Nov. 6, 2012
USC WBB Release
The USC women's basketball team kicks off its 2012-13 campaign with its first official action set for Sunday (Nov. 11) at the Galen Center. The Trojans bring Gonzaga to town for what is growing to be a competitive regular rivalry, hosting the Bulldogs for USC's season opener at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Sunday's game will be streamed live online at pac-12.com/live/usctrojans.aspx with audio provided by Jason Schwartz (@jasondschwartz). Live stats will also be available online through GameTracker on the women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com. Follow USC women's basketball on twitter at @USCWBB
IN THE NATION
USC is receiving votes in the Associated Press preseason poll. Gonzaga is receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches preseason poll.
THE LAST MEETING
December 4, 2011
USC Women Pass Up Host Gonzaga
The USC women's basketball team won its third straight game and pocketed an important 58-51 road win over host No. 24 Gonzaga today in Spokane, Wash. Ashley Corral dumped in a game-high 19 points for the Women of Troy as they had an answer for each of the Bulldogs' scoring runs. The win improves USC to 4-3 overall on the year, while Gonzaga goes to 5-2.
USC worked out the kinks to post a powerful second half and put Cal State Monterey Bay well out of reach in a 73-45 exhibition win at the Galen Center. USC junior Cassie Harberts
had the hot hand on the day as she dumped in a whopping 32 points on the visiting Otters, also finishing with 11 rebounds for a double-double along with USC senior Christina Marinacci
, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Trojans scored almost half their first-half points from the free-throw line as they held just a six-point advantage at the break, up 31-24 on the Otters. In the second half, USC's rebounding power overmatched CSUMB and the Trojan defense put a stop to the Otters' 3-point game, which had manufactured five 3-pointers in the first half. In the end, USC outrebounded CSUMB 63-24. USC was 28-of-38 from the free-throw line after a 19-of-23 outing in the first half. In all, USC shot 37.9 percent from the field after following a 17 percent first half with a 70 percent second-half effort. The exhibition game also was a USC debut for six Women of Troy. In the starting lineup after sitting out the 2011-12 season due to transfer rules were Kiki Alofaituli
and Kate Oliver
, while USC true freshmen Jordan Adams
and Destinie Gibbs
also started the game. Another Trojan freshman, Brianna Barrett
, saw significant playing time as well in her Trojan debut during Sunday's exhibition action, and redshirt freshman Deanna Calhoun
also hit the floor for her first competition with the Women of Troy.
The Bulldogs play their season opener on Friday at UC Riverside before coming to Troy on Sunday. Haiden Palmer is Gonzaga's top returning scorer and rebounder, having supplied 12.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season. Head coach Kelly Graves is in his 13th season at Gonzaga, which returns two starters -- Palmer and Taelor Karr -- from last year's team that went 28-6 overall and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. USC is 2-1 all-time against Gonzaga with wins in the past two meetings. The Bulldogs beat the Trojans 70-58 in 2009, and USC has posted 79-73 and 58-51 victories in the past two seasons.
BACK FOR MORE
USC returns 53 percent of its scoring and 53 percent of its rebounding from the 2011-12 roster. Cassie Harberts is the top returning scorer (357 points, 11.9 per game) 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, as USC's most experienced returners with a combined 217 games played to date. 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, returners Dominique Scott and Thaddesia Southall have played a combined 22 games, with seven Trojans in line to play their first-ever career games as Women of Troy this season.
Forward Christina Marinacci (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS) is the only four-year 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.
POWER IN THE PAINT
Forward Cassie Harberts is USC's top returning scorer from last season having stood as the Trojans' No. 2 scorer in 2011-12 as a sophomore. Now a junior, Harberts is tabbed to shoulder the load for the Women of Troy, having started every game of her career since setting foot at Troy. She already dumped in 32 points along with 11 rebounds in USC's exhibition game last week. She enters her junior year with six career double-doubles, and career highs of 31 points as a freshman vs. WSU along with 18 rebounds also as a freshman vs. Oregon.
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 (Irvine, Calif./Mater Dei HS) a standing tall as a highly touted guard, USC's talented class also includes guards Brianna Barrett (Winnetka, Calif./Oaks Christian HS) and Destinie Gibbs (Oxford, Ga./McEachern HS).
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 year, but was sidelined by a knee injury that kept her on the bench the remainder of the season. She's ready to go this year as a redshirt sophomore, alongside another healed Trojan, redshirt freshman Deanna Calhoun, who was out with a knee injury also last season. 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.
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.
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.
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 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.