Women's Basketball
    USC Women Open Pac-12 Play In Oregon
    The Trojans take their first trip out of state this week to face the Oregon schools.
    The Trojans take their first trip out of state this week to face the Oregon schools.

    Jan. 1, 2013

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    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team is aiming for a fresh start as 2013 gets underway with Pac-12 action on tap for the Trojans. USC (3-8) looks to put a stop to a six-game losing streak as it opens conference play this week with a trip through Oregon, marking its first trip out of California this season. The Women of Troy play their first game of the new year at 7 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 4) at Oregon State (6-6) in Corvallis. Then it's over to Eugene for a 1 p.m. clash with Oregon (2-10) on Sunday (Jan. 6).

    THE LAST MEETING
    Oregon State65
    USC61
    January 21, 2012
    Galen Center
    USC Women Edged Out In OT By Beavers
    The USC women's basketball team saw its five-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday with an overtime loss to visiting Oregon State, which outpaced the Trojans when it counted for a 65-61 decision at the Galen Center. The teams traded the lead 25 times in the game, but Ashley Corral's game-high 20 points wasn't enough to lift the Trojans past the sharp-shooting Beavers. USC goes to 10-7 overall and 5-2 in Pac-12 play with the loss, while OSU improves to 12-7, 3-5.

    THE LAST MEETING
    Oregon73
    USC92
    January 19, 2012
    Galen Center
    USC Women Dump The Ducks 92-73
    The USC women's basketball team shrugged off a comeback push by Oregon by scoring 33 points in the last 10 minutes to play to tack up a 92-73 win over the visiting Ducks to lock in on the Trojans' fifth straight win. USC's Briana Gilbreath was one rebound away from a triple-double, finishing with a game-high 18 points, a career-high 11 assists and nine rebounds down the stretch. Christina Marinacci also had a double-double, netting 14 points and 10 boards.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Both games this week will be streamed online through the Pac-12 Network site. CLICK HERE for the Oregon State stream, and CLICK HERE for the Oregon stream. Live stats through GameTracker also will be available online through the women's basketball page at usctrojans.com.

    IN THE NATION
    USC opened the year receiving votes in the national polls but is now unranked. Oregon State and Oregon both are also unranked this week.

    LAST WEEK
    USC saw another second half go sour as the Trojans took their sixth straight loss in falling 74-56 to visiting Vanderbilt last week. After trailing by as much as eight points in the first half, the Trojans gutted out a nice push into the lead with a 12-2 run that had USC ahead for the first time, up 27-22 in the last five minutes of the half. An Ariya Crook 3-pointer just before the break was another lift for USC, which took a 33-31 lead at halftime. The teams were even at 46 percent from the floor in the first half, and were also matched with three 3-pointers apiece while USC held a 17-13 advantage on the boards. The second half, however, would not work out as well for the Trojans. The difference down the stretch arguably was Vanderbilt's Christina Foggie, who nailed seven 3-pointers in the game to charge up the Commodores' run to the lead. She'd finish with 28 points, with teammate Tiffany Clarke adding 24. USC was led by Cassie Harberts' 11th straight game in double figures with 22 points, joined in double digits by Ariya Crook with 12. The USC scoring effort dipped to 33 percent in the second half, while Vanderbilt upped its production to 49 percent in the second half. That wrapped the game with USC at 39 percent from the floor to the Commodores' 47, which included 8-of-16 from 3-point range. USC also was behind on the boards for just the third time this season, down 39-32 thanks in part to Clarke's double-double for Vanderbilt with 11 rebounds..

    SCOUTING OREGON STATE
    The Beavers are 6-6 overall entering this Pac-12 opener after taking three straight losses, including a 49-35 loss to Michigan State and a 66-48 loss to Texas Tech at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. OSU is led in scoring by Jamie Weisner with 10.4 points per game, and Deven Harris leads on the boards with 7.7 rebounds per game. Scott Rueck is in his third season as head coach of the Beavers, who went 20-13 last season, going 9-9 in Pac-12 play and reaching the third round of the 2012 WNIT. USC is 37-19 overall against Oregon State after OSU snapped a four-game win streak by the Trojans with a 65-61 win in overtime last season at Galen Center.

    SCOUTING OREGON
    The Ducks enter the week at 2-10 overall after a 95-51 loss to Connecticut earlier in the week. Jillian Alleyne leads Oregon with 15.5 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. Paul Westhead is in his fifth season as head coach of the Ducks, who went 15-16 overall last season and finished ninth in the Pac-12 at 7-11. USC is 40-17 all-time against Oregon after extended its win streak over the Ducks to five in a row with last season's 92-73 win at Galen Center.

