Los Angeles – Freshman Chennedy Carter’s school-record 46 points lifted No. 19 Texas A&M over USC, 75-74, Friday night.
The young guard shot 17-28 and had six assists and four rebounds. But it was her final two points – made by a falling shot with nine seconds remaining – that were the most important, as it sealed the win. Aliyah Mazyck attempted a three-point shot for the Trojans at three seconds to go, but missed. The game, which included 17 lead changes and 13 ties, was the first loss of the season for USC.
Danni Williams added 11 points for the Aggies, and Anriel Howard had 17 rebounds, of which 13 were defensive.
“The ball screen was coming and I was just feeling it,” Carter said of her last game possession. “I just trusted myself and elevated, rose up above my defender.”
“All glory to God, it was a big shot.”
Carter broke a 2011 school single-game scoring record set by Danielle Adams, who helped the team go on to win a National Championship later that spring. Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said Carter impressed him.
“For a freshman to come in and do it on the road, it was just mind-boggling,” he said. “The shots that she had to hit – a number of them, (defenders) were just hanging on her. Her drive is as good as anybody I’ve ever had driving the ball.”
Both teams played evenly in the first quarter, but in the second period the Trojans held the visitors to 11 percent shooting while stretching their lead to as many as six points. USC went on a run late in the third quarter to take the lead by seven, but the Aggies clawed back into it in the fourth and tied the game at 52 with 8:10 to go. A Carter three-pointer 45 seconds later gave them the lead.
Back-to-bacl three-point shots by Sadie Edwards in the final minute of play gave the Trojans a one-point lead until Carter made her game-winner.
Edwards led USC with 20 points, while Kristen Simon added 18, Minyon Moore 17 and Mazyck, 14.
The Trojans are playing with renewed energy this season under Mark Trakh, who returned to coach after a four-year tenure at the helm a decade ago. He said after the game that he told Mazyck not to feel badly about missing the last shot, and that he’d draw up the same play if asked to do it again.
“I’m proud of the kids, I’m proud of the way they battled,” Trakh said. “We’re not really deep, and foul trouble hurts us at times, but it’s a legit No. (19) team and our kids came in and fought and scratched and clawed. Their heads were up (after the game), and I love that attitude.”
“I don’t know how many games we’re going to win this year, but I know we’re going to give 100 percent. What was really good was when we got down by six late in the fourth quarter, and the kids didn’t pack it in. They came back and fought.”
Trakh gave credit to Carter, whom he called a great player.
“We had a really good week of preparation. We had some defensive plans on Chennedy Carter, but obviously (it didn’t work),” Trakh said. “My assistant (coach) Jason Glover has NBA experience and that last (defense) we did on her, she faked it and spun off the screen and came off. He said, ‘That’s a great move; she just pulled a Chris Paul move.’ There’s not much of a defensive plan except hope that she misses.”
“She’s got that unique ability to elevate, all the way to the three-point line.
Carter said her focus wasn’t on setting records.
“Winning the game was the most important thing to me,” she said. “I didn’t know how many points I had until after the game.”
The Aggies planned to do some sightseeing Saturday before heading to a Las Vegas Tournament. USC next hits the road for a tournament in Texas.