The Oregon State Beavers are playing spoiler, there’s no question. The Pac-12 Women’s Tournament began on Wednesday, and the Beavers stunned the USC Trojans in the final game of Day 1. This comes just days after Oregon State upset Arizona to finish the regular season.
USC scored just 48 points on the night, and the field goal percentages weren’t pretty. The Trojans shot 29 percent from the field, 25 percent from 3-point land, and turned the ball over 15 times in a discouraging output from the offense, whose limitations finally exacted a significant cost.
USC beat Washington and Washington State last week despite shooting under 30 percent. This game was a sobering reminder that teams which shoot under 30 percent should expect to lose. The Trojans simply have to become a more efficient offensive team.
Entering the week, Lindsay Gottlieb’s team was a 10-seed in the latest bracketology, but they might be in danger of falling to the First Four after a terrible loss.
Kadi Sissoko did all she could for USC with a team-high 16 points, although she had five turnovers. The only other Trojan to score double figures was Destiny Littleton with 12 points, but Littleton once again shot poorly, going 3 of 15 from the field. Littleton has shot 40 percent or better in just one of her last 10 games. That has to change in the NCAA Tournament.
Littleton took 11 3-pointers and just four 2-pointers. Okako Adika’s nine shots were all 3-pointers. She made just two. That’s a lot of missed shots for a team which has to be able to take the ball to the basket and draw fouls.
The Trojans entered halftime up 22-21, and they even entered the fourth quarter with a 37-34 lead. However, the Trojans scored just 11 points in the final quarter while the Beavers scored 22, and that was the difference in the game. Oregon State made 15 free throws in the final quarter, as the Trojans received — and failed to adjust to — a suddenly tight whistle.
This is just Oregon State’s 13th win of the season, and the Beavers have now won two in a row after losing nine straight. Nonetheless, the Trojans will have a long few days as they wait to see where they are assigned for the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans are clearly in the field, but they might have put themselves in play for the First Four instead of getting direct entry into the Round of 64. That would be an annoyance, but no one should worry that the Trojans will miss the field entirely. They’re in. They’re a lock.
They do, however, have to stop shooting under 30 percent.