Women's Basketball
    USC Women Visit Two Ranked Foes In Bay Area Trip
    USC is aiming to squash a ranked team or two this week in the Bay Area.
    USC is aiming to squash a ranked team or two this week in the Bay Area.

    Jan. 21, 2014

    USC Women's Basketball ReleaseGet Acrobat Reader

    Friday, Jan. 24
    USC (13-6, 6-1) at #16 California (13-4, 5-1)
    Berkeley, Calif. -- 6 p.m.
    Pac-12 Networks

    THE LAST MEETING
    USC59
    California (Quarterfinals)78
    March 8, 2013
    Seattle, Wash.
    USC Women Fall To No. 5 Cal In Pac-12 Tournament
    The USC women's basketball team came up against a determined Cal squad in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament today in Seattle. The No. 2 seeded Bears took full advantage of dry spells by the No. 7 seeded Trojans in both halves, and pushed out to a 78-59 victory that snapped a three-game win streak held by the Women of Troy. The USC loss leaves the Trojans with an 11-20 overall record this season. Cal, ranked No. 5 in the nation, improves to 28-2 overall and advances to tomorrow's tournament semifinals.

    THE LAST MEETING
    Stanford79
    USC55
    February 15, 2013
    Galen Center
    No. 4 Stanford Outpaces USC Women
    The USC women's basketball team was overmatched by a tough No. 4 Stanford squad tonight, falling 79-55 to the Cardinal at Galen Center. Stanford received 55 points from its post players Chiney Ogwumike, Joslyn Tinkle and Mikaela Ruef as the Cardinal shot 44 percent from the floor in the game to USC's 33 percent. USC goes to 8-16 overall and 5-8 in Pac-12 play with its fifth straight loss Stanford improves to 23-2, 12-1.

    Monday, Jan. 27
    USC (13-6, 6-1) at #4 Stanford (17-1, 6-0)
    Palo Alto, Calif. -- 6 p.m.
    ESPN2

    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team already has collected more total wins than it did all of last season, and this week the Trojans puts their powerful Pac-12 record up against two ranked opponents on an extended trip to the Bay Area. The Women of Troy have already served up an upset of ranked conference-mate Colorado, and took ranked Arizona State to overtime, so USC is certainly a team on the rise as teams near the midway point of Pac-12 play. USC (13-6, 6-1 Pac-12) will first face off against No. 16 California (13-4, 5-1) in a 6 p.m. game on Friday (Jan. 24) in Berkeley. After a two-day break, the Trojans return to action with a showdown at No. 4 Stanford (17-1, 6-0) on Monday (Jan. 27) in Palo Alto.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Friday's USC-Cal game will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with Mary Murphy 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/networks/pac-12-national/. Monday's USC-Stanford matchup will be broadcast live on ESPN2, with Dave Pasch on play-by-play and analysis from Rebecca Lobo and Bill Walton. Live stats will be available for the respective games through links on the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.

    IN THE NATION
    USC is unranked but is receiving votes in the national polls as the Trojans enter the 12th week of 2013-14 competition. Cal is ranked highest at No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and is No. 19 in this week's AP poll. Stanford ranks No. 4 both polls.

    SCOUTING CAL
    The No. 16 Golden Bears are 13-4 overall and 5-1 in Pac-12 play after taking a 68-59 loss at Arizona State and beating Arizona 79-64 last week. Reshanda Gray leads Cal in scoring and rebounding with 16.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Bears went 32-4 overall last season and were 17-1 in Pac-12 play on the way to an appearance in the NCAA Final Four. USC is 36-26 all-time against California in a series that dates back to the 1978-79 season. The Bears have won the past three meetings -- all in games played last season -- last coming up with a 78-59 win during the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament. USC's last win was a 76-75 overtime decision in Berkeley on Feb. 11, 2012.

    SCOUTING STANFORD
    The No. 4 Cardinal is 17-1 overall and 6-0 in Pac-12 play after beating Arizona 96-52 and ASU 80-56 last week. Chiney Ogwumike leads Stanford in scoring and rebounding with 27.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game, respectively. The Cardinal went 33-3 overall last season and were 17-1 in Pac-12 play on the way to an appearance in the NCAA Regional Semifinal. USC is 19-51 all-time against Stanford in a series that dates back to the 1978-79 season. The Cardinal have won the past 12 meetings, last coming up with a 79-55 win last season at the Galen Center. In USC's last trip to Maples, the Cardinal got a 75-66 win over the Trojans. USC's last win was a 73-72 victory at Galen Center on Jan. 6, 2008.

