Photo by Cal Athletics

Bears Fall to USC, 75-67

February 7, 2020

The California Golden Bears, looking to build on their first conference win from last weekend, faltered down the stretch and lost to USC, 75-67. 

“That was a frustrating game,” said Cal head coach Charmin Smith. “We did some things well, but unfortunately, we struggled to get stops and struggled to take care of the ball. USC did enough to pull away.”

The Bears were hampered by 20 turnovers, many of them unforced.

“What I’m seeing are a lot of unforced turnovers,” Smith agreed. “Dribbling into traffic when it’s not necessary, passing the ball out of bounds definitely is not necessary. USC was not as aggressive defensively as UW was, and yet we found a way to give it to them.”  

Jaelyn Brown had 22 points to lead Cal, and Sara Anastasieska had 16. 

But it was not enough, as USC had four players in double figures, led by local product Angel Jackson (Salesian HS), who scored 19 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Fellow frosh Alissa Pili contributed 17.

The Bears were without freshman guard Jazlen Green, who left the game with a leg after playing only three minutes. Green entered the game as Cal’s third-leading scorer in Pac-12 play. Powered by Jackson, USC’s bench outscored Cal’s 25-8.




Jaelyn Brown knocked down a three to open the scoring two minutes into the contest. Cj West found Sara Anastasieska on the backdoor, and the Bears led 5-0.

Alissa Pili got USC on the board, battling down low for a putback basket.

The two teams then found success driving to the hoop. Anastasieska hit a floater, followed by one from Alaysia Styles.

USC tried to speed up the game, but that only resulted in wild shots and turnovers. But Cal could not take advantage, suffering from some sloppy play of their own. Five points from Aliyah Jeune closed the gap to 11-9, with 2:30 left in the first.

Brown hit two more threes to keep Cal ahead, and Angel Jackson’s short jumper closed the quarter for USC, with the Bears up 17-13.

After starting the game one for six, USC hit five of their next eight shots.

Anastasieska opened the second period like she did the first, hitting her first two shots, including a three, pushing Cal ahead 22-15.

“It helps if we can get her to get some shots to go in early,” said Smith of Anastasieska. “Get that confidence going.”

USC fought back, with two more jumpers from Jackson, and by attacking the paint. Pili overpowered her defender, and her baskets closed the gap to 22-21.

Having established her outside shot, Brown now attacked on the bounce. She was fouled and sent to the line. On the play, Jeune was called for a technical for slamming the ball. Brown hit all four free throws.

Brown earned another two free-throws, giving the Bears breathing room, 28-21, halfway through the second period.

The Bears then were whistled for a rash of fouls themselves, and USC made their push, aided by four free-throws. When Alyson Miura hit a three, USC was back within 31-30.

A Brown three was wiped out by a Cal moving screen, but as has been the case all game, USC matched with a turnover of their own, and the Bears entered halftime with their slim lead.

Brown led all scorers with 15 at the half. Anastasieska had nine.

Those two Bears opened the scoring for Cal to start the third, but it would be Brown’s only basket of the quarter.

“I slowed myself down,” said Brown. “I think I got in my head a little bit in the third quarter. I just need to stay more focused moving forward.”

USC got hot, hitting five of six, with Jeune scoring five points and Jackson four in the 11-2 run as USC edged ahead 43-37 halfway through the third.

“It’s a lot easier for people to score when you’re giving them the ball,” said Smith. “When we turn it over, they get run-out layups, their posts in transition, that‘s really challenging.”

Cal had three turnovers during the USC run.

Cailyn Crocker, playing big minutes due to the injury to Jazlen Green, hit a three, and a tough score inside by West helped Cal keep pace.

But the Bears were having problems matching with USC’s posts. Jackson and Pili simply overpowered their defenders down low, with Pili’s three-point play given the Trojans their biggest lead of the game, 50-42, with 1:22 left in the third.

Anastasieska’s three and two free-throws at the end of the period kept Cal within two possessions, 52-47, entering the fourth.

Two free-throws and a three by Crocker closed it to 54-52.

