College Sports

USC women defeat Sac State 111-95 at The Nest

Aliyah Mazyck scored a game-high 24 points, Kristen Simon added 23 points and 9 rebounds and Minyon Moore had 13 points and 15 assists as USC defeated Sacramento State 111-95 in a wild and entertaining women’s basketball game Saturday night in front of a near-capacity crowd of 954 at The Nest.

It was the nightcap of a doubleheader with the Sac State men’s team. The Hornets defeated UC Merced 81-54.

USC shot 24 of 28 from the foul line in moving to 7-1 on the season and earning a likely spot in the Associated Press top 25 come Monday. USC, coached by Basketball Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, won 66-62 at No. 25 Texas A&M on Wednesday.

Emily Easom led Sac State with 21 points; Maranne Johnson added 15 points and three steals and Ashlyn Crenshaw had 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line. Margaret Huntington had a game-high 10 rebounds as the Hornets (3-5) saw their two-game winning streak come to an end.

Sac State led 15-11 with 5:44 to play and were within two, 30-28, with 20 seconds to go in the first quarter. But the Trojans used their superior length and strength to go up 60-49 at the half and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

“Obviously USC is a very good team, and they capitalized on every mistake we made it seemed like,” Sac State coach Bunky Harkleroad said. “They did a great job getting to the free throw line and they made us pay dearly there.

“When you’re playing a game at that level, it comes at you so fast, and that’s a great test for us. I think we showed a lot of great things that we can move forward on.”

Sac State had its best shooting game of the season at 46.2 percent (36 of 78) from the field. They also hung with the taller Trojans on the boards, where USC had a 39-36 advantage.

The Nest was nearly full by the time the Sac State men (2-6) defeated UC Merced (1-8) to remain unbeaten (2-0) at home this season.

Justin Strings led four players in double figures with 25 points, Sac State out-rebounded the Bobcats 51 to 17 and the Hornets shot a season-best 61.1 percent from the field.

“The crowd was great, and I’d like to thank everybody for coming out,” Harkleroad said. “It was great to play the nightcap after a men’s game, and we appreciate those guys a lot too for helping us make it happen. It was just a great environment.”

The Hornets will play at Cal 7 p.m. on Thursday in their second consecutive game against a Pac-12 school.

Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP