BERKELEY -- A near triple-double from point guard Brittany Boyd wasn't enough to offset frigid shooting down the stretch for the Cal women's basketball team in a 77-70 loss to USC on Friday night.
The Bears controlled much of game, played before a crowd of 1,699 at Haas Pavilion, but let their lead slip away in the final minutes.
A career night from USC guard Ariya Crook (34 points) combined with late shooting woes -- the Bears shot just 25 percent from the floor in the second half and went 1 of 11 from 3-point range against the Trojans' zone defense -- made for a disappointing ending for Cal (13-5, 5-2 Pac-12).
Boyd finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, and Afure Jemerigbe added a career-high tying 17 points, but the Bears were off-target in the final five minutes.
"I thought we got what we wanted a lot of times," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said referring to the Bears' offensive looks. "Obviously we didn't shoot the 3 well, but what was uncharacteristic was missing a lot of shots around the basket that we expect to make."
Cal led 66-61 with 5:39 to play, but then missed nine straight shots while USC went on an 11-0 run to lead 72-66 with under a minute to go.
Boyd's three-point play got Cal within 72-69 with 20.7 seconds left, but USC made enough free throws to hold on.
Crook, a junior who has scored at least 21 points in all three of her trips to Berkeley, went 11 of 21 from the field and 5 of 10 from 3-point range.
She helped the Trojans storm back early in the second half after Cal led by as many as 11 points in the first. USC (14-6, 7-1) took a brief 53-51 lead on Jordan Adams' jumper, but Cal regained control until a Cassie Harberts layup gave the Trojans the lead for good with 3:53 left.
Cal drops to third place in the conference after falling to USC, which also entered the game with one loss in conference play.
Cal's Gennifer Brandon (11 points, 11 rebounds) had her first double-double of the season. Reshanda Gray added 13 points and eight rebounds.
Boyd was especially good in the opening half when she dished seven assists.
"Second half we missed some chippies, and it changed the flow of the game," Gottlieb said. "I don't think she got back into as much of a rhythm in the second half."
Cal (13-5, 5-2 Pac-12) at UCLA (10-10, 4-4), 6 p.m.