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Women of Troy stumble on the road

first_imgThe women’s basketball team completed a disappointing road trip on Saturday night, falling 84-74 to Arizona despite a double-double from junior guard Briana Gilbreath.Versatile · In addition to posting a double-double, Briana Gilbreath, pictured here against Arizona State, had five blocks and four assists. – Kelvin Kuo | Daily Trojan The defeat followed a 69-55 loss to Arizona State on Thursday, and dropped the Women of Troy (16-11, 8-8) into a tie for fourth place in the Pac-10 with Arizona (17-10, 8-8). Both teams sit a game behind Arizona State (17-9, 9-7) in the conference standings.Gilbreath was one of four USC players to score in double figures, posting a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds. But the Wildcats outrebounded USC 31-18 in the second half as they pulled away late.The game was a stark difference from the two teams’ matchup earlier in the season, when the Women of Troy took an early lead and claimed an 81-72 home victory.“[The difference] was pure effort,” Gilbreath said. “Nothing else was different, no different play calls, no different defensive schemes … they wanted the game more than we did at the end of the day.”The Wildcats took control of the game early, and held a 15-point deficit over USC with 4:44 remaining in the first half.Led by Gilbreath, the Women of Troy staged a bit of a comeback in the last few minutes. USC’s leading scorer joined sophomore teammate Christina Marinacci in double figures, scoring the last shot of the half to make the halftime score 40-34 in favor of Arizona.But the Wildcats came out of the locker room and dominated most of the second half, at one point leading 72-52.“In the second half we didn’t come out strong, and they blew it out,” Gilbreath said. “We didn’t show up to play today, and when we did finally show up, it was too late.”Once again, USC got its act together as the end of the half approached. The Women of Troy got their first back-to-back buckets of the second half when freshman Cassie Harberts scored and senior Jacki Gemelos followed suit after a defensive stop.After a 7-0 run by the Women of Troy, junior Ashley Corral drained her 200th career three-pointer, extending her USC record, to cut Arizona’s lead to 74-67 with 1:30 to go.But numerous fouls ended up hurting USC, as Corral and Gemelos fouled out as time ran out its comeback bid. The Wildcats wrapped up the game from the free-throw line, as they shot 29-of-38 from the charity stripe. Arizona’s leading scorer, Davellyn White, scored 15 of her 19 points from the free-throw line.The team’s disappointment about the loss could be heard in Gilbreath’s voice, as she lamented the team’s lost chance to put itself in strong position for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.“This was our shot to push our way into the NCAA tournament,” Gilbreath said. “I think we still have a chance, but these were two big teams that we let slip out of our hands, and it was all on us.”The Women of Troy return home for their final two regular season games, playing Washington State (8-20, 6-10) at 7 p.m. on Thursday and hosting Washington (11-14, 6-10) on Senior Day in a televised game on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.last_img read more

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Third-string quarterback Jack Sears impresses in Trojan debut

first_imgRedshirt freshman Jack Sears looks for receivers against Arizona State on Saturday at the Coliseum. (Ling Luo | Daily Trojan)The life of any backup quarterback is generally filled with uncertainty. The competitions during summer and fall camp practices, the struggles to develop chemistry with receivers and backs due to limited practice time, the time spent relaying calls and encouraging teammates from the sideline, waiting for an opportunity to make their own mark.For redshirt freshman Jack Sears, the one thing he could feel certain about was his own playing ability. When he finally got his chance to take the field on Saturday against Arizona State, he made sure audiences knew that he had what it takes to play at the collegiate level.“It’s been a while since I’ve been in a game setting,” Sears said. “We did our best in fall camp and my entire time here.”Despite playing in a losing effort, Sears showed flashes of brilliance and the capacity to lead a football team.“I felt comfortable in the second half and guys never stopped believing in me,” Sears said. “It was fun to rally with them and keep competing. We fought to the very end.”On the day, Sears went 20-of-28 passing for 235 yards with two touchdowns. Additionally, Sears was a factor on the ground, participating in a number of designed roll-outs, options and runs, including a 22-yard burst to set up a touchdown drive at the end of the first half. Sears was not the most statistically impressive passer on the roster on Saturday — that title went to redshirt sophomore wideout Tyler Vaughns, who threw a 36-yard touchdown to junior receiver Michael Pittman in the third quarter. However, Sears was capable of producing when called upon for the USC offense.In fact, out of qualifying passers, Sears finished fourth among Pac-12 quarterbacks in terms of passer grade, according to PFF College. Finishing ahead of talented signal callers such as Stanford’s K.J. Costello, Utah’s Tyler Huntley and Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins, Sears clearly stood out compared to the expectations most would have of a backup quarterback.The most impressive factor of Sears’ performance, however, was his ability to lead the Trojans back from a daunting deficit. With just under two minutes left in the first half, USC trailed the Sun Devils by 17 points and had yet to show any life on the offensive side of the ball. Aside from a brilliant Vaughns punt return for a touchdown following Arizona State’s first drive, USC had been shut out. Yet, Sears was able to drive his team 90 yards down the field to cut the deficit to 10 by halftime. Coming out of the break, Sears again carved through the Sun Devils’ secondary to bring USC within 3 points, and 25 seconds later, USC took the lead.While the defense and special teams would falter and the Trojans would go on to fall for the first time at home since 2015, Sears made sure to leave a lasting good impression with a 48-yard heave for a touchdown to Vaughns in Sears’ last play from scrimmage.From the perspective of head coach Clay Helton, this type of performance was anything but out of the ordinary for the San Clemente native. “[Sears] practices like a starter, and today he played like a starter,” Helton said after the game.Helton continued to shower the redshirt freshman in praise for his performance.“I thought [Sears] did a tremendous job,” Helton said. However, Sears does not have a particularly clear path to playing time. With presumptive starter JT Daniels cleared to resume practicing following a concussion suffered on Oct. 20 at Utah, Sears will likely serve in a backup role once again this weekend when the team travels to Oregon State.This should not spell the end of Sears’ chances to contribute moving forward. Sears and Daniels both have freshman eligibility and considering how tumultuous the season has been, it is unlikely that a week-to-week starter is guaranteed, let alone one from year-to-year. Additionally, should Daniels show further health concerns, it is possible that Sears could once again get the nod over Fink.It wasn’t long ago that a San Clemente quarterback took a loss in his first start as a Trojan.While Jack Sears may not have performed as well as former USC quarterback Sam Darnold, he certainly showed enough on Saturday to make it clear that he is capable of being an effective starter when called upon for USC.“I love these guys; I’ve been with them for over two years,” Sears said of his teammates. “I believe in what [Helton is] doing here. Every down, every play, no matter what’s going on. I love this university.”last_img read more

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Wakaso facing CAF rap for T-shirt celebration at AFCON

first_imgGhana midfielder Mubarak Wakaso could be sanctioned by CAF after revealing a religious slogan in a goal celebration.The 22-year-old was over the moon after he scored for the Black Stars in the 1-0 win over Mali in their second Group B match at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.The Espanyol player pulled his jersey over his head to reveal a T-shirt with the words “Allah is Great”Ivorian referee Doue Noumandiez showed him the yellow card.FIFA rules do not allow players to make religious or political statements during a game.Even though Wakaso is suspended for the crucial final group game against Niger on Monday, he could further be punished by the world governing body for bringing the game into disrepute. Wakaso has grown to become an important player for the Black Stars in recent times with standout performances that has left many to take notice.last_img read more