The USC defense is dominant. We are obviously not talking about football.
The USC women’s basketball team has a defense that just won’t quit. The Trojans — coming off games in which they held Cal to 43 points (January 13) and Stanford to 46 (January 15) — managed to hold Washington State to 44 points on Friday night in Pullman. USC translated that defensive masterclass into a win which lifts the Trojans closer to the NCAA Tournament.
Against Stanford, USC won despite scoring only 55 points and shooting 27 percent from the field.
Against Washington State, USC shot 37 percent — still not great, but better than the Stanford showdown — and committed 19 turnovers. USC was 5 of 17 on 3-pointers.
Wait a minute: 37 percent shooting and 19 turnovers … and making only 5 of 17 3-pointers? That is an objectively bad offensive performance.
It didn’t matter, because USC’s defense is simply locked in.
The Trojans held Washington State to 35-percent shooting, 5 of 16 on 3-pointers, and just five free throw attempts, all while forcing 18 turnovers.
The free throw tally was crucial: Washington State made 3 of its 5 tries. USC went 10 of 15 at the line, which isn’t great, but still shows a seven-point advantage.
The final margin of victory for USC: seven points.
Lindsay Gottlieb and assistant coach Beth Burns have USC’s defense rolling. The Trojans have a defense so good that subpar offensive games don’t (currently) get in the way of the team’s success.
Burns, USC’s best defensive coordinator, continues to be a core part of this push toward March Madness.