USC Women's Basketball Returns To AP Rankings|
Oct. 29, 2011
The USC women's basketball team is getting some serious respect in preseason polls for 2011-12, as the No. 23 Women of Troy have picked up their first AP ranking since 2006 and have scored the No. 2 pick in the Pac-12 Coaches Poll, which is also USC's highest stance since the 2006-07 season. The Trojans have also been ranked No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN preseason poll (released Nov. 1).
"It's obviously great for our program to be ranked among the top 25 teams in the country," head coach Michael Cooper said. "I think the rankings are reflecting what we've done in the past two years, and it's an honor to be ranked. But we still have some steps to take to really solidify ourselves. We want to go higher and higher, and our main goal is to eventually get this school up to another national championship. Winning the Pac-12 championship is one of those steps we want to take, and we really want to play like a ranked team this season. I think our ranking has a lot to do with our schedule this season. We have a highly ranked schedule and it shows the people behind the rankings that we're ready to compete at the level to be a ranked team. I'm proud and happy, but this is just the first of many steps for the Women of Troy."
The Trojans set up for the 2011-12 season after an impressive postseason run at last year's WNIT, where USC spent all but the first game of the tourney on the road in reaching the final. The Women of Troy played in 11 different states in amassing a program record of 18 road games last season, and finished with a 24-13 overall record after fourth-place, 10-8 mark in Pac-10 play. The successful postseason push racked up the most season wins since 1993-94 for the Trojans and helped USC gain some significant ground in this year's national and conference polls.
Now seniors, Ashley Corral and Briana Gilbreath both earned 2011 WNIT All-Tournament Team honors to go along with their second set of All-Pac-10 Team accolades last season, while Gilbreath made a little extra history in earning AP All-America Honorable Mention at the close of the season. For 2011-12, the Women of Troy aim to ink even more historic marks into the books. In all, USC brings back five players who have earned all-conference honors while at Troy -- Corral, Gilbreath, Jacki Gemelos, Cassie Harberts and Christina Marinacci -- to go along with adding five newcomers to the roster -- Kiki Alofaituli, Deanna Calhoun, Ariya Crook, and Alexyz Vaioletama and transfer Kate Oliver -- to bring in the nation's No. 8 ranked class of recruits. With the additions of 2011 McDonald's All-Americans Crook and Vaioletama, the Women of Troy will boast eight high school All-Americans on its roster next year -- seven McDonald's All-Americans and one WBCA All-American.
On the way to earning a No. 23 ranking in the AP preseason poll, USC snagged one first-place vote in the Pac-12 Coaches Poll and sits 10 points below 11-time defending champion Stanford and 13 points ahead of third-place pick California. Complete poll results are below.
USC's last AP ranking had the Trojans at No. 19 in the nation in a mid-November poll early in the 2006-07. USC had reached the 2006 NCAA Second Round to wrap up the 2005-06 season -- the Trojans' last NCAA appearance -- and were tabbed No. 22 in the AP preseason poll before improving to No. 19 after a win in their 2006-07 season opener.
The 2011-12 Women of Troy host their first official game of the year at 5 p.m. Nov. 11 at Galen Center for a matchup with Fresno State.