Trojans host No. 12 Colorado on Friday and then take on Utah on Sunday in conference action.
Jan. 1, 2014
USC WBB Release Friday, Jan. 3
USC vs. #12 Colorado
Galen Center -- 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 5
USC vs. Utah
Galen Center -- 4 p.m.
THE LAST MEETING
February 3, 2013
No. 22 Colorado Takes Control For 65-49 Win Over USC Women
The USC women's basketball team had another second-half letdown as the Trojans took a tumble to No. 22 Colorado 65-49 today at Galen Center. The Buffs capitalized on USC's extended lapse in intensity and got four players in double digits, led by a double-double from Chucky Jeffery. USC falls to 8-13 overall and 5-5 in Pac-12 play with the loss, while Colorado improves to 16-5, 5-5.
THE LAST MEETING
February 1, 2013
Utah Unravels USC Women 63-60
The USC women's basketball team lost the lead early in the second half and couldn't find an answer as the Trojans came up short of visiting Utah for a 63-60 loss tonight at Galen Center. A 10-point hole proved too deep for the Trojans, who saw Utah stay a step ahead down the stretch. USC falls to 8-12 overall and 5-4 in Pac-12 play, while Utah goes to 11-9, 2-7.
The USC women's basketball team has a home stand to open the new year, with the Women of Troy aiming to add to the three-game win streak with which they finished up 2013. The Trojans already are off to a winning start to Pac-12 play, having grabbed a victory over rival UCLA last week in their conference opener. Now, USC (8-5, 1-0 Pac-12) sets up to first host No. 12 Colorado (10-1, 0-0) in an 8 p.m. game on Friday (Jan. 3) at Galen Center. The Trojans will then turn to take on Utah (7-4, 0-0) at 4 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 4). Both games will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.
Both games will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with Ann Meyers Drysdale as analyst and Jim Watson on play-by-play. A live streaming broadcast is also available online to Pac-12 Network recipients HERE. Live stats also will be available on Gametracker through the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.
IN THE NATION
USC is unranked in the national polls as the Trojans enter the ninth week of 2013-14 competition. Colorado is ranked No. 12 in this week's AP poll and is No. 14 in the USA Today/ESPN Poll. Utah is unranked.
The No. 12 Buffs are 10-1 overall with their only loss this season coming 69-62 at No. 7 Louisville. Colorado beat Southern Utah 75-59 last week. CU is led in scoring by Arielle Roberson and Jen Reese with 13.9 and 13.3 points per game, respectively. Roberson leads on the boards with 8.7 rebounds per game. Colorado went 25-7 overall with a 13-5 mark in Pac-12 play, making a trip to the NCAA First Round. USC is 4-4 all-time against Colorado in a series that dates back to the 2002-03 season. Colorado snapped a run of four straight USC victories with Buffalo wins in the past two meetings. Last season, Colorado beat USC 65-49 at the Galen Center. USC's last win over CU was an 87-70 decision in 2011 in Boulder.
The Utes carry a five-game win streak into this week with a 7-4 overall record after beating UC Santa Barbara 66-57 last week and with a Friday clash with UCLA set before coming to Troy. Michelle Plouffe leads Utah with 19.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Utah went 23-14 overall last season with an 8-10 finish in Pac-12 play before making a run to the WNIT championship game, where the Utes fell to Drexel by three points. USC is 5-5 all-time against Utah in a series dating back to the 1977-78 season. The Utes have won the past three meetings against the Trojans, including a 60-60 win over USC last season at the Galen Center. USC's last win over Utah wa a 62-45 victory in the 2008-09 season in Los Angeles.
