Feb. 10, 2015
USC Women's Basketball Release Friday, Feb. 13
USC (13-10, 5-7 Pac-12) at #19 Stanford (17-7, 9-3)
Palo Alto, Calif. -- 6 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Sunday, Feb. 15
THE LAST MEETING
January 25, 2015
No. 11 Stanford Stays Ahead Of USC Women For 71-60 Win At Galen Center
The USC women's basketball team owned the boards once again but couldn't match a hot shooting night by visiting No. 11 Stanford in tonight's 71-60 loss to the Cardinal at Galen Center. Jordan Adams and Kaneisha Horn both hauled in double-doubles for the Trojans against the high-powered Cardinal, helping USC gather in 41 rebounds on the night. Stanford would counter by shooting 50 percent from the floor, however, to keep the Trojans out of reach down the stretch. USC goes to 11-8 overall and 3-5 in Pac-12 play with the loss. No. 11 Stanford improves to 15-5, 7-1.
THE LAST MEETING
January 23, 2015
USC Women Stumble In Clash With Cal
The USC women's basketball team was right in the thick of it against visiting California through the first 25 minutes of action tonight at Galen Center before the Golden Bears maneuvered into control. After 10 ties and nine lead changes, it was Cal that pulled out ahead and stayed there, pinning up an eventual 67-53 victory over the Women of Troy. USC goes to 11-7 overall and 3-4 in Pac-12 play with the loss, while Cal improves to 13-5, 5-2.
USC (13-10, 5-7 Pac-12) at California (18-5, 10-2)
Berkeley, Calif. -- 6:30 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
The USC women's basketball team got a boost from a winning weekend at home as the Trojans now turn toward a Pac-12 journey to the Bay Area. USC (13-10, 5-7 Pac-12) will first square off against No. 19 Stanford (17-7, 9-3) in a 6 p.m. clash on Friday (Feb. 13) in Palo Alto. Then, the Women of Troy are bound for Berkeley to take on California (18-5, 10-2) at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 15).
Both games are being broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with Mary Murphy as analyst and Krista Blunk on play-by-play for Friday's USC-Stanford game. For Sunday's broadcast, Elise Woodward will be the analyst with Guy Haberman 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/. Live stats also will be available through links on the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.
IN THE NATION
The Trojans received votes in the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll, but does not appear in this week's national polls. Stanford is ranked No. 19 in this week's AP and USA Today Coaches polls, and Cal is unranked but receiving votes in both polls.
USC worked back into the win column with two strong efforts at Galen Center, beating Utah 73-54 on Friday night and then taking down Colorado 66-51 on Sunday. Against Utah, the Women of Troy kept a steady pace and put the Utes well out of reach down the stretch to snap a five-game skid. Utah went to 7-14, 1-9 with the loss. USC dug out of a three-point hole in the early stages of the first half with an 11-0 run that got the Trojans into the lead for the duration. Hitting at a 45-percent clip, the Trojans were able to stay out ahead of the Utes, who shot 36 percent in the first half. USC had two Trojans already in double figures by the break, with McKenzie Calvert at 11 points and Kaneisha Horn holding 10 as USC led Utah 36-21 at halftime. The Utes would cut the lead down to single digits during the second half, but the Women of Troy pieced together a 12-1 scoring surge that left Utah out of reach as USC pressed on to victory. The Trojans finished up the game shooting 47 from the floor to overmatch Utah's 45 percent. USC also owned the boards to the tune of a 37-32 advantage. USC finished up the game with three players in double figures. Freshman McKenzie Calvert was the top producer for the Trojans with 16 points, followed by Kaneisha Horn's 11 points and 10 from Brianna Barrett. Alexyz Vaioletama also went big on the boards with 10 rebounds in the win. Utah was paced by a game-high 21 points from Taryn Wicijowski. On Sunday, USC topped off a season sweep of Utah and Colorado by following up Friday's win over the Utes with a 66-51 win over the Buffs. It was slow going on both ends to start out the game, but each team managed scoring surges to take turns in the lead. A 7-0 run by the Trojans carried them to a nine-point lead around the midway point of the first half, only to see Colorado erase its deficit and rally back out ahead on a 10-0 answering cry. USC was shooting a cool 27 percent from the floor through those first 20 minutes of action to trail Colorado's 31 percent shooting as the Buffs held a 23-21 lead at halftime. USC would up its production and its intensity on the boards in the second half. Outrebounded 25-19 in the first half, USC fought back to end up even at 36 apiece on the boards. Offensively, USC heated up in the second half and made a 22-2 rally into the lead for good. The Trojans finished out shooting 35 percent overall, while Colorado wrapped at 33 percent. USC also matched its best performance of the season from the free-throw line, shooting 80 percent from the stripe with a 20-of-25 effort. USC senior Kaneisha Horn continued her consistent production in leading the Trojans with 15 points for her fifth straight game in double figures. She and fellow senior Alexyz Vaioletama overcame first-half foul trouble to each score 10 second-half points. That accounted for all of Vaioletama's scoring in the game, as she was one of four Trojans in double figures with her 10 points to go with 13 from freshman Kristen Simon and 10 from Jordan Adams, who was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Horn and Vaioletama also were tops on the boards for USC with seven rebounds apiece. Colorado was paced by Jamee Swan's double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, with Lexy Kresl also adding 14 points.
