In a game’s biggest moment, teams need their stars to make big plays.
USC sophomore guard Endyia Rogers did exactly that in Friday night’s overtime matchup against Washington State. Rogers, who averages 16.7 points a game, scored only seven points in the two halves of regulation. But in overtime she took control, scoring nine points and leading the Trojans to an 81-77 upset victory over the 25th-ranked Cougars.
“I just [did] what my teammates needed me to do. Got stops and [pushed] in transition,” Rogers said.
While both teams were trading buckets in overtime, much of the game was dominated by runs.
An intentional foul by sophomore center Angel Jackson in the third quarter led to a five-point Cougar run that extended their lead to eight and put the Trojans on the ropes. But USC answered with a 16-3 run that spanned the final five minutes of the quarter, giving the Trojans a five-point lead heading into the fourth.
“We were just focusing on ourselves and playing for each other,” freshman forward Jordyn Jenkins said of the momentum change entering the third quarter. “We were all on the same page and everything was working really well.”
The Trojans picked up right where they left off in the fourth, going on a 9-2 run that extended their lead to 12.
In total, the Trojans went on a 25-5 run that lasted over eight minutes.
But Washington State didn’t throw in the towel. After trailing 62-50 with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Cougars went on a 14-2 run that forced overtime. During that stretch, Washington State held USC without a field goal and grabbed eight offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points.
After the game, USC head coach Mark Trakh emphasized how big of a concern rebounding was down the stretch.
“We made things hard for ourselves. Shot selection and not securing those rebounds got them back into this game,” he said.
Graduate transfer forward Jordan Sanders led the Trojans in scoring with a season-high 24 points. Jenkins contributed 12 points and nine rebounds in just her third game back from injury.
“Jenkins is giving you a glimpse of what she can do,” Trakh said postgame.
Washington State freshman guard Charlisse Leger-Walker led all scorers with 29 points. Her sister, senior guard Krystal Leger-Walker, added 23 points. They both also contributed six rebounds and four assists.
Trakh had high praise for the Cougar freshman.
“She’s amazing,” he said. “As a freshman she’s one of the top guards in this conference, if not the country.”
This win is USC’s fifth in six games as news continues to get better for the Trojans. Last season’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, sophomore forward Alissa Pili, saw her first action Friday after dealing with an ankle injury. She made an instant impact with seven points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.
The return of Pili and Jenkins has made a difference in the eyes of Rogers.
“We’re starting to get into the flow of our offense and I think we’re executing really well and rebounding really well because we’ve got people back,” she said.
With Washington forced to shut down its program due to COVID-19 issues, the Trojans will get set to host a non-conference game against U.C. Riverside on Sunday as they look to improve their win streak to four.