Women's Basketball
    USC Women Aim For Bounceback Against ASU, Arizona
    Deanna Calhoun and the Women of Troy return home this weekend to face the Arizona schools.

    Deanna Calhoun and the Women of Troy return home this weekend to face the Arizona schools.

    Jan. 22, 2013

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    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team is still in strong position near the top of the Pac-12 pack as the Trojans now return home for more conference play this week. USC (7-10, 4-2 Pac-12) will first host Arizona State (10-8, 2-4) in a 7 p.m. game on Friday (Jan. 25) at Galen Center, before turning to face Arizona (11-6, 3-3) at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 27).

    THE LAST MEETING
    Arizona State53
    USC59
    February 25, 2012
    Galen Center
    USC Surges For Senior Day Win Over ASU
    The USC women's basketball team saw an 11-point lead slip away but regrouped and rallied for a key 59-53 win over visiting Arizona State on Senior Day at the Galen Center today. Christina Marinacci recorded her fourth career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead USC, while senior Ashley Corral's late surge of scoring helped lift the Trojans to victory. USC improves to 16-11 overall and 10-6 in Pac-12 play with its fourth straight win, holding on to third place in the conference standings.

    THE LAST MEETING
    Arizona62
    USC78
    February 23, 2012
    Galen Center
    Gilbreaths Combine Forces For 78-63 USC Win Over Wildcats
    The USC women's basketball team punched up its third straight win in its push toward a winning run to the end of the regular season by registering a 78-62 win over Arizona tonight at the Galen Center. The Trojans pulled out of a see-saw battle in the first half and a late first-half tie-up to peel ahead to a solid victory over the Wildcats. With the win, USC improves to 15-11 overall and takes a spot in third place in the Pac-12 standings at 9-6. Arizona goes to 14-14, 3-13.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Both games this week will be STREAMED ONLINE at with audio broadcast by Jason Schwartz and Daren Flam. Live stats through GameTracker will also 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. Arizona State and Arizona both are also unranked.

    LAST WEEK
    USC made some noise against two top-10 teams last weekend in a competitive trip through the Bay Area, where the Trojans fell in overtime to No. 7 California and put pressure on No. 6 Stanford before falling 75-66. Both games were back-and-forth battles, as the Cal game had eight lead changes and eight ties, and the Stanford game had three lead changes and six ties. Cassie Harberts and Ariya Crook hit double figures in both games for the Trojans, who outscored their opponents in the second half of both games, but were outrebounded in both games for the first time in conference play. Against Cal, USC fought out of a 36-31 halftime deficit and mounted an 11-0 run into the lead in the second half. The Trojans got up by six on two free throws from Crook with 1:42 on the clock, only to see Cal's Gennifer Brandon hit four straight free throws of her own and eventually tie up the game 62-62 with a putback with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. USC couldn't come up with the winner before the buzzer, putting the game into overtime for the second time in Berkeley. In OT, Cal was the aggressor and made the most of USC misses and turnovers to put the Trojans out of reach with a 71-63 victory. On USC's ensuing trip to Stanford, USC followed up a slow first half that saw the Trojans trail the Cardinal 33-20 at halftime with a spirited second half. USC shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half, but Stanford stayed a step ahead at 60 percent. USC trailed by as much as 19 in the second half before the Trojans cut to within six in the final two minutes. Stanford would fend off USC down the stretch, however, finishing off a 75-66 victory over the Trojans.

    TIME FOR A TURNAROUND
    The Trojans turned a six-game skid into four straight wins to open Pac-12 play -- USC's best conference start since the 2004-05 season where the Trojans opened 7-0 -- thanks a winning run through Oregon in USC's first out-of-state action and then two home wins over the Washington schools last weekend. USC had struggled through second-half slumps that left the Trojans out of reach through six straight losses, having been outscored in the second half in five of those six games -- 184-243 total. In Pac-12 play, however. the Trojans have tightened things up and outscored opponents in the second half of all six games, to the tune of a 180-157 advantage in second-half scoring. Twice this season, USC has come back to win after trailing at halftime, at Oregon State and vs. WSU. On Thursday vs. Cal, USC came back from a halftime deficit and took a lead thanks to an 11-0 run, but the Bears were able to force overtime and win it on their home court to hand USC its first loss of conference play. At Stanford, too, USC fought back from a deep halftime deficit to cut to within six in the last two minutes before taking the road loss to the No. 6 Cardinal.