BIG ON THE BOARDS
The Women of Troy are leading the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds (14.7 per game through Feb. 6). USC was particularly impressive on the boards Jan. 23 and 25, when the Trojans hauled in 25 offensive rebounds vs. Cal and then tallied 20 vs. Stanford -- outrebounding both teams overall as well. In all, USC has grabbed 20 or more offensive rebounds in four games. The top rebounders for the Trojans are Kaneisha Horn and Alexyz Vaioletama, who average 7.0 and 6.9 rebounds per game, respectively, to date. Both seniors have upped their aggression on the boards in conference play, too. Vaioletama is averaging 7.8 rebounds per game in Pac-12 play, and Horn is up to 7.3 in conference games.
CALVERT CAPTURES CONFERENCE HONORS
USC's McKenzie Calvert became the first Trojan to earn Pac-12 accolades this season with her selection as Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Jan. 5. She is the first USC freshman ever to win the award, which began in 2012. The guard took over as USC's top scorer on the season thanks to back-to-back double-digit games for the Trojans to kick off Pac-12 play. Calvert served up a team-high 16 points in a loss to UCLA and then came up with a 12-point outing along with a career-high five rebounds in a solid win over Oregon. Now averaging 10.5 points per game and standing as the team's second leading scorer, Calvert trails only sophomore Courtney Jaco in total threes made with 28 makes to date. The freshman has hit double figures in 10 games for the Women of Troy, highlighted by a career-high 21 points nailed vs. Cal State Northridge on Dec. 9. She also hit a team-high 20 at Colorado and had 12 at UCLA.
The Cardinal is 17-7 overall and 9-3 in Pac-12 play after losing to ASU 53-52 and to Arizona 60-57 last week. Lili Thompson leads Stanford in scoring with 14.0 points per game, and Kaylee Johnson leads on the boards with 10.5 rebounds per game. Stanford returns two starters from last year's team, which went 33-4 overall after a 17-1 finish in Pac-12 play first place and a trip to the NCAA Final Four. USC is 20-54 all-time against Stanford after a 71-60 loss to the Cardinal last month at Galen Center. Last season, USC snapped a 14-game losing skid to the Cardinal with last year's upset win in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. That 72-68 win for USC was its first over Stanford since the 2007-08 season. Previously last season, Stanford had beaten USC 86-59 in Palo Alto and 64-59 at Galen Center.
The Golden Bears enter the week 18-5 overall and 10-2 in Pac-12 play while riding a seven-game win streak that includes a 65-46 win over Arizona and a 50-49 win over ASU last week. Reshanda Gray leads Cal in scoring with 17.8 points per game, and Brittany Boyd leads on the boards with 7.6 rebounds per game. Cal returns three starters from last year's team, which went 22-10 overall after a 13-5 finish in Pac-12 play for a tie for second place and a trip to the NCAA Second Round. USC is 37-28 all-time against Cal after a 67-53 loss to the Bears last month at Galen Center. Last season, the Trojans beat the Bears 77-70 last year in Berkeley and then lost 76-67 in the rematch at Galen Center.
