|Atkins Shines In Loss To Trojans|
RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico –Junior guard Kelva Atkins poured in a game-high 25 points, but Southern California used a potent offensive attack to defeat UNCW, 85-59, in the Cancun Challenge Friday at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
The Trojans improved 4-3 overall as they halted a three-game losing skid with the victory while the Seahawks moved to 1-6. Both teams return to action Saturday as they play their final games in the Cancun Challenge. UNCW takes on Iowa at 7:30 p.m. (CT) while USC faces Boston College at 5 p.m. (CT).
Atkins, who was 9-of-16 from the floor for the contest, tallied 19 of her 25 points in the second half to lead a UNCW attack that shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field for the game, highlighted by a 16-of-27 (.593) performance in the second half. Freshman Brie Mobley joined Atkins in double figures with 13 points while fellow rookie Naqaiyyah Teague chipped in seven.
Junior Ariya Crook scored 18 points to power a potent USC attack that connected on 55.4 percent (31-of-56) of its field goal attempts for the contest, including a 19-of-32 effort (.594) in the first half. Sophomore Brianna Barrett tallied 12 points and senior Cassie Harberts pitched in 11 to join Crook in double figures while Barrett paced all players with six assists. Junior Alexyz Vaioletama pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to lead the Trojans to a 37-23 edge on the boards.
In the first meeting between the two programs, USC held a slim 8-7 advantage when a layup by Alofaituli sparked a 20-6 run that lasted more than seven minutes and gave the Trojans a 28-13 cushion with 11:03 remaining.
A free throw and layup on back-to-back possessions by freshman Ryan Flowers would stall USC’s momentum temporarily, but the Trojans regained control moments later, tallying 17 straight points to make up a majority of a 19-2 stretch that lasted just under 10 minutes and gave USC a 50-18 margin just 16 seconds into the second half.
The Trojans used a quick 6-0 spurt midway through the frame to take its largest lead of the game, 65-31, before the Seahawks responded with a 9-2 run to make a 67-40 contest.
USC reestablished its 34-point edge moments later, scoring seven unanswered points to highlight an 11-4 sequence that moved the score to 78-44 with 6:20 on the clock. The Seahawks scored 15 of the last 22 points of the game to determine the final 26-point margin.
2 – Brie Mobley
3 – Kelva Atkins