    BACK FOR MORE
    USC returns 52 percent of its scoring and 52 percent of its rebounding from the 2011-12 roster. Cassie Harberts is the top returning scorer (357 points, 11.9 per game) and Christina Marinacci is back as USC's leader on the boards (215 rebounds, 7.4 per game). That pair, along with junior Desireé Bradley, are USC's most experienced returners with a combined 217 games played entering the 2012-13 season. From there, USC's roster is filled with players with no more than one season of experience, including sophomores Ariya Crook and Alexyz Vaioletama, who provided 5.2 and 4.5 points per game, respectively, as freshmen. Outside of those five players, returner Thaddesia Southall has played only six games around injuries, with eight Trojans in line to play their first-ever career games as Women of Troy this season.

    VETERAN STATUS
    Forward Christina Marinacci is the lone senior on the roster this season as she enters her second year as a captain for the Women of Troy. Although awarded with Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention in her first season and selected to the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving All-Tournament Team as a sophomore, Marinacci went even bigger for USC as a junior. The team's leading rebounder overall last season (7.4 rpg), Marinacci really hit her stride during Pac-12 play. There, the junior hauled in 8.2 rebounds per game and averaged 10.6 points per game. For her standout efforts as a leader in all realms, Marinacci picked up All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention. She also hits the books as hard as she does the boards, having earned Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention and standing tall as USC's Lowe's Senior CLASS candidate for 2012-13. Against Arkansas State on Nov. 21, Marinacci tallied her first double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds, notching her sixth career double day overall.

    POWER IN THE PAINT
    Forward Cassie Harberts is USC's top returning scorer from last season, having stood as the Trojans' No. 2 scorer in 2011-12 as a sophomore. Now a junior, Harberts is tabbed to shoulder the load for the Women of Troy. So far, she's proven wholly capable of that challenge, as she opened her junior season with three consecutive double-doubles, and has scored in double figures in every game to date. That start has Harberts now holding 10 career double-doubles, going along with career highs of 31 points as a freshman vs. WSU along with 18 rebounds also as a freshman vs. Oregon. She has started every game of her career since setting foot at Troy.

    THE NEW KIDS
    USC head coach Michael Cooper and his staff have added a class of freshmen that ranks No. 14 in the nation on the recruiting charts. With 2012 McDonald's All-American Jordan Adams standing tall as a highly touted guard, USC's talented class also includes guards Brianna Barrett and Destinie Gibbs. Adams and Gibbs have been in the starting lineup for every game to date, and Barrett has been an early sub for the backcourt as the trio has factored in heavily to the Trojan gameplan. The three true freshmen have combined to provide 12.8 points per game so far.

    READY TO GO
    Last season, USC had four players waiting in the wings for their chance to hit the courts for the Trojans. Thaddesia Southall actually started out the year, but was sidelined by a knee injury that kept her on the bench the remainder of the season. She's almost ready to go this year as a redshirt sophomore coming back from injury. Redshirt freshman Deanna Calhoun, who was out with a knee injury also last season, saw her first action as a Trojan on Nov. 30 at San Diego State. The Women of Troy also welcome the additions of sophomore Kiki Alofaituli and junior Kate Oliver, who were unable to compete last season due to NCAA transfer rules. All standing over 6-feet tall, add them up, and that's a good 25 feet of basketball talent to factor into the 2012-13 USC gameplan. Alofaituli and Oliver have both picked up several starts, and are averaging 4.8 and 5.7 points per game, respectively. Oliver recently tallied her first career double-double as a Trojan with 15 points and 10 rebounds on Dec. 22 vs. Duke.

    FRESH FACES
    The 2012-13 USC roster has been rounded out by two walk-ons -- freshman Franceska Regnier and sophomore Rachel Totten, who studied for a year at UC Santa Barbara -- and a transfer from Hawai'i, Malia Cravens. Cravens will sit out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Regnier is yet to play due to her eligibility status, and Totten saw her first playing time as a Trojan on Nov. 30 at San Diego State.