A big key to success for the Trojans in 2014-15 has been a well-balanced attack. Nine of USC's 10 active players have each hit double digits at least once this season. And USC has had four or more different scorers hit double digits in nine games. Even in a season-opening loss at now-top-ranked South Carolina, USC had three players hit double digits, with career highs set for all three -- Kaneisha Horn (11 pts), McKenzie Calvert (11 pts) and Drew Edelman (10 pts). Two days later at Davidson, USC had all five starters score in double figures. The trend continued with Jordan Adams, Brianna Barrett and Alexyz Vaioletama staying the most consistent during USC's five-game win streak. That run was snapped when just two Trojans hit double digits in a loss at Saint Mary's, but the Trojans reloaded for the very next game and landed four more double-digit scorers in a win over CSUN on Dec. 9. On Dec. 14 against Sacramento State, USC piled season-best six players in double figures, with Kiki Alofaituli, Barrett and Horn each recording the first double-doubles of their careers. To date, USC has four players averaging double-digit scoring. Senior Vaioletama leads all with 11.9 ppg, followed by freshman Calvert at 10.5 and with senior Horn and junior Barrett even at 10.0 ppg apiece. As a team, USC has shot over 50 percent from the floor in six games and is shooting 41.5 percent overall, including a 31.9 percent effort from beyond the arc. Outside of two wins vs. Utah and the first at Colorado, the only games with three or fewer USC players in double digits have been losses (South Carolina, Saint Mary's, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford and Oregon). The anomalies were big wins with just three double-digit scorers at Colorado and at home vs. Utah, and then a low-scoring win at Utah with a season-low 46 points on 30.4 percent shooting with just Barrett finishing in double digits.
TIME TO SHINE
Now 23 games deep into the 2014-15 season, there are at least four Trojans who have truly stepped up their production significantly. Jordan Adams, Kaneisha Horn and Courtney Jaco have each more than doubled their scoring from last season, filling an important offensive void left by USC's departed players from last season. What's more, senior Alexyz Vaioletama has upped her game even more. She had doubled her effort from her sophomore season to her junior season, and now as a senior she's going even bigger. Vaioletama tops the Trojans with 11.9 points per game after a junior campaign in which she averaged 8.6 ppg. Also this season, Adams set a career high and scored the winning baskets for the Trojans with 15 points in USC's overtime win at Long Beach State. She'd up that with a 21-point outing recently vs. Cal. After producing just 2.8 points per game last season, Adams has upped her game and is scoring 7.2 points per game to go along with 3.7 assists per game. Now a senior after playing her first season at USC last year as a transfer, Horn notched a new career high with 11 in USC's opener at South Carolina and has since almost doubled that in scoring 20 vs. Sacramento State. She's now up to 10.0 points per game after going for 3.0 last season and has notched her first career double-doubles this season. Another Trojan who has flourished with a year under her belt is Jaco. A sophomore, Jaco nailed five 3-pointers at Long Beach State to set her career best with 15 points in that one. She averaged 3.7 ppg as a freshman and is at 7.1 ppg this season for the Women of Troy with 17 starts. Jaco also stands as USC's top 3-point shooter with 36 makes to date.
THE NEW CLASS
USC's freshman class is a unique blend, and together earned a ranking of No. 13 in the nation according to All Star Girls Report. Guard McKenzie Calvert has been called upon to get up to speed fast for the Trojan backcourt, while posts Amy Okonkwo and Kristen Simon have made an impact down low. The entire group has already made their presence known in the scoring column. Calvert leads the pack with 10.5 points per game with six starts in her 21 appearances, and is shooting 36.0 percent from 3-point range. Simon has stepped in for 2 games and is averaging 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Okonkwo has appeared in 21 games and is averaging 2.7 ppg. Freshman Chyanne Butler played in USC's second game of the season at Davidson and then requested her release from the program.
