a late 3-pointer. OSU had shot 57.1 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes to edge out USC's 43.3 percent although the Trojans benefited from four 3-pointers in that stretch to stay in stride. The Beavers were getting to the line, though, going 9-of-11 from the stripe in the first half compared to 2-of-4 by USC. Oregon State's output cooled in the next stretch, with the Beavers finishing up at 42.9 percent overall. The Trojans, meanwhile, picked things up and wrapped at 44.8 percent overall. The rebounding battle was won by the Beavers, 39-26, but they couldn't solve the power of Pili, who hauled in half of USC's rebounds en route to her double-double outing.
Pili finished with a game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds, with Aliyah Jeune also getting to double digits with 12 points for the Trojans. Oregon State had four players hit double digits, led by Mikayla Pivec's 16. Taylor Jones and Destiny Slouch added 12 each, and Kat Tutor had 11.
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The first frame was a battle, with the lead changing hands a couple times and four ties. USC locked it up at 11-11 on a 3-pointer from Endyia Rogers, and soon after it was fellow freshman Angel Jackson netting the first lead of the game for USC at 13-11 with 2:45 on the clock. A jumper from Alissa Pili got USC up entering the final minute, but Oregon State knocked down a shot and later earned a trip to the line with barely a second left to close out a 17-15 lead at the end of the first. The see-saw battle continued in the second as USC had Aliyah Jeune knock down back-to-back threes to pull into the lead at 23-21, but the Beavers responded with a 7-0 rally to lead it 28-23 at 4:31. USC would reel the Beavers right back in, with Pili and Alyssa Miura knocking down shots next. Miura's 3-pointer with 40 seconds left had locked things up 32-32, but OSU landed one of its own on its next possession to lead it 35-32 at halftime.
USC refused to give up ground to the Beavers in the third. OSU worked out to a four-point lead at 6:35, up 42-38, but USC got a 3-pointer from Jeune and back-to-back buckets from Jackson to earn its largest lead. The 7-0 surge got USC ahead 45-42 at 4:05, and then Pili added to the rally with yet another finish in the paint to make it 47-42 Trojans at 3:00. A 3-pointer would fall for OSU to break up the 9-0 run, but Pili had two more buckets laying in wait as the Trojans would grip a 51-45 lead entering the fourth. USC ballooned its lead to 11 with a 6-0 run capped by a key bucket from Miura, only to see the Beavers counter with a 9-0 run that made it a two-point game at 63-61 with 2:35 to go. USC was unfazed. Kayla Overbeck took matters into her own hands and hustled her way to the hoop for a spark and a 65-61 lead at 2:05, and USC would hold its ground the rest of the way. Pili and Caldwell combined for 5-of-6 free throws to go up 70-61 with 43 seconds remaining, and USC got the stops it needed to fend off the Beavers to close out a final 72-66 victory.
NEXT: USC now turns to take on top-10 foe Oregon in a 1 p.m. showdown on Sunday (Feb. 16) at Galen Center.