The USC women’s basketball team came back to the Galen Center looking to bounce back from a tough 71-60 loss to UCLA. Unfortunately, they fell victim to costly mistakes and unfortunate bounces, suffering a 67-53 loss to California on Friday, and falling 71-60 to No. 11 Stanford on Sunday.Senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama led the Women of Troy (11-8, 3-5 Pac-12) with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals against the Golden Bears. Redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Adams finished with 12 points, and freshman forward Kristen Simon finished with six points and 11 rebounds. California’s (13-5, 5-2 Pac-12) Reshanda Gray led the team with 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, as all five Cal starters finished with double-digit points.The game was back-and-forth from the start, with both sides taking advantage of turnovers and missed opportunities on the other end of the floor. USC jumped out to an early 7-4 lead, but Cal stormed back with a 6-0 run. The Golden Bears would go on to take a 15-13 lead, but the Women of Troy went on an 8-0 scoring run, which Cal responded to with a 7-0 run of their own. The teams would continue to battle it out until halftime, as USC headed to the locker room down 27-26, as the first half contained eight ties and seven lead changes.Both teams turned the ball over eight times, but USC got 10 points off those turnovers compared to Cal’s eight. For the third straight game, the Women of Troy were scoreless from behind-the-arc, going 0-for-4 from downtown, but out-rebounded the Bears 27-17.USC scored the first basket of the second half on a three-pointer by McKenzie Calvert. Cal would take control of the game from there, however, using their balanced scoring attack to put the game out of reach and pull out the win on the road, thanks to 62 percent shooting from the field.“At the end of the day, when you play a really good team like Cal, you’ve got to come in in the second half and play well,” head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. “You cannot lose your intensity, and I thought we did that, and as a result, Cal came out, they made an early run. We missed a couple lay-ups, a couple shots that we normally make, and I thought we lost our confidence a little bit, and it was an uphill battle from there.”“I thought we did some really good things. We rebounded, we defended, especially in the first half, and we have to go back to the drawing board in the second half and really focus on bringing that intensity and bringing that focus for 40 minutes.”USC hoped to bounce back against No. 11 Stanford behind a much louder Galen Center. Despite consistent play throughout, an early run by Stanford ended up being too much to overcome for the Women of Troy.Adams led the Women of Troy with 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Cardinal for her first career double-double. Junior guard Brianna Barrett scored 15 points, and senior forward Kaneisha Horn finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for her second career double-double.Lili Thompson led Stanford (15-5, 7-1 Pac-12) with 21 points. Erica McCall added 11 points and six rebounds.The Women of Troy got off to another strong start against the Cardinal, starting the scoring with a 3-pointer from Adams after going a combined 0-for-14 from downtown in the first half of the past three games. The first half looked to be about identical to the Cal game, with the lead constantly changing sides. After the Cardinal built an 8-5 lead, USC went on a 7-0 run behind strong offensive rebounding. However, a 15-1 run by Stanford aided by USC turnovers put them back on top, and they wouldn’t relinquish the lead from there.The Women of Troy would cut the deficit down to six, but Stanford would enter the locker room with a 36-27 lead at the half, thanks to 55 percent shooting from the field and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line.USC kept it competitive behind their rebounding, as they out-rebounded the Cardinal 19-17 at the half, including 10-2 on the offensive glass, leading to 10 second-chance points.The second half played out similarly to the first, with the Women of Troy unable to make a huge dent in the deficit. The Cardinal led by as many as 17 in the second half, as they cruised to a win. They finished shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from downtown, compared to 36 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Stanford also went to the free-throw line 24 times, making 20 of those, while USC was only 8-of-16 from the charity stripe.“I think we didn’t do well in our rotation, in our zone, and it killed us,” Horn said. “They got some wide-open three’s, and a lot of post-slips, that killed us a lot. They were just wide open, and I think if we had executed on that, it would have been a different game.”“For the most part, I felt we got better,” Cooper-Dyke said. “I just don’t think we were able to get over the hump. We came out in the second half with the right level of intensity. Stanford was just very good with moving the ball around, sharing the ball, making the extra pass and making it very difficult to cover everyone. We tried some different defenses, and I thought we were effective for the most part in the second half. We just struggled finishing with Stanford’s sagging defense.”Rebounding and inside scoring continued to be a strong point for the Women of Troy, who out-rebounded the Cardinal 41-32 and 20-5 on the offensive glass. They picked up 20 second-chance points and 36 points in the paint, compared to five and 22 for Stanford, respectively.The Women of Troy will look to end their three-game skid next week to take on No. 9 Oregon State (18-1, 8-0 Pac-12) on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 2:30 p.m. and Oregon (8-11, 1-7 Pac-12) on Monday, Feb. 2 at 5:00 p.m. They will then return to the Galen Center, looking to sweep the season series against Utah (6-13, 0-8 Pac-12) on Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. and Colorado (9-9, 2-5 Pac-12) on Sunday, Feb. 8 at noon.
