Women's Basketball
    USC Women Brings OSU & Oregon To Town For Two Pac-12 Tilts
    The Women of Troy are looking for another winning weekend at Galen Center.
    The Women of Troy are looking for another winning weekend at Galen Center.

    Jan. 14, 2014

    USC Women's Basketball ReleaseGet Acrobat Reader

    Friday, Jan. 17
    USC (11-6, 4-1) vs. Oregon St. (10-6, 2-2)
    Galen Center -- 6 p.m.
    Pac-12 Networks
    Gametracker

    THE LAST MEETING
    Oregon State57
    USC64
    March 7, 2013
    Seattle, Wash.
    USC Women Lock In On Trip To Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals
    The USC women's basketball team buckled down on Oregon State and stayed in control when it mattered to lock in on a 64-57 win over the Beavers in the first round of the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament today in Seattle. Cassie Harberts hauled in her fourth straight double-double for the Trojans, who were effective in getting to the free-throw line to counter a strong 3-point game by the Beavers. With USC's third straight win, the No. 7 seeded Women of Troy advance into tomorrow's Pac-12 quarterfinals against No. 2 seed California.

    THE LAST MEETING
    USC67
    Oregon62
    January 6, 2013
    Eugene, Ore.
    USC Women Sweep In Pac-12 Road Start
    The USC women's basketball team finished off a road sweep with another gutsy final push to notch a 67-62 victory over host Oregon today in Eugene, Ore. The Trojans have turned a six-game skid into back-to-back wins to open Pac-12 play thanks to this tense trip through Oregon. USC never trailed in the second half, but the Ducks forced three ties in the final five minutes to test the Trojans in their quest for a road sweep. USC is now 5-8 overall and 2-0 in Pac-12 play, while Oregon goes to 2-12, 0-2.

    Sunday, Jan. 19
    USC (11-6, 4-1) vs. Oregon (9-6, 0-4)
    Galen Center -- 2 p.m.
    Pac-12 Networks
    Gametracker

    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team prepares to strike off on a new winning stretch this week when the Women of Troy return to Galen Center for a pair of Pac-12 clashes. USC (11-6, 4-1 Pac-12) goes up against Oregon State (10-6, 2-2) first in a 6 p.m. showdown on Friday (Jan. 17). A win there would give the Trojans some extra momentum going into a 2 p.m. matchup against Oregon (9-6, 0-4) on Sunday (Jan. 19) as USC hopes to have a three-game win streak to pack with it for next week's road trip to the Bay Area. Both games at Galen Center this week will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Both games are being broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with Tammy Blackburn as analyst and Anne Marie Anderson on play-by-play for Friday's USC-OSU game, and Mary Murphy as analyst and Anne Marie Anderson on play-by-play for Sunday's game. A live streaming broadcast is also available online to Pac-12 Network recipients at pac-12.com/networks/pac-12-national/. 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 11th week of 2013-14 competition. Oregon State and Oregon also are both unranked.

    SCOUTING OSU
    The Beavers are 10-6 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play after back-to-back wins over rival Oregon in the past week, netting an 88-80 win in Eugene and an 84-70 win in Corvallis. Jamie Weisner is OSU's top scorer with 15.4 points per game, and Ruth Hamblin leads on the boards with 8.3 rebounds per game. The Beavers went 10-21 overall last season and were 4-14 in Pac-12 play. USC is 39-29 all-time against Oregon State in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season. The Trojans have one the past two meetings, last coming up with a 64-57 win during the first round of the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament to follow a 56-55 win in Corvallis during the regular season. OSU's last win was a 65-61 overtime decision at the Galen Center on Jan. 12, 2012.

    SCOUTING OREGON
    The Ducks were 9-6 overall and 0-4 in Pac-12 play after back-to-back losses to rival Oregon State in the past week, taking an 88-80 loss in Eugene and an 84-70 loss in Corvallis. Chrishae Rowe is OSU's top scorer with 22.6 points per game, followed by Jillian Alleyn with 21.0 points and a team-high 14.2 rebounds per game. The Duck went 4-27 overall last season and were 2-16 in Pac-12 play. USC is 41-17 all-time against Oregon in a series dating back to the 1980-81 season. The Trojans have won the past six meetings against the Ducks, last beating Oregon 67-62 in Eugene during Pac-12 play last season. USC beat Oregon 92-73 when the teams last faced at Galen Center on Jan. 19, 2012. The Ducks' last win over the Trojans was an 85-77 on Jan. 30, 2010 at Galen Center.

