Jan. 7, 2014
USC Women's Basketball Release Friday, Jan. 10
USC (10-5, 3-0) at #23 Arizona St. (12-2, 1-1)
Tempe, Ariz. -- 6 p.m. MT
Sunday, Jan. 12
THE LAST MEETING
March 3, 2013
USC Women Wrap Regular Season On A Winning Note
The USC women's basketball team withstood another Arizona State second-half push and held its ground today for a 67-60 road win over the host Sun Devils. The victory wraps up the regular season on a winning note for the Trojans, who tallied their 10th win of the season and grabbed the No. 7 seed into the coming Pac-12 Tournament. In avenging an earlier loss to the Sun Devils with this win, USC finishes the regular season at 10-19 overall with a 7-11 Pac-12 mark. ASU goes to 13-17, 5-13.
THE LAST MEETING
March 1, 2013
Trojans Turn It Around, Top Arizona 74-62
The USC women's basketball team hauled in a much-needed win tonight on the backs of double-doubles from Christina Marinacci and Cassie Harberts. USC would shrug off a push by host Arizona that cut the game down to a one-point margin and regain control to latch onto a 74-62 win over the Wildcats. The victory snapped a eight-game losing skid by the Trojans, who went winless in February before making this breakthrough in opening up March with a win. USC is now 9-19 overall and 6-11 in Pac-12 play. Arizona goes to 12-16, 4-13.
USC (10-5, 3-0) at Arizona (4-9, 0-2)
Tucson, Ariz. -- 2 p.m. MT
The USC women's basketball team heads out of state for the first time in over a month when the Women of Troy carry a five-game win streak into their trip through Arizona for more Pac-12 action this week. USC (10-5, 3-0 Pac-12) is coming to come away from the journey with its best conference start since 1993-94, when the Trojans posted a 10-0 record in the first stretch of Pac-10 play. The Trojans went 4-0 out of the gates last year in Pac-12 play, and right now, USC is off to a 3-0 start in conference competition, with two big games ahead in Arizona. The Trojans will face No. 23 Arizona State (12-2, 1-1) at 6 p.m. MT on Friday (Jan. 10) in a Pac-12 Networks televised game in Tempe. Then, USC heads over to Tucson to take on Arizona (4-9, 0-2) at 2 p.m. MT on Sunday (Jan. 12).
Friday's game at ASU will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with Tammy Blackburn as analyst and Krista Blunk on play-by-play. A live streaming broadcast is also available online to Pac-12 Network recipients at pac-12.com/network/pac-12-los-angeles. Live stats also will be available through thesundevils.com. The USC-Arizona game will have live streaming video and live stats available through arizonawildcats.com.
IN THE NATION
USC is unranked in the national polls as the Trojans enter the 10th week of 2013-14 competition. Arizona is ranked No. 23 in this week's AP poll and is receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN Poll. Arizona is unranked.
The No. 23 Sun Devils are 12-2 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 after having a 10-game win streak snapped with an 85-78 loss at Washington State before picking up a 78-60 win at Washington last week. ASU is led in scoring by Deja Mann with 11.1 points per game, while Kelsey Moos leads on the boards with 6.6 rebounds per game. The Sun Devils went 13-18 last season and finished ninth in the Pac-12 at 5-13 last season. USC is 53-19 all-time against ASU in a series that dates back to the 1977-78 season. USC and ASU split last season with the Sun Devils beating the Trojans 60-53 at Galen Center and USC returning the favor with a 67-60 win over ASU in Tempe.
The Wildcats are 4-9 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play after falling at Washingotn 55-52 and losing at WSU 61-59 last week. Candice Warthen leads Arizona in scoring with 13.3 points per game, with LaBrittney Jones leading on the board with 6.8 rebounds per game. The Wildcats went 12-18 overall last season with a 4-14 mark in Pac-12 play. USC is 52-20 all-time against Arizona in a series dating back to the 1977-78 season. The Trojans have won the past four meetings against the Wildcats, beating Arizona 74-57 at the Galen Center and 74-62 in Tucson last season. Arizona's last win over USC was a 72-61 win during the 2011 Pac-12 Tournament.