MONDAY AT UCLA
USC won a wild one in Westwood on Monday night, beating rival UCLA with a 56-54 victory to wrap up 2013 and kick off Pac-12 play on a winning note for the Women of Troy. Ariya Crook set the tone for the Trojans with a career-high 25 points -- 21 of which came in the first half to open things up for USC. The game was tied with 1:44 to go, and UCLA was gifted a trip to the line with 0.4 seconds left for a shot at forcing overtime, but the Trojans came away with the deserved victory over the Bruins. USC improved to 8-5 overall with its third consecutive win and opens conference action with a 1-0 record. It took the Trojans some time to settle in at Pauley Pavilion, but USC eventually warmed up and turned a 1-for-9 (.111) start from the floor in the first nine minutes into a 9-of-13 effort in the next 10 minutes of action as the Trojans worked their way ahead of the Bruins thanks in large part to four 3-pointers buried by Ariya Crook in the half. Now shooting 44 percent from the floor, USC held a 32-27 halftime lead on its rival. UCLA was at 37 percent through the first 20 minutes of action. USC would cool off in the second, however, winding up the game hitting 36 percent to the floor to just edge UCLA's 34 percent effort. The Trojans also won out on the boards 40-34, while matching UCLA at 13-of-19 from the free-throw line in the game. The Women of Troy were leading the Bruins by seven points with 3:45 left in the game before UCLA was able to creep back in, locking it up at 53-53 with 1:44 on the clock. Alexyz Vaioletama came up big in the lane to bump USC back ahead, while UCLA was unable to answer. A Trojan miss at the other end put things up for grabs, but Cassie Harberts hauled in a key offensive board to give USC new life with 17.3 seconds remaining. Brianna Barrett was put on the line, hitting the back end to make it a three-point USC advantage, prompting UCLA to take aim at a tying 3-pointer. Two tries missed, and the third -- a prayer from Nirra Fields with under a second left -- was deemed to have been a foul. The referees conferred, put 0.4 seconds on the clock and Fields on the line for three tosses with USC holding a 56-53 lead. A miss, make and intentional shot off the glass made it 56-54 Trojans and put the ball in USC's hands to work off the last 0.4 ticks and lock in a win for the Women of Troy. Crook would lead all with her career-high 25 points, while Harberts added 12 for the Trojan cause. With those 12 points, Harberts moved up to rank No. 13 all-time in career scoring at USC, now with 1,479 career points. UCLA was led by 20 points from Atonye Nyingifa and 13 from Fields.
USC made it a 3-0 start to its 2013-14 campaign under new head coach and Trojan great Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. The Women of Troy played their home opener against San Diego State, which had handed USC a big loss last season. This year, the Trojans were ready for the Aztecs and stayed composed down the stretch to fend off a late push and lock in a 65-61 win over visiting San Diego State. The win puts the Trojans at 3-0 overall, marking the first time since the 1998-99 season that USC has made such a winning start. San Diego State scored more points from the free-throw line than it did from the floor in the first half as the referees' whistles blew 13 fouls against the Trojans in the first 20 minutes of play. USC's counterattack was a stifling defense that forced 15 Aztec turnovers and converted 12 points off those pickoffs. USC led by as much as 19 points during the first half, but that was trimmed down to a 32-19 lead at the half. USC had hit at a 42-percent clip from the floor to outpace the Aztecs' 16-percent effort, although SDSU was 13-of-16 from the free-throw line by halftime. In the second half, USC's foul trouble put the Trojans on the heels a bit more and created some space for San Diego State's Cierra Warren to heat up. She had zero points at halftime but would finish with a game-high 21 to fuel a late push from the Aztecs. San Diego State cut things down to three points in the final seconds but ran out of time. Credit the Trojans with some key surges of scoring in the second half to help build up a lead that would prove just insurmountable for the Aztecs. By the final buzzer, the Women of Troy had cooled to 40 percent shooting while SDSU finished out at 43 percent thanks to a hot 64-percent effort in the second half. USC overmatched the Aztecs on the board 38-32 and finished with 11 steals to SDSU's seven. USC's scoring effort was led by Ariya Crook with 18 points and Cassie Harberts with 17, with Alexyz Vaioletama adding 12. Warren was the top scorer on the night with her 21 points, joined by teammate Danesha Long with 12 for the Aztecs.
CAN'T STOP CASSIE
Senior Cassie Harberts is the centerpiece of the USC team and has established herself as one of USC's top players all-time. She entered her senior season ranked No. 16 all-time in scoring with 1,293 career points, having scored her 1,000th point during her junior season. Now with 1,479 total points, she's just 13 points away from taking over at No. 12 all-time. And with 761 career rebounds, she ranks at No. 9 all-time in USC's history books. From the stripe, Harberts has taken over Lisa Leslie to now rank No. 4 all-time with 477 free throws made. As a freshman, Harberts tallied a 31-point game, which was the most points scored by a Trojan freshman since 1981. Last season, the 2013 All-Pac-12 selection led the Trojans in almost every major statistical category and ranked third in the Pac-12 in scoring (18.0 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (8.2 rpg). During her USC career to date she has earned 2011 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team and 2011 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honors, 2012 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, and 2013 All-Pac-12 Team and Pac-12 Player of the Week awards to go along with her consistent academic accolades. With three this season to date, she has recorded 20 double-doubles in her career, and in her junior season she became USC's all-time record holder for free throws made (207) and attempted (298) in a single season. This past summer, Harberts won a gold medal as a member of the United States' World University Games team. She's since picked up national acclaim with selection to the Wooden Award Preseason Top-30 and Naismith Award Early Watch List. Harberts also is a nominee for the WBCA, NBCA and Allstate Good Works Team.
COOP COMES HOME
A USC legend has come home and the Women of Troy are ready to rise once again to the elite level of their glory days. Trojan great Cynthia Cooper has returned to USC, this time as head coach of the women's basketball team, having helped to lead the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA Championships as a student-athlete. Cooper then won an Olympic gold medal, four WNBA titles and went on to launch a successful career as a head coach. In the past seven years, Cooper has resurrected three collegiate programs and received three league coach of the year honors in return. But now she's returned to her roots to coach the 2013-14 Women of Troy back to dominance in collegiate women's basketball. Cooper is aided by a strong staff of coaches, including the new additions of associate head coach Brandy Manning and assistant coach Jualeah Woods. Woods is a Trojan herself, having played with Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson and graduating USC in 1994. Assistant coach Evan Unrau is back for her second season with the Women of Troy. Cooper takes over the USC program following a disappointing 2012-13 season in which the Trojans finished 11-20 and seventh in the Pac-12, missing the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season.
HEALTHY AND WISE
One thing that the team hasn't experienced in a while is the luxury of having 11 healthy players return to this year's roster. Injury depletion has crushed USC's ability to make progress in past seasons, but with a strong and experienced roster led by seniors Cassie Harberts, Desireé Bradley, Kate Oliver and Rachel Totten, this year is shaping up to be a different story. Harberts is hitting her stride as she enters her final season as an All-Pac-12 Team pick last year after averaging leading the Trojans in points (18.0 ppg), rebounds (8.2 rpg), and blocks and finishing third in the Pac-12 in points per game, while she also set USC records in free throws made (207) and attempted (298). Fellow senior Kate Oliver averaged 5.7 points per game and a 66.7 free-throw percentage last season. The Australian lefty brings a skillful shooting ability to the Trojan front court and saw much development in only her first season at USC last year. She and Harberts make for a dynamic and daunting presence at the post position, as both players boast an ability to pop out and knock down shots from distance. Their senior compatriots Bradley and Totten are primed for the perimeter in their final seasons as Trojans, as both are proven sharp-shooters for the Women of Troy.
BACK FOR MORE
USC returns all but one player from last year's roster, with grad Christina Marinacci the only loss from 2012-13. She was third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding, so the Trojans do have some sizable shoes to fill. Fortunately, USC returns standout post Cassie Harberts, who led USC in scoring, rebounding and free throws last season as a junior. She started every single game for the Trojans -- the only player to do so. In all, USC returns 11 letterwinners from last year's team, including nine players who started at least seven games in 2012-13. Ninety-one percent of USC's scoring was produced by those 11 players last season, including 88 percent of the rebounding. Harberts herself accounted for 29 percent of USC's points, 21 percent of its rebounds and 44 percent of its free throws made last season. Harberts, Kiki Alofaituli and Brianna Barrett all appeared in every game last year, while Alexyz Vaioletama and Ariya Crook missed only one game each.
Lots of talent returns at the guard position with juniors Ariya Crook, Kiki Alofaituli and Alexyz Vaioletama and sophomore Brianna Barrett ready for another season. Crook averaged 13.4 points per game and received All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention after playing in 30 games for the Trojans last season. Barrett is coming off a fantastic freshman debut in which she finished the year with Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention and Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention. Off the injured list this season is highly touted guard Jordan Adams, who was a McDonald's All-American our of Mater Dei High before being sidelined by injury early last year. She's back in action to boost up the Trojan backcourt for 2013-14. Additional youthful experience comes for the Trojans in the form of sophomore Destinie Gibbs and redshirt sophomore Deanna Calhoun, who bring another important depth charge to the USC roster along with the feisty Alofaituli and athletic Vaioletama.
THE NEW CLASS
The Women of Troy only graduated one player from last year's squad, but it won't be an easy hole to fill. The Trojans need to find a way to replace Christina Marinacci, a force on the boards in finishing her career as USC's No. 9 all-time rebounder (738) and a stubborn defensive specialist. Don't be surprised to see freshman Drew Edelman step up to fill that role as a 6-foot-4 powerhouse under the basket. Fellow newcomer Courtney Jaco is fitting in nicely at the point guard position and can knock down 3-pointers like there's no tomorrow. The Trojans are also excited to bring in transfers Kaneisha Horn and Alexis Lloyd to add to the already impressive roster. Horn, a junior transfer from Alabama, adds a new dynamic to the team and the program as a versatile forward that fits well all over the court. Horn is good to go this season, having finished her undergraduate degree in three years at Alabama. She has two seasons to play with the Trojans as she pursues a masters in social work. Lloyd will sit out the 2013-14 season after transferring from Virginia Tech.
TUNE IN TO THE TROJANS
The 2013-14 Women of Troy will get plenty of face-time this season with 18 USC women's basketball games scheduled to be televised this season. The Trojans have one matchup with Stanford set for a national audience on ESPN2, along with 17 games on the Pac-12 Networks. All but one conference game is due to be televised. All told, USC will face eight teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last year, and will play a total of 12 regular-season contests against teams that were either ranked or receiving votes in the final national polls last season.
USC finished the 2012-13 season with an 11-20 overall record -- the program's first losing season since 2002-03 and matching the most overall losses in program history (USC also had 20 losses in 1998-99). Last year's Trojans finished seventh in the Pac-12 at 11-7, and was ousted in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals by No. 2 seed California. Cassie Harberts, who scored her 1,000th career point on Jan. 13, 2013, would lead USC on the honor rolls, picked to the All-Pac-12 Team while also setting USC program records for free throws made (207) and attempted (298) in a singles season. She also was selected as Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 7, 2013. Also scoring conference accolades last season were Brianna Barrett (Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention & Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention) and Ariya Crook (All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention).
125 YEARS OF GREATNESS
Since fielding a football team in 1888, USC has had an unparalleled athletic tradition, including 120 national team championships, an unprecedented 419 Olympians and 52 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars as the Trojan family celebrates its 125th anniversary this 2013-14 academic year. Including the USC women's soccer team's historic 2007 NCAA Championship victory, USC boasts a grand total of 120 national team championships, including a national-best 82 men's NCAA crowns. Trojan men have won more individual NCAA titles (309) than those from any other school, while the Women of Troy have added another 69 individual NCAA titles. Four Trojans have won the prestigious Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Two Women of Troy athletes have won the Honda Cup as the top collegiate female athlete of the year and there have been 15 Honda Award winners as the top female athlete in their sport. USC not only has more Olympians than any school, but more Olympic medalists (287) and gold medalists (135). USC water polo is a big part of that Olympic tradition, having sent 10 Trojans to the 2012 Olympics in Beijing, with four Trojans winning medals. Thanks in part to USC's water polo participants, a Trojan has won a gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Go to usctrojans.com/125 to revisit the athletic highlights for Trojans the past 125 years.