LOS ANGELES — Once again, the Colorado women's basketball team turned in a gritty performance against a quality opponent on Saturday.

Once again, however, it wasn't enough to get a victory.

Overpowered in the second half, CU concluded its regular season with a 65-53 loss to Southern California at the Galen Center.

CU (14-15, 5-13 Pac-12) finished the regular season in ninth place in the conference. The Buffs will face eighth-seeded Utah in the first round of the conference tournament on Thursday in Seattle.

About six weeks after a 35-point home loss to the Trojans (19-10, 9-9), the Buffs gave them all they could handle this time.

Kennedy Leonard had 19 points and five assists to lead the Buffs and help them take a 27-25 lead into halftime.

In the second half, however, USC dominated the boards and pulled away.

Aliyah Mazyck had a game-high 24 points, along with nine rebounds for USC, while Kristen Simon added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

USC outrebounded the Buffs 40-24, and was plus-12 in the second half.

"We absolutely got crushed on the glass," CU head coach JR Payne said. "As in most games for us, that will tell the story for us."

The Trojans opened the second half with a 14-3 run and never looked back. They led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter.

CU now heads to Seattle for the Pac-12 Tournament and needing to pull an upset to continue its season. To qualify for the Women's NIT, CU needs two wins in Seattle — against Utah and No. 1 seed Oregon.


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Payne is simply focused on the Utes.

"I'm excited to get another game," she said. "We'll be thrilled to play Utah."

Notable

Leonard established a new single-season school record for assists, with 195. She broke the mark of 190 that she set a year ago. ... After scoring a career-high 31 points in Thursday's 73-67 loss to No. 10 UCLA, Alexis Robinson was held to six points on 2-for-9 shooting. ... CU's minus-16 rebounding margin was its worst of the season.

USC 65, Colorado 53

COLORADO (14-15, 5-13 Pac-12)

Caylao-Do 4-10 1-3 9, Robinson 2-9 1-1 6, Leonard 6-14 4-6 19, Correal 0-0 0-0 0, Jank 3-7 0-0 8, Thomas 1-1 0-0 2, Hollingshed 3-9 0-0 9, Diop 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-50 6-10 53..

outrebounded

Simon 4-16 8-8 16, Adams 2-6 0-0 5, Moore 6-11 2-2 15, Edwards 1-5 0-0 2, Mazyck 9-18 1-2 24, Tapley 0-0 0-0 0, Effa 0-0 0-0 0, Abejon 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 23-57 11-12 65..

Score by quarters:

Colorado 17 10 13 13 — 53

USC 11 14 24 16 — 65

3-point goals — Colorado 9-23 (Hollingshed 3-8, Leonard 3-6, Jank 2-4, Robinson 1-4, Caylao-Do 0-1), USC 8-21 Mazyck 5-9, Adams 1-3, Moore 1-2, Abejon 1-1, Simon 0-3, Edwards 0-3). Rebounds — Colorado 24 (Leonard, Hollingshed 5), USC 40 (Simon 11). Assists — Colorado 8 (Leonard 5), USC 15 (Adams, Edwards 4). Steals — Colorado 4 (Hollingshed 2), USC 6 (Mazyck 3). Total fouls — Colorado 17, USC 10. Fouled out — Correal. A - 2,813.