Kownacki’s smash-mouth style isn’t pretty, but boy is it crowd-pleasing. He’s going to eat his fair share of punches, but he’s going to keep moving forward and throwing and landing more shots of his own — each equipped with a thud. At least that’s what the Polish fighter has been able to do effectively through 18 pro bouts, touting an 18-0 record with 14 KOs, as he continues to climb up the heavyweight ranks and build up his profile simultaneously.Join DAZN and watch Jaime Munguia vs. Takeshi Inoue on Jan. 26His last fight at Barclays Center —a unanimous decision over Charles Martin on Showtime in September — had hundreds of raucous Polish fight fans in attendance cheering him on, giving him as frenzied of a response, if not greater, than Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia got in the main event. He’s expecting even more of a fervent show of support Saturday night when he takes on Washington.“Polish people have my back since day one, since amateur days they’ve come out to support me and it’s getting bigger and bigger with every fight,” Kownacki told Sporting News before his media workout at Gleason’s Gym on Wednesday. “It’s amazing and I hope this fight will be around 2,000 people supporting me.”If there’s one place that Kownacki reps as much as Poland, it’s Brooklyn. His family emigrated from Lomza, Poland to the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn when he was just seven-years-old, with his father working the night shift at a local bakery and his mom working in the hotel industry.“Luckily, I moved to Greenpoint, which had a big Polish community at the time, so it was much easier to adapt, but English was a second language, so it was hard,” Kownacki said. “My dad worked nights, he slept during the day, so we really didn’t get to spend time with him because he was at work. So, it wasn’t easy, but we managed. Eventually, he did construction — a little better paying job — so, we managed.”He added: “I was always a little chubby growing up, so I got bullied a little bit.”Years later, and “Babyface” is still “a little chubby,” except he’s the one bullying others now … in the ring.Kownacki tipped the scales at just over 263 pounds during the weigh-in for his fight against Martin. When he and Martin exchanged heated words after the weigh-in, Kownacki brushed them off saying, “I’m from Brooklyn, man, so I ain’t scared of that s—.”The next night, he proceeded to pummel Martin, taking a fair share of punches, but throwing and landing the more devastating shots en route to yet another victory. With Kownacki, absent is a chiseled six-pack like you might see on other heavyweights. But present is a hard-hitting fighting spirit that goes for broke with each performance.“Boxing is a skill,” Kownacki told a pool of reporters following his media workout, shrugging off questions about his physique, “not a bodybuilding contest.” Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearThrough boxing, Kownacki was able to purchase a home for he, his wife and parents on Long Island, New York roughly four years ago. Furthering his ascension up the ranks has him thinking about purchasing his parents a home of their own. And there’s another goal — with Poland and Brooklyn on his mind.“That’s my ultimate goal. That’s what I think about every day — becoming Polish-American heavyweight champ of the world,” he told Sporting News with a grin on his face. “That’s the bar I set for myself and I plan on accomplishing that title.” NEW YORK – As much as the nationally-televised audience on FOX will be tuning in to “PBC Fight Night” on Saturday to see Keith Thurman back in the ring, another boxer on the card might just steal their hearts.Adam Kownacki will bring his brawling, thumping style back to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where he’ll face Gerald Washington in heavyweight action.