Women's Basketball
    USC Women Head To Washington To Face Cougars, Huskies

    Alexyz Vaioletama and the Women of Troy aim to conquer the Washington schools this week.

    Feb. 5, 2013

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    The USC women's basketball team leaves a rough home stand behind as the Trojans hit the road this week to turn the corner into the second half of Pac-12 play. USC (8-13, 5-5 Pac-12) will first pay a visit to Washington State (8-13, 4-6) for a 6 p.m. game on Friday (Feb. 8) in Pullman. Then it's over to Seattle to take on Washington (16-5, 8-2) with a 1 p.m. tilt on Sunday (Feb. 10).

    Washington State59
    January 13, 2013
    Galen Center
    Women of Troy Win Wild Finish Over WSU
    The USC women's basketball team received a heroic pair of free throws from sophomore guard Ariya Crook with less than a second remaining to net a dramatic 61-59 Trojan victory over visiting Washington State today at Galen Center. The Trojans endured 12 lead changes in the game as Crook's free throws answered a WSU 3-pointer that had the game tied with four seconds left. The USC victory is the fourth straight for the Trojans, who have turned a six-game losing skid into a winning start to Pac-12 play, as USC is off to its best conference start since the 2004-05 season and is currently atop the Pac-12 standings at 4-0 alongside rival UCLA. USC is now 7-8 overall with that 4-0 Pac-12 effort. WSU goes to 5-10, 1-3 with today's tight loss to the Trojans.

    January 11, 2013
    Galen Center
    Winning Run Continues For USC Women, Topping Washington 81-72
    The USC women's basketball team put up a season-high 81 points - the most by the Trojans in a game in almost a full year - to tally its third straight win and stay undefeated at 3-0 in Pac-12 play with tonight's 81-72 win over visiting Washington. USC had four players finish in double figures for the second game in a row, led once again by Cassie Harberts with 24 points. USC improves to 6-8 overall to go with that 3-0 conference mark, while Washington moves to 10-4, 2-1. It's USC's first 3-0 start to conference play since the 2004-05 season, when USC opened up 7-0.

    Both games this week will be streamed online on pac-12.com. The USC-WSU game STEAM LIVE HERE, and the USC-UW game will STREAM LIVE HERE.

    USC opened the year receiving votes in the national polls but is now unranked. Washington State and Washington both are also unranked, although the Huskies are receiving votes in this week's AP poll.

    USC stumbled at home with two sluggish second-half efforts last week, falling 63-60 to Utah and 65-49 to Colorado at Galen Center. Against the Utes, USC lost the lead early in the second half and couldn't find an answer as the Trojans came up short of visiting Utah. A 10-point hole proved too deep for the Trojans, who saw Utah stay a step ahead down the stretch. Ariya Crook and Cassie Harberts combined for 29 of USC's 34 second-half points, finishing with 20 and 19 points, respectively, for the Trojans. But the hot hands of the Utes proved more balanced than the Women of Troy. Utah heated up in the second half to eclipse USC's 26-24 halftime advantage as the Utes shot 57 percent in the second half to finish at 44 percent in the game. USC shot 34 percent from the floor in the game and just 18 percent from 3-point range - another category that Utah owned in nailing 7-of-12 threes in the game. That advantage from beyond the arc helped open up opportunities for Utah's Iwalani Rodrigues, who scored 10 straight points for the Utes during the second half in finishing with a game-high 23. Michelle Plouffe added 14, and Paige Crozon had 13 for Utah. USC did finish ahead on the boards, 40-30, led by 12 from Alexyz Vaioletama. Teams were both hitting at right around a 31-percent clip by halftime, but it was Utah's 3-point attack helped keep pressure on the Trojans in the first half. Five of Utah's seven field goals made in the first half came from beyond the arc, as the Utes led by as much as four thanks to that 3-point effort. It was a concerted USC rebounding effort that aided the Trojan cause, with USC outrebounding Utah 23-15 as the Trojans took a 26-24 lead into the locker room. Against No. 22 Colorado, USC threw away a chance at its first win over a ranked team after another second-half letdown. 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's strong effort from beyond the arc in the first half fizzled in the second, while Colorado upped its efforts on the boards and on defense. USC committed 13 turnovers in the second half, and 19 total as Colorado built a lead that proved insurmountable for the Trojans. The Buffs shot 40 percent in the game to USC's 28 percent, and outrebounded the Trojans 44-29 in the game. Colorado's Jeffery had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Arielle Robertson led all with 16 points on the day. The Buffs also received 12 points from Brittany Wilson and 11 from Lexy Kresl. USC was led once again by its fearless warrior Cassie Harberts, who finished with 14 points for the Trojans, with Ariya Crook adding 10.

    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, the Trojans tightened things up and outscored opponents in the second half of the first six straight 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. At 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. In the past four Pac-12 games, however Trojans have been outscored in the second half, 100-153.

    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 1,103 career points to date she ranks No. 20 all time at USC. She is hands-down USC's current season leader in scoring (18.7 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 134-of-195 (.687) tally to date to push her to No. 8 all-time in career free throws made (354). Harberts opened this season with three consecutive double-doubles and has since added four more to hold 13 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.

    The Cougars are 8-13 overall and 4-6 in Pac-12 play after beating ASU 54-43 and Arizona 60-50 last week. Liz Galdeira leads WSU with 14.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. June Daugherty is in her sixth season as head coach of the Cougars, who went 13-20 overall and finished 11th in the Pac-12 at 5-13 last season. USC is 44-13 all-time against WSU after beating the Cougars 61-59 last month in Pac-12 play at Galen Center.

    The Huskies enter the week 16-5 overall and 6-2 in Pac-12 play after extending their win streak to six in a row with a 74-65 win over Arizona and a 74-61 win over ASU last week. Jazmine Davis is the Huskies' top scorer with 19.8 points per game, and Aminah Williams leads on the boards with 10.8 rebounds per game. Kevin McGuff is in his second season as head coach of the Huskies, who went 20-14 overall last season with a trip to the WNIT Quarterfinals after going 10-8 in Pac-12 play. USC is 29-29 all-time against Washington beating the Huskies 81-72 last month in Pac-12 play at Galen Center.

    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.

    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), though she's been sidelined for the past eight games due to injury.

    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 12 games. With 6.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, Oliver also holds a team-high 27 blocks. In Pac-12 play, Oliver is averaging 7.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game thanks in part to her third double-double of the year at Cal.

    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 70 points in USC's 10 Pac-12 games to date (7.0 ppg), including 10-point games against Duke, Oregon, Washington and Stanford, and a whopping 13 rebounds vs. Cal and 12 vs. Utah. 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. As a freshman, Vaioletama made a total of two 3-pointers all season. This season, she's second on the team with 16 threes, including 11 during Pac-12 play.

    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. 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 12 games, scoring 71 points (5.9 ppg) in that span to go along with 60 assists (5.0 apg) thanks in large part to 10 vs. Washington and nine apiece in games vs. Duke and Oregon. Adams has been sidelined for the remainder of the season following knee surgery in late January.

    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 4.3 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.

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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.

    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.