Anytime Southern California beats UCLA it is special. The fact that the Trojans upset the nation's only remaining unbeaten team in Division I women's basketball on Friday night made it that much sweeter.
Aliyah Jeune and Alissa Pili both posted double-doubles and came up big in double overtime as the Trojans rallied for a 70-68 victory over the seventh-ranked Bruins and snap a five-game losing streak.
“It has taken some time to put things together but we were able to push through two overtimes which was more exciting than I think any of us were prepared for,” USC associate head coach Aarika Hughes said.
The Bruins (16-1, 5-1 Pac-12) had a 64-59 lead with 3:17 remaining in the second OT before the Trojans (9-8, 1-5) rallied, going on a 10-2 run to close the game.
Juene — who had 27 points and 13 rebounds — gave the Trojans a 67-66 lead with 1:10 remaining with a steal and layup. Japreece Dean put UCLA back on top with a layup but Pili's three-point play with 27 seconds remaining put USC in the lead for good. UCLA had a chance to tie, but Chantal Horvat missed a layup with 2 seconds left.
“Getting this big win meant a lot to us because we have been stressing in practice fixing things,” said Pili, who had 19 points and 17 rebounds.
Dean scored 24 points and Charisma Osborne had 20 for UCLA, who were missing star forward Michaela Onyenwere. The Bruins shot 29.9% from the field (26 of 87) and were 8 of 32 from beyond the arc.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
UCLA coach Cori Close said the difference ended up being the Trojans getting it to their key players when it mattered most.
“They came out with great energy and did a good job competing," she said. "I'm really proud of the fight we showed coming back but it stings.”
The Bruins trailed 36-19 less than two minutes into the third quarter before storming back. Osborne keyed the surge with 11 points in the third quarter as UCLA went on a 16-2 run to get within three five minutes later.
USC held a 43-41 advantage at the end of the third quarter, but Osborne gave UCLA its first lead since late in the first with a 3-pointer 28 seconds into the fourth. The Bruins would go up 53-48 with 3:38 remaining before the Trojans scored five straight to tie. Kayla Overbeck's free throws with 50.9 seconds remaining knotted it at 53 and sent it into overtime.
Bruins guard Natalie Chou forced double overtime with a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer.
UCLA scored the game's first six points, only to see USC lead 16-15 at the end of the first quarter. Dean made a pair of free throws to get the Bruins within 18-17 with 9:01 remaining in the second quarter. It would be their final points of the half, though, as the Trojans scored the final 12 points to take a 30-17 lead at halftime. Pili scored four points during the run while Desiree Caldwell and Jeune made back-to-back 3-pointers.
UNBEATEN NO MORE
The Bruins knew they had a target on their back being the last unbeaten, but Osborne said it wasn't bigger compared to what they usually face.
“We knew it was there but it wasn't too much pressure. We have to go out every night and fight,” she said.
Onyenwere, who is third in the Pac-12 in scoring with 18.9 points per game, sprained her ankle during practice earlier in the week and was in sweats on the Bruins bench. Horvat took the junior's place in the starting lineup and had nine points with 12 rebounds.
UCLA: The Bruins began the game seven of 36 from the field and went 14:36 between field goals. But they made nine of 12 during one stretch of the third quarter to rally back.
USC: It is the first time since 2007 that the Trojans have won a game in double overtime. They had lost two since.
UCLA: hosts Washington on Jan. 24.
USC: hosts Washington State on Jan. 24.