    COOP'S TROOPS
    Head coach Michael Cooper has a new staff on hand this season, having added associate head coach Daron Park and assistants Tai Dillard and Evan Unrau to his coaching crew. Daron Park comes to USC after a season at California, with a resume replete with success in eight seasons of collegiate coaching and seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Before his stint in Berkeley, where he helped the Bears to an NCAA appearance in 2012, Parks served as associate head coach at Louisiana Tech for five seasons. Park and the Techsters made back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2010 and 2011. His collegiate career began in Maryland, where he and the Terps won a preseason WNIT championship and earned two No. 1 seeds with two trips to the NCAA Elite Eight. Park had come to Maryland after serving as an assistant coach at Utah from 2004-07, where he began to gather his NCAA Tournament prowess in reaching two tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2006. Assistant coach Tai Dillard comes to USC after five seasons as an assistant coach at UTSA. Prior to that, Dillard has an accomplished collegiate and pro resume as a player, having played at Texas before starring in 57 games as a guard for the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars. While coaching at UTSA, Dillard helped see the Roadrunners to back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2008 and 2009. A four-year letterwinner with the Longhorns, Dillard also experienced four NCAA Tournaments as a player, including a visit to the 2003 NCAA Final Four. Assistant coach Evan Unrau also brings experience as a player to the Trojan coaching staff. An Honorable Mention All-American during her four years playing at Missouri, she also was drafted by the WNBA's Washington Mystics and also played professionally overseas. Her coaching career took her most recently to Santa Clara, where she was an assistant for three seasons. Prior to that, Unrau served as an assistant coach for one season at UC Santa Barbara, reaching the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Her collegiate staff experience began at Stanford, where she was video coordinator during the Cardinal's run to the 2008 NCAA title game.

    TROJANS ON TV
    The USC women's basketball team has a solid lineup of television appearances on tap for 2012-13, thanks to the development of the Pac-12 Networks, which are taking the Trojans live to the small screen for 10 games this coming season. USC's Pac-12 Network debut will come fast, with the Trojans' Nov. 23 clash against Nebraska set for national broadcast live from the Galen Center at 2 p.m. After that, USC has a bigtime clash with Duke set for TV on Dec. 22, followed by eight Pac-12 tilts to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks, including home-away series with California, Stanford and crosstown rival UCLA. That includes a wild stretch of three games in five days as the Trojans host Stanford on Feb. 15, California on Feb. 17 and UCLA on Feb. 19 for a television frenzy for the Women of Troy at Galen Center. Other televised conference tangles set for TV will be a Feb. 3 face-off with Colorado at the Galen Center and a March 1 matchup at Arizona.

    WHO'S NEXT?
    USC welcomes two acclaimed players to the roster for 2013-14 with the signing of Drew Edelman and Courtney Jaco to national letters of intent on Nov. 14, 2012. Head coach Michael Cooper is eager to add the two California talents to his crew for next season, as the pair offers up a well-balanced skill set for the Women of Troy. A 6-4 post player, Drew Edelman hails from Atherton, Calif., as a standout player from Menlo School under coach John Paye. Ranked No. 41 in the nation at her position, Edelman played club for East Bay Xplosion under coach Mark Anger. While Edelman controls the paint, Courtney Jaco will be called on to take charge in the back court. A 5-8 guard from Compton, Calif. who ranks No. 44 in the nation at her position, Jaco played at Windward School for coach Vanessa Nygaard and club for Elbert Kinnebrew's Cal Sparks team. Edelman and Jaco are all set to hit the floor for the Women of Troy in 2014. Stay tuned!

    LAST SEASON
    USC finished the 2011-12 season with an 18-12 overall record after finishing third at 12-6 in the Pac-12 conference. The Trojans had ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak before taking a devastating loss to No. 11 seeded Washington State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. That loss likely sealed the postseason fate of the Trojans, who had played a grueling nonconference schedule. USC's best wins of the year were an upset of Gonzaga on the road and a season sweep of California, including a heart-stopping overtime victory over the Bears in Berkeley. The Trojans also played defending NCAA champion Texas A&M down to the wire in College Station, where sixth-year senior Jacki Gemelos suffered her fifth season-ending knee injury of her career. USC would take a 71-70 loss to the Aggies in that one, to end a rough road trip that also saw the Trojans take an unexpected loss at Arkansas State in their first-ever trip to Arkansas. USC's tough nonconference schedule also put it up against No. 11 Georgia and No. 3 Notre Dame. At year's end USC seniors Ashley Corral and Briana Gilbreath would both pick up another spot on the All-Pac-12 Team, with Cassie Harberts and Christina Marinacci earning All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and Ariya Crook on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention list.