Just a week earlier USC guard Minyon Moore and her teammates were enjoying the sun from the Islands Of Waikiki.
Although it wasn’t a vacation, the Women Of Troy went 3–0 to win the Rainbow Wahine Classic tournament, it could have been easy to blame travel, finals, and being 7-0 for allowing complacency to set in.
Basketball wise for USC, returning to the mainland didn’t mean coming back home.
And similar to showing up to a party wearing the same outfit as someone else, USC’s next opponent also boasted a dynamic guard who led her team to a 7-0 record.
Loyola Marymount junior Cheyanne Wallace was named the West Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after scoring 20-plus points in three consecutive games, and averaging 26 points on 56% shooting from the field while pulling down 8 rebounds in the week leading up to her showdown with Moore.
The battle of the undefeated took place on December 1st, 2017: The 62nd Anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.
The Women of Troy were tested by a defense that held opponents to 36% shooting from the field.
In previous games from the Lions, Head Coach Charity Elliot effectively used Wallace and junior Gabby Green in full-court press traps to create turnovers, but the decision-making of Moore and the sharpshooting of Aliyah Mazyck, who scored 10 first quarter points, got USC out to an early lead.
Minyon Moore got into early foul trouble and would finish the first half with 5 points and 3 personal fouls.
In the second half the Lions went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 35, capturing the momentum and putting additional pressure on USC Head Coach Mark Trakh to gamble on his foul plagued star guard.
It paid off.
Moore scored a basket, and on the next play found Mazyck open in the corner for a 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to five. Moore continued to dominate the third-quarter, connecting from long-range, slashing to the basket for scores, pushing the Trojan lead up to 11 after three-quarters of play.
The Lions made sporadic runs in the fourth, but it the end the night belonged Minyon Moore and history.
Moore ended the night attempting 23 free throws, the second most attempted in a single game all-time at USC. The sophomore calmly sank 21 of them, matching the record set by Cheryl Miller in 1985.
USC won the contest 80-70, and Moore tallied a career-high 34 points, out-dueling the WCC Women’s Basketball Player of The week Cheyanne Wallace on her home court, who finished with 24 points, and the Women of Troy remained unblemished at 8-0
Although it was early in the season, this matchup represented a proverbial ‘Statement Game’ for those involved.
Both teams were undefeated, and both teams are headed by feisty yet steady point guards.
Minyon Moore has established her seat in the front, and appears ready to fight to maintain it.
The competition must be up to the challenge of moving her our of that spot.