Feb. 12, 2013
USC WBB Release
The USC women's basketball team tuck back into Los Angeles to prep for a wild stretch of Pac-12 play that puts four games in 10 days on the Trojan agenda. All four matchups are against ranked teams, beginning with this week's clash with No. 4 Stanford and No. 6 California. USC (8-15, 5-7 Pac-12) will take on the Cardinal (22-2, 11-1) in an 8 p.m. showdown on Friday (Feb. 15). And on Sunday (Feb. 17), the Trojans take on the Golden Bears (21-2, 11-1) at 2 p.m. Two days later, USC will play its first of back-to-back games against rival UCLA beginning with USC's home finale on Tuesday (Feb. 17) at 8 p.m. All those games will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
THE LAST MEETING
January 20, 2013
Trojans Fall Short To No. 6 Stanford, 75-66
Chiney Ogwumike scored 23 of her 29 points in the second half and added 16 rebounds to help No. 6 Stanford beat Southern California 75-66 on Sunday night. Joslyn Tinkle had 15 points while Sara James added 13 for the Cardinal (16-2, 5-1 in the Pac-12), who won their second straight since having a long conference streak end against California last Sunday. Amber Orrange added 11 points. Cassie Harberts scored 21 points to lead the Trojans (7-10, 4-2 Pac-12), who lost their 11th straight to Stanford. Ariya Crook added 18 points.
THE LAST MEETING
January 17, 2013
Both games this week will be televised by Pac-12 Networks, with Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy on the call. Live stats through GameTracker will also be available online through the USC women's basketball page at usctrojans.com.
On Sunday (Feb. 17), USC will hold a halftime ceremony to honor members of the 1983 and 1984 NCAA Championship teams and raise championship banners to the rafters of Galen Center. The Women of Troy have invited all USC alumnae to join the celebration of USC's women's basketball legacy. Former Trojans of all ages will also be in attendance and honored during the USC-Cal game. Join the festivities and celebrate USC's storied tradition along with USC greats Cheryl Miller, Paula McGee, Linda Sharp, Tammy Story, Rhonda Windham, Adrain Williams and more! Sunday is also our PINK GAME, so wear pink and help the Women of Troy raise breast cancer awareness!
IN THE NATION
USC opened the year receiving votes in the national polls but is now unranked. Stanford sits as the nation's No. 4 team, and Cal ranks No. 6 in this week's AP poll.
USC wound up on the wrong end of two tight games on the road last week, falling in three-point affairs at WSU and Washington to stumble along on a four-game losing skid. In a 57-54 loss at WSU, USC led by as much as 10 points in the first half, but the Cougars closed the gap and took a late lead, holding off the desperate Trojans down the stretch. USC's top scorer Cassie Harberts had just one point at halftime, but the return of senior Christina Marinacci to the lineup packed a counterpunch for the Trojans, as she was 3-for-3 from 3-point land with some clutch bombs to help USC hold 28-23 edge at halftime. USC was shooting 38- percent from the floor at the break to WSU's 32 percent, but the biggest difference for the Trojans was on the boards with a 25-16 advantage through the first 20 minutes of play. USC would stay ahead of the game on the boards, 50-30, but untimely turnovers and missed opportunities down the stretch plagued the Trojans. Harberts would finish with eight points for her first game all season under double digits -- although she did haul in 13 rebounds -- while USC got a game-high 17 from Marinacci and 15 from Ariya Crook to help balance it out. Once again, it was a hot second half by USC's opponents that spelled doom for the Trojans. WSU shot 52 percent in the second half to end the game at 42 percent, while USC shot 27 percent to wrap up at 32 percent in the game. WSU had 10 different players score in the game, led by 11 from Danyelle Awa and 10 from Lia Galdeira. Two days later at Washington, USC flip-flopped that effort with a slow first half and strong second half. USC made a spirited second-half push to put its hosts on their heels, but the Trojans still wound up with another road loss in falling short of Washington 61-58. USC received career days from Deanna Calhoun and Desiree Bradley, whose offensive effort helped key USC's push to a slim lead late in the game. The Huskies' Jazmine Davis would emerge as the top gun on the day, however, scoring Washington's last four points to steal away the lead and the win. In a welcome turnaround from the past few games, USC upped its pressure in the second half. That helped USC dig out from a 10-point halftime hole, but it took a lot of work to get back in the game. Cassie Harberts' 16th points of the day bumped USC ahead 58-57 with 2:45 to go, but the Trojans were unable to score the rest of the way while Washington fought back to win it. Harberts was back in double digits for the Trojans, joined by Ariya Crook with 15 and Desiree Bradley with a career-high 11. Deanna Calhoun was next in line with a career-high eight points for USC, which shot 39 percent from the floor in the game to beat out Washington's 36 percent. USC also improved on the boards, winning out 38-37. But Washington was near-perfect from the free-throw line, hitting 13-of-14 while USC was 5-of-11 from the stripe. Washington got a game-high 24 points from Jazmine Davis, 13 points from Talia Walton and 11 rebounds from Aminah Williams.
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, 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 five consecutive Pac-12 games, however, the Trojans were outscored in the second half, 126-187, until USC finally turned the tide in outscoring Washington 30-23 in a losing effort on Feb. 10.
CAN'T STOP CASSIE
USC junior Cassie Harberts has only missed double-digit scoring in one 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 1,146 career points to date she ranks No. 19 all time at USC. She is hands-down USC's current season leader in scoring (17.9 pg) and rebounding (7.9 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 146-of-215 (.679) tally to date to push her to No. 7 all-time in career free throws made (366). 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 No. 4 Cardinal are 22-2 overall and 11-1 in Pac-12 play with an eight-game win streak that includes last week's 73-43 win over Arizona and 69-45 win over ASU. Chiney Ogwumike leads Stanford and the Pac-12 in scoring with 22.4 points per game, and also leads in rebounding with 12.4 per game. Tara VanDerveer is in her 28th season as head coach at Stanford, which won the Pac-12 title and went on to reach the NCAA Final Four in finishing 35-2 overall. USC is 19-5- all-time against Stanford with 11 straight losses since the Trojans' last win over the Cardinal, a 73-72 victory on Jan. 6, 2008 at Galen Center. Stanford won the last meeting 75-66 last month in Palo Alto.
The No. 6 Golden Bears are 21-2 overall and 11-1 in Pac-12 play with a nine-game win streak after beating ASU 66-53 and Arizona 91-86 last week. Layshia Clarendon leads Cal in scoring with 15.2 points per game, and Gennifer Brandon leads on the boards with 11.6 rebounds per game. Lindsay Gottlieb is in her second season as head coach at Cal, which finished second in the Pac-12 last season at 13-5 and finished 25-10 overall with a trip to the NCAA Second Round. USC is 36-24 all-time against California after the Bears snapped a three-game winning run held by the Trojans, including USC's first season sweep of the Bears since 2004-05 last season, with a 71-63 overtime victory last month in Berkeley.
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.
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 (6.2 ppg) and second on the boards (6.1 rpg), though she was sidelined for eight conference games due to injury. She got back to action on Feb. 8 at WSU and led the Trojans with 17 points in her return.
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 become a fixture in the starting lineup with starts in 12 of the past 14 games, missing the past two games due to injury. 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 75 points in USC's 12 Pac-12 games to date (6.3 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.
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. 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 15 games, scoring 75 points (5.0 ppg) in that span to go along with 65 assists (4.3 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.
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 2011-12 season, but was sidelined by a knee injury that kept her on the bench the remainder of the year. She's still working to return to action as a redshirt sophomore. 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, and had a career day most recently with eight points at Washington on Feb. 10. 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 worked their way into the starting lineups, and are averaging 4.4 and 6.4 points per game, respectively. Oliver 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 walk-on 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. 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.
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.