USC drummed up a five-game win streak in remarkable fashion, upsetting No. 12 Colorado 55-45 first and then staging a late comeback to beat Utah 55-47 at Galen Center last weekend. That followed an impressive 56-54 win over rival UCLA to start a busy week that saw the Trojans win three games in seven days and open Pac-12 play with a perfect 3-0 mark. Against the Buffs, USC held No. 12 Colorado scoreless for the first seven minutes and last four minutes of Friday's Pac-12 clash. USC's first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 came with a focused finish by the Trojans, who shrugged off six ties and 10 lead changes to clamp down and end the game on a 13-0 run to victory. After an 0-for-12 start, Colorado was able to warm up to a cool 21 percent in the half. It was enough of a warmup to cut into what had been a 12-point USC lead and make it a 23-20 margin with the Trojans in the lead at the break, shooting 26 percent from the floor. The tough Trojan defensive effort had the Buffs with a season-low 20- points at the half, while both teams held more rebounds than points with USC up 25-23 on the boards. In the second half, the Buffs worked into the lead for the first time, and were up by three points with 4:01 remaining. The Trojans locked in and dominated the rest of the game, getting four players in on the scoring to finish out the victory. USC ended up shooting 31 percent from the floor to Colorado's 28 percent. Both were season lows for the teams, but it was a marked drop off for the Buffs, who came into this game shooting 44 percent overall and averaging 77.5 points per game. USC won out on the boards as well, 45-41, and tallied a season-high 10 blocks in the victory. Cassie Harberts led all scorers with 19 points, finishing just a rebound away from a double-double with nine on the night. She would climb up in the USC record books as well, taking over at No. 12 all-time with 1,498 career points. Desiree Bradley joined her in double figures with 11 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line, while Alexyz Vaioletama aided the USC cause with a career-high four blocks. Colorado received 13 points from Brittany Wilson and 12 from Ashley Wilson. USC's last win over a ranked team had been a 58-51 victory over No. 24 Gonzaga on Dec. 5, 2011, snapping a stretch of 16 winless games against ranked opponents. Two days later, USC broke out of a late seven-point hole by crafting a 16-0 run into the lead while also forcing five turnovers by visiting Utah in the final 4:20 of play. The Trojans captured their fifth straight win on a 55-47 comeback victory over the Utes, with Cassie Harberts hauling in a double-double and Brianna Barrett pouring in 10 of her final 17 points in the final 2:48 of the game to charge up USC to victory at the Galen Center. Utah was up by one point with 7:25 to go in the first half but would manage only a lone 3-pointer the rest of the way as USC crafted a 23-19 halftime lead. By the break, USC's Cassie Harberts was in double figures for the 11th straight game, leading USC's offensive effort with 11 points as the Trojans shot 33 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes of action. Utah was shooting 29 percent at the break, but was outrebounding the Women of Troy 23-13. The rebounding advantage stayed powerfully in Utah's hands down the stretch, finishing 49-33 in the Utes' favor, but it was the turnover count that spelled doom for Utah. nOnce down by seven with 4:10 to go in the game, USC snapped to attention and put on a press. What followed was a 16-0 USC scoring run, fueled by five Utah turnovers and an 11-of-14 free-throw effort but the Trojans in the final stretch. USC scored more points from the line than it did from the floor in the second half, where the Trojans cooled down to 23 percent shooting. Two buckets from Barrett and another from Kate Oliver in the last 1:30 helped the Trojans pad their lead and finish up the game shooting 28 percent, while Utah wound up at 32 percent. By the final horn, Utah had committed 21 turnovers to only seven by the Women of Troy. Brianna Barrett finished as the hero, netting a career-high 17 points for the Trojans to lead all scorers, while senior Cassie Harberts added 16 for USC along with 11 rebounds to notch her fifth double-double of the season and 21st of her career. Utah's Michelle Plouffe led the Utes with 15 points, and Danielle Rodriguez had 11, with Emily Potter pulling down 11 rebounds.
BEATING THE BRUINS
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 turned the tide on three opponents to kick off the new season, avenging losses taken last season to UC Davis, Fresno State and San Diego State. USC beat the Aggies 64-55 in a season-opening road tilt, then took down Fresno State 63-54 in Fresno. And in the Trojans' home opener, USC topped the Aztecs 65-61 to make it a 3-0 start, marking the first time since the 1998-99 season that USC has made such a winning start.
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 1,498 total points, she has taken over at No. 12 all-time. And with 770 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 484 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 had 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 out 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.