    CAN'T STOP CASSIE
    USC junior Cassie Harberts has found a way to hit double digits in every game this season, and on Jan. 13 the junior broke the 1,000-point barrier, becoming the 24th Trojan all-time to hit that mark. With 1,039 career points to date, Harberts is also USC's current season leader in scoring (17.9 pg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg). Harberts also has spent the most time of all Trojans at the free-throw line, accounting accounted for near half USC's free throw attempts and makes, with a 109-of-158 tally to date to push her to No. 10 all-time in career free throws made (329). Harberts opened this season with three consecutive double-doubles and has since added three more to hold 12 career double-doubles, going along with career highs of 31 points set 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 and recently pumped in a season-high 27 points in USC's win at OSU to help net her first career selection as Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 7.

    SCOUTING ASU
    The Sun Devils are 10-8 overall and 2-4 in Pac-12 play after losing 57-43 at Colorado and falling 66-46 at Utah last week. Janae Fulcher leads the team in scoring with 11.5 points per game, and Joy Burke leads on the boards with 5.9 rebounds per game. Charli Turner Thorne is in her 16th season as head coach of the Sun Devils, who went 2012 overall in reaching the WNIT First Round last season after finishing fourth at 10-8 in Pac-12 play. USC is 52-18 all-time against ASU after a sweep of the Sun Devils last season. USC beat ASU 60-48 in Tempe and 59-53 at Galen Center in 2012.

    SCOUTING ARIZONA
    The Wildcats are 11-6 overall and 3-3 in Pac-12 play after beating Utah 62-58 and losing to Colorado 79-36. Davellyn Whyte leads Arizona in scoring with 16.4 points per game, and Erica Barnes leads on the boards with 6.1 rebounds per game. Niya Butts is in her fifth season as head coach of the Wildcats, who went 15-17 overall and finished last in the Pac-12 at 3-15 last season. USC is 50-20 all-time against Arizona after a sweep of the Wildcats last season. USC beat Arizona 72-67 in Tucson and 78-62 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 last season) 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. To date in her senior season, she's fourth on the team in scoring (5.7 ppg) and second on the boards (6.1 rpg) and in steals (16).

    OLIVER ON THE LOOSE
    Finally active for the Trojans after sitting out last season as a transfer from Marist, USC's tallest player in the mix is 6-4 Australian product Kate Oliver. Her patience on the comeback trail has paid off. One of Oliver's biggest games to date came against the nation's No. 4 team, as the junior tallied a double-double against Duke (15 points, 10 rebounds). Now she's a fixture in the starting lineup with starts in the past nine games. With 6.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, Oliver also holds a team-high 22 blocks. In Pac-12 play, Oliver is averaging 7.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game thanks in part to her third double-double of the year at Cal.

    X FACTOR
    After scoring just 15 points in USC's first eight games of the 2012-13 season, sophomore Alexyz Vaioletama seems to have found a rhythm and a role in the Trojan lineup. She has pumped in 58 points in the past eight games (7.3 ppg), including 10-point games against Duke, Oregon, Washington and Stanford, and a whopping 13 rebounds vs. Cal. Her last two points at OSU were the difference in that one, as Vaioletama was the hero of the game in slipping in the buzzer-beating layup to beat the Beavers in Corvallis. Two days later, she hit a career-high three 3-pointers on her way to a 10-point day in that USC win at Oregon. She's hit eight threes in the past five games.

    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. The three true freshmen have combined to provide 13.3 points per game so far. Adams and Gibbs were in the starting lineup together for the first seven games of the year, while Barrett had been an early sub for the backcourt. Most recently, though, Barrett has been the top producer of the bunch. She has started the past nine games, scoring 64 points (7.2 ppg) in that span to go along with 48 assists (5.3 apg)thanks in large part to 10 vs. Washington and nine apiece in games vs. Duke and Oregon.

    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 3.6 and 6.4 points per game, respectively. Oliver recently tallied her third career double-double as a Trojan with 10 points and 10 rebounds on Jan. 17 at Cal.

    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.

    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.

    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.