The Bears had three chances to tie the game but missed all three shots. USC then methodically rebuilt the lead, again exploiting their size advantage at every position. Jackson shrugged off her defender, who fell helplessly to the ground, and her basket got USC back up, 58-52.

“We were a little bit undersized with [Jackson] when we had CJ on Pili, and Pili demands a big post to guard her,” said Smith. “We were kind of mismatched down there.”

Styles then used her quickness and outside shooting to score four points, and Cal was within 58-56, with five minutes to go.

Pili and Jackson again went to work, giving USC the 62-56 lead. Then after a frantic stretch of turnovers and missed shots from both side, Miura hit her second three of the game, and USC was up 65-56, with just under three minutes to play.

“USC did enough to pull away,” said Smith. “We have to get better defensively.”

USC then ran down the shot clock, and Jeune hit a contested three, the proverbial dagger, as USC led 65-58 with 1:45 to play.

West scored three more points for the Bears, Brown had a breakaway layup and a three, and McIntosh hit a second-chance three for her only points of the game, but Cal could never get closer than five, and USC hit their free-throws and finished out the victory. 

At the end of the day, Smith rues the missed opportunities that came from so many miscues. 

“We do a drill in practice--‘What Do You See’ drill,” said Smith. “That’s the name of the drill, because sometimes I’m confused as to what we see when we make the pass. So just really working on people recognizing where the defense is, passing away from the defender, and making the appropriate pass. It’s tough, because we reallly really really want to make a play, and sometimes we’re just forcing it because we want to try to do it so badly.”

“I personally had six turnovers,” said Cailyn Crocker. “Coach Charmin tells us every single day to take care of the ball, and it’s a huge theme that we have to identify, because that has been a reason why we’ve given away games.”



  • Green exited the game at the beginning of the second and never returned. “She injured her leg, not sure exactly what the extent of the injury was. So she’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow and we’ll see what her status is on Sunday.”
  • The Bears finish their home slate this season with three straight top 10 teams, starting this Sunday with #10 UCLA, who upset #6 Stanford tonight, 79-69.




Tags: WBB
Discussion from...

Bears Fall to USC, 75-67

1,352 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 5 mo ago by Ashfield63
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too many turnovers
crocker not ready for prime time
hope green is okay
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USC had some beef. And it showed. Pii, Overbeck and Jackson had their way. I saw Jackson a lot in high school and I never saw that offensive arsenal.

Pil was fascinating as we discussed that we had to have tall post players but she was only 6' tall. And a kittle on the stout side. But she moved well, had a big basketball IQ, and could shot fem the outside. She looked to be Native American. If so, then there aren't many playing Division I basketball.

Their beef showed a problem we have. Styles is a good offensive player but she is rail thin. Something i mentioned in the open practice in October. She was pushed around by the Trojan trio. So Schipholt was then brought in. She did much better defensively and on the boards but has an immature offensive game. We need to combine both of their skills. Styles needs to gain some weight and get stronger next year and Schippy needs to develop a mid range jumper.
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Alisa Pili ate us up when she played Miramonte. She's a little undersized for the Pac-12 but in the right situation she can do damage.

I think she's a Pacific Islander, even though she grew up in Alaska.

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Cal can't hang on to win games when they have played well in the first half. The 3rd quarter was a killer last night. Twenty turnovers during the game is a bust, and not unusual for this team. I have to say the team is undersized, not experienced, etc. USC has a terrific bench. However, I too am concerned about the coaching staff. My hope is Charmin can coach the incoming classes to be competitive in the upper half of the Pac-12 conference. I do have faith Charmin will live and learn. I give this team many kudos for playing with grit this season as they get banged around alot. I watched the end of the UCLA/Stanford game when I got home last night. UCLA is very good, and can only get better in years to come. Stanford missed many shots they usually make the last few minutes. They are dealing with injuries. Oregon State pulled out a victory after Arizona State turned the ball over with less then a second remaining in the game. They inbounded the ball to Pivic, who magically made the game winning shot! The Pac-12 has had so many exciting games this season. I continue to love this team, the players are special. GO BEARS!
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