The USC upset of mighty Stanford — the Pac-12 leader and a national championship contender — is the biggest win of the Trojans’ season. That victory put this team and program back on the national map. It created a surge in confidence which flowed throughout this women’s basketball roster. Yet, what USC achieved on Sunday afternoon against Colorado was nearly as impressive.
Sure, Colorado isn’t nearly as good as Stanford. In fact, the Buffaloes lost decisviely to the Cardinal one week ago. However, Colorado is really tough to beat in Boulder. Coach J.R. Payne has developed a good program which has defended the CU Events Center extremely well this season and in recent years. Colorado did beat Stanford in Boulder in the past few seasons. This season, the Buffs had not lost a home game heading into Sunday’s meeting with USC.
The Trojans not only gave No. 25 Colorado its first home loss of this college basketball campaign; they did so in a blowout. It’s right there with the Stanford upset as a complete team performance.
This time, the offense helped out the defense.
Kadi Sissoko dominated Colorado in Boulder. The forward had considered transferring to CU in the offseason. Lindsay Gottlieb convinced her to stay at USC.
Sissoko posted 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists as USC roared to a 71-54 win over the Buffs. Destiny Littleton scored 21 points and Rayah Marshall added 19 for the Trojans, whose defense allowed just three made 3-pointers all game long. Colorado finished 3 of 15 on triples. USC remains great at defending without fouling. The Trojans allowed only 13 free throws to CU. When an opponent isn’t getting 3-pointers or foul shots, it won’t score much. USC allowed 54 points or fewer for the fifth time in six games.
What does this win mean?
Almost as much as the Stanford win. It’s obviously a high-end win, but more than that, it’s a high-end road win, which the selection committee needed to see. (The Stanford win was at home.)
USC might not be a lock for the 2023 NCAA Tournament, but now the Trojans aren’t really a bubble team, either. USC is probably a No. 8 seed, which is not even close to the cut line. After a win this big, USC would have to work hard to miss the Big Dance.
If the Trojans do get to the field of 68, they would make the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 2014 and the second since 2006. The past 17 years have been very barren for USC women’s basketball.
All of that is rapidly changing in Year 2 of Lindsay Gottlieb’s tenure.
Much more on this result on Monday at Trojans Wire.
USC fan brings up a fascinating point about Trojan revenue sports in a simple tweet