The Virginia women’s basketball team kicked off its West Coast road trip with a 59-49 loss to Southern California on Saturday at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Prior to the game, USC retired Tina Thompson’s No. 14 jersey. The second-year Virginia coach had an All-American career with the Trojans from 1993-1997. She is USC’s No. 5 all-time scorer and rebounder and was an all-conference first-teamer for three seasons with the Trojans.
Once the action started, both teams suffered through stretches of cold shooting.
USC (2-0) took a 22-17 lead late in the first half, but a steal and a fast-break layup from Lisa Jablonowski in the final seconds of the period narrowed the gap to 22-19 at the break.
The Trojans built a 33-23 lead with 7:04 remaining in the third quarter, but back-to-back layups from Jablonowski narrowed the gap again. The Cavaliers (1-1) got to within four on a jumper from senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, and were down five with 8:18 remaining in the game, but USC went on an 8-2 run to build its advantage back up to double-digits and were not threatened again.
Virginia struggled shooting the ball the entire game. The Cavaliers shot 26 percent from the field (19-of-73), 6.7 percent from 3-point range (1-of-15) and 58.8 percent from the free throw line (10-of-17).
“Our timing was off. We could not get settled in,” Thompson said. “We were taking shots we would normally not take. We were rushing them a little bit. We just weren’t in our normal rhythm. We didn’t do a good job of capitalizing on our stops. Our effort was there, but we just had a tough time putting the ball in the basket.”
Jablonowski led the Cavaliers in scoring with 13 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. After scoring 31 points in the season opener against Bucknell, Willoughby was limited to 10 points. Freshman Carole Miller, who made her first career start, also had nine rebounds and contributed nine points.
The Cavaliers close out their West Coast road trip with a game at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern.