Happy Returns For USC Women's Basketball
July 22, 2013
Return seems to be the key and exciting word when talking about the USC women's basketball program. Two-time NCAA champion while at USC and former WNBA all-star Cynthia Cooper-Dyke returned home to Troy as the new head coach on April 12 and brought with her a great deal of excitement to the program.
Another reason for optimism for USC is the return of the entire roster minus graduated senior Christina Marinacci. Including the two freshmen added to this year's team, center Drew Edelman and guard Courtney Jaco, USC will have 11 of its 14 players eligible to return the following season. With all these pieces in place, USC hopes that the foundation is being laid for a return to glory.
Perhaps no one could be more perfect to lead the Trojans than Cooper-Dyke who was on USC's 1983 and 1984 national championship teams and averaged 12.9 points, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals during her Trojan career, a career in which the Women of Troy posted a 114-15 record. She then went on to win an Olympic gold medal and four WNBA titles, and as a head coach resurrected three collegiate programs.
The top returner on the 2013-14 USC team is 6-2 senior forward Cassie Harberts. She led USC last season with 18.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and set the Trojan all-time single-season record for free throws made (207) and attempted (298). Harberts was a 2013 All-Pac-12 Team selection for her efforts on the court and a conference academic honorable mention selection for her work in the classroom. This summer Harberts earned a gold medal as she helped the USA women's basketball team take home the title at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, scoring eight points in the championship win over host Russia.
Super-sub Ariya Crook is another key returner for USC in 2013-14. The junior guard Crook averaged 13.4 points and 2.9 assists off the bench last season and led USC with 55 three-point baskets made. Among the other top returners for USC are senior forward Kate Oliver, who averaged 5.7 points and 5.4 rebounds, versatile junior guard Kiki Alofaituli, who averaged 4.9 points and 2.6 rebounds, junior forward Alexyz Vaioletama, who averaged 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds, and speedy sophomore guard Brianna Barrett who averaged 4.4 points and led USC with 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
A return to health of sophomore guard Jordan Adams will also be crucial. Adams played in eight games, making seven starts and averaged 5.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game before going down with a season-ending injury. Adams was a McDonald's All-American her senior season at Mater Dei High.
USC will play a very competitive nonconference schedule highlighted by home games vs. San Diego State, South Carolina, Hawaii, Saint Mary's and Long Beach State and road games against Oklahoma State and Fresno State. The Trojans will also play in the Cancun Challenge in November.
With the return of Cooper-Dyke, nearly the entire roster and the addition of two talented freshmen, the Trojans look to jump back onto the national scene. To secure your spot for all the excitement at the Galen Center go to www.gettrojantix.com or call (855) We-Play4. Buy today to be eligible for the "10 Days of Winning" contest running July 22-31, www.usctrojans.com/10days.