TAKING ON TOP TEAMS
USC face four fellow NCAA Tournament teams (South Carolina, Fresno State, Cal State Northridge and Oklahoma State) during the nonconference stretch this season. Of those squads, the Gamecocks and the Cowgirls finished 2013-14 in the national rankings. Pac-12 play will put another set of four NCAA Tournament teams on tap for the Trojans. In addition to USC's postseason journey, the conference saw Arizona State, California, Stanford and Oregon State take trips into 2014 NCAA action, while four more Pac-12 teams played in the WNIT last season. So far this season, USC is 0-5 against ranked teams (No. 2 South Carolina, No. 16 Oklahoma State, No. 11/7 Oregon State and No. 11 Stanford).
TUNE IN TO THE TROJANS
The 2014-15 Women of Troy will get plenty of face-time this season with 17 regular-season USC women's basketball games scheduled to be televised this season on the Pac-12 Networks. All but two conferences game are due to be televised. All told, USC face eight teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last year, and play a total of nine regular-season contests against teams that were either ranked or receiving votes in the final national polls last season. All non-televised USC home games will be streamed live at http://pac-12.com/videos/university-southern-california.
When the 2015-16 season rolls around, USC will have a set of three new Trojans ready for their first action. The most recent addition to that crew comes with the transfer of guard Sadie Edwards (Meridan, Conn.) to USC from UConn. She is currently enrolled in classes and is practicing with her team at Troy, but her eligibility for competition won't kick in until Jan. 2016. Meanwhile, USC has signed two newcomers to national letters of intent to join the Women of Troy as true freshmen for 2015-16 -- forward Marguerite Effa (Los Angeles) and guard Aliyah Mazyck (Charlotte, N.C.).
THE CHAMPS ARE BACK
Coming off the program's first-ever Pac-12 Tournament Championship and a return to the NCAA Tournament scene, the USC women's basketball team has raised its profile as the Women of Troy dig into their 2014-15 campaign. Under the guidance of second-year head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, this season's squad is taking that taste of victory and staying hungry for more. Although the bulk of USC's scoring numbers came from two Trojans in particular last season, USC's secret weapon during its run to the conference crown was the ability for different players to shoulder the load at key moments. Sure, the All-Tournament Team honorees Cassie Harberts and Ariya Crook gave USC big boosts throughout the season, but it was the breakout performances of Alexyz Vaiolatama, Kiki Alofaituli, Brianna Barrett and Kate Oliver that packed the crucial extra punches as the Trojans pushed through the postseason. Harberts and Oliver have since graduated, and Crook has been dismissed from the program due to violation of team and university policy, but the Women of Troy are still a force to reckon with. Harberts and Crook combined for over 1,000 points last season, but it was Vaioletama who ran the rebounding game for the Women of Troy. A captain again this season, Vaioletama looms large as a standout senior now. She doubled her production from her sophomore season to her junior year, averaging 8.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season. Not far behind her on the scoring front was Barrett, now a junior guard, who busted open some huge performances last year and looks primed for more. She hit 24 points for the Trojans in their return to the NCAA Tournament, going big in USC's NCAA First Round loss to St. John's in Knoxville, Tenn. Let it be noted, too, that Vaioletama was huge on the boards in that one, hauling in 11 rebounds in USC's season finale.
USC made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since the 2005-06 season after earning the league's automatic bid after winning the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time in school history. USC upset regular-season champion and top-5 ranked Stanford to reach the title game in head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke's first year at the helm. With a 22-13 overall record and an 11-7 Pac-12 finish Trojans had more overall wins and Pac-12 wins than a year ago. USC posted an upset of then-No. 12 Colorado for their first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 and also had a big upset at No. 23/22 California. Six of the team's seven league losses were by 10 points or less. USC opened the 2013-14 campaign with a 3-0 start, the team's best since 1998-99. Junjor Ariya Crook and senior Cassie Harberts led the team in scoring, averaging 15.8 and 15.4 ppg, respectively, while Harberts grabbed 7.3 rpg. Crook was named Most Oustanding Player of the Pac-12 Tournament while Harberts was named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament Team and to the All-Pac-12 team for the second year in a row. Harberts was also honored by the WBCA as an all-region team member. Also earning All-Pac-12 accolades were Brianna Barrett (Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention), Courtney Jaco (Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention) and Alexyz Vaioletama (Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention).