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.

Game Notes

  • The Seahawks faced former Head Coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who is in her first season as coach of her Alma Mater. Cooper-Dyke spent two seasons at UNCW (2010-12), leading the program to a 44-22 overall record and back-to-back Postseason WNIT appearances.
  • UNCW played just its second game against a PAC 12 opponent in school history and the first since falling to Washington State, 72-60, at the Lady Lion Classic on Nov. 13, 2011 in State College, Pa.
  • The Seahawks shot above 40 percent from the floor for the third time this season and the first time in three games.
  • UNCW recorded double-digit assists for the second time this season and as it dished out 10 assists.
  • USC accounted for 47 of the 51 bench points scored in the contest.  Thirty-four of the 51 bench points tallied in the contest game in the second half.
  • The Trojans forced the Seahawks into 16 turnovers and enjoyed a 29-8 margin in points scored off turnovers, highlighted by a 13-0 edge in the first half.
  • Both teams shot below 70 percent at the free-throw line as UNCW was 8-of-13 (.615) at the line while USC was 16-of-23 (.696).
  • The Seahawks finished with a season-low five steals in the contest, eclipsing the previous season low of seven set against Tulane.

Player Notes

2 – Brie Mobley

  • Reached double figures in points for the fifth time this season.

3 – Kelva Atkins

  • Reached double figures in points for the seventh time this season and the 13th straight contest dating back to the end of last season.
  • Scored 20 or more points in a game for the second time this season and the fifth time in her career.
  • Led team in scoring for the seventh time this season and the 12th time in her career.