    LAST WEEK
    USC came away with a road split last week, falling in its first overtime game of the season with a 94-86 defeat to No. 23 Arizona State and then holding tough against Arizona for a 54-45 win two days later. In Tempe, USC had a five-game win streak snapped in their first Pac-12 loss of the season The Women of Troy had forced OT in dramatic fashion, rallying out of a nine-point hole with 6:20 remaining and equalizing on a 3-pointer from Alexyz Vaioletama with 1.5 ticks to go. The Sun Devils would benefit from USC's foul trouble down the stretch and steal ahead for the late victory. After coming up empty from the floor in the first half and taking on some early fouls, Cassie Harberts broke loose in the second half for the Trojans. Vaioletama, too, found a second-half spark to help get the Trojans out of a 38-33 halftime deficit. Brianna Barrett led all scorers as the only player with double digits at the break, but she would give way to her teammates in the next 20 minutes of play. The Trojans got a career-high 21 points from Vaioletama, who hauled in a double-double on 10 rebounds. Harberts hit double digits with 17 points to go with seven boards for the Trojan cause, joined by Courtney Jaco's career-high 14 points and 12 from Barrett. ASU was led by Deja Mann, who hit three clutch 3-pointers and was 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. Adrianne Thomas added 18 points with an 8-of-9 effort from the stripe, and Promise Amukamara had 11 points while missing just one free throw in six tries on the night. ASU's Katie Hempen also finished in double digits with 13 points. The Trojans would regroup and gut out a road win next, fending off the referees' whistles and a late push from host Arizona to bring home victory. Despite the obstacles and a spirited push by the Wildcats, the Trojans emerged victorious with a 54-45 victory, led once again by a strong day from Vaioletama. The Trojan defense gave up zero offensive rebounds by the Wildcats in building a 24-9 rebounding advantage until Arizona grabbed its first offensive board with 2:45 to go in the first half. That rebounding domination had USC up 26-14 on the boards and 28-17 on the scoreboard by halftime. Neither team was shooting particularly well, but the Trojans got a big boost from five 3-pointers nailed in the first 20 minutes of action. In the second half, USC had a good head of steam going in taking a 42-23 lead thanks to a 12-0 Trojan scoring run. As the foul count swayed heavily against the Trojans, USC also hit a scoring slump. Arizona cut it to a five-point game entering the final two minutes with the Trojans coming up empty from the floor for the last 5:55 of play. But USC freshman Jaco came up big from the free-throw line in the last stretch, going 4-for-4 to put Arizona out of reach. USC finished out the game still out-shooting Arizona, going 34 percent from the floor to pair with a perfect 11-of-11 from the free-throw line and five 3-pointers nailed in the win. Arizona shot 30 percent from the floor. Both teams had just a single player finish in double figures, with USC led by Vaioletama's game-high 16 points and Arizona topped by Candice Warthen's 12 points USC ended up outrebounding Arizona 44-33 in the game.

    TOP-20 TAKEDOWN
    USC tallied its first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 when the Trojans upset No. 12 Colorado 55-45 during a busy stretch of three games in seven days -- all wins by the Women of Troy. On Jan. 3 against the Buffs, USC held No. 12 Colorado scoreless for the first seven minutes and last four minutes in 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.

    STRONG START
    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 1,539 total points, she is just three points away from No. 11 all-time. And with 796 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 499 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 five double-doubles this season to date, she has recorded 21 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 hadn'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 has maintained her constancy for the Trojans, having started every game since coming to Troy as a true freshman. Back from injury this year sophomore point guard Jordan Adams, who has started every game this season, as has junior Alexyz Vaioletama. It wasn't until Jan. 3 that this Trojan squad was bitten by the injury bug, with two starters -- Ariya Crook and Kiki Alofaituli -- sidelined with injuries. Alofaituli missed three games, and Crook has missed four but is expected to return soon.

    X FACTOR
    USC junior Alexyz Vaioletama has come into her own this season. She's nearly doubled her output from last season, going from 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2012-13 to stand as USC's third leading scorer (9.5 ppg) and top rebounder (7.9 rpg) this season. She's recorded her first career double-doubles this season, and last weekend she led the team in scoring in both games, nailing a career-high 21 points (including the game-tying 3-pointer to force OT) at ASU and provided 16 at Arizona.

    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. 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.

    BACKCOURT BLISS
    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 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. Jaco had a big weekend in Arizona, scoring her first double-digit game at ASU (14 pts) and then adding nine points with a 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line at Arizona. The Trojans have also brought 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. Eligible to compete this season after having finished her undergraduate degree in three years at Alabama, Horn has played in all but one game this season. 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.

    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. •