    LAST WEEK
    USC inked two important Pac-12 wins into the books last week with Friday's powerful 81-60 victory over visiting Oregon State and a record-setting 109-85 win over Oregon at Galen Center. Against the Beavers, it was a career day for USC senior Cassie Harberts and junior Ariya Crook, who both cracked the all-time top-10 in different categories. Harberts passed up USC head coach and Trojan great Cynthia Cooper on the all-time scoring list, while Crook broke the century mark in career 3-pointers to climb to No. 10 there. Harberts first worked her way up to No. 11 all-time in career scoring when she helped charge the Trojans along on a 16-0 scoring run to put the Beavers behind by double digits during the first half. Harberts' final haul of a game-high 22 points took over the No. 10 spot in USC scoring history, while she also gathered in her 800th career rebound. With that extra boost of a 16-0 scoring run, USC had overmatched OSU's scoring effort with a 47-percent outing from the floor in the first half of play, while the Beavers hit 33 percent to trail the Trojans 42-29 at the break. USC hit the afterburners in the second half, heating up with a 48-percent effort from the floor. USC would finish out the game shooting 47.5 percent to OSU's 35.7 percent. The Beavers won out on the boards 42-28, but the Trojan defense forced 30 turnovers out of the Beavers en route to the powerful 81-60 victory. USC finished with nine different scorers on the night, led by Harberts' 22 points and getting 15 from Alexyz Vaioletama and 14 from Crook. Vaioletama also had a game-high nine rebounds for the Trojans. Oregon State was led by Deven Hunter and Sydney Weise with 11 points apiece. Two days later, became the first team ever to score 100 points at the Galen Center with the Trojans' 109-85 victory over visiting Oregon. The fast-paced game saw 12 different Women of Troy score -- led by 30 points from Harberts -- as USC built up its highest-scoring game since 1982. Oregon's gameplan played out better for the Trojans than the Ducks. In the first 20 minutes of action, USC shot 71 percent from the floor, leading Oregon 50-32 at the break with eight different Women of Troy in the scoring column. USC cooled to 60 percent in the second half, but still outpaced the Ducks, who shot 43 percent in the half to wind up at 37 percent in the game. USC's 64-percent effort in the game marked a season best, while the Trojans' whopping 109 final points notched the 34th triple-digit game in USC women's program history and the first ever at Galen Center by any team -- men's or women's. USC also dished out 33 assists in the game -- second most in program history. Crook matched her career best with seven to lead all, while Harberts served up a career-high six assists and Kaneisha Horn had five. Harberts finished up just one point away from her career high, tallying 30 points today. Freshman Courtney Jaco, meanwhile, matched her career high with 14 points on a 5-of-6 effort from the floor. Crook scored 13 for USC, with Horn and Desiree Bradley adding 10 apiece. Horn's 10 points was her first double-digit game as a Trojan. Oregon had four players finish in double figures, led by 21 points and 17 rebounds from Jillian Alleyne. Her effort on the boards had Oregon beating USC 43-33 in rebounding.

    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 1,591 total points, she has overtaken USC head coach and Trojan great Cynthia Cooper as USC's No. 10 all-time leading scorer. And with 807 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 503 free throws made. As a freshman, Harberts tallied a 31-point game, which was the most points scored by a Trojan freshman since 1981. On Jan. 19, 2013, she tallied her second career 30-point game in leading the Trojans to a 109-85 victory over Oregon -- making the Women of Troy the first team, male or female, ever to score in triple digits at the Galen Center. Harberts also picked up the Pac-12 Player of the Week selection following the win. During her USC career to date Harberts 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 a pair of 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 22 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 missed the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season. At 13-6 overall this season, the 2013-14 Trojans have already passed up last year's total win mark of 11.

    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 returned to action on Jan. 17.

    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 (7.6 rpg) as a junior. She's recorded her first career double-doubles this season, and while in Arizona 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, and finished her career as USC's No. 9 all-time rebounder (738), 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. Cassie 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
    USC has two true freshmen and three transfers added to the roster for this season. Drew Edelman and Courtney Jaco comprise the Trojan freshman class, with Edelman standing tall as a 6-foot-4 powerhouse under the basket. Fellow newcomer Jaco is fitting in nicely at the point guard position has shown her knack for knocking down 3-pointers. 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. Maria Kemiji-McDonald has walked on to the team after a year at Michigan.

    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 face eight teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last year, and 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. •