Women's Basketball
    USC Women Dive Right Into 2014-15 Season Openers On The Road

    Your Trojans are ready to hit the road and take on two East Coast teams this week.
    Nov. 10, 2014

    USC Women's Basketball Release Get Acrobat Reader

    Saturday, Nov. 15
    USC (0-0) at #2 South Carolina (0-0)
    Columbia, S.C. -- 7 p.m. ET
    Watch Live: SEC Network+

    South Carolina70
    November 25, 2013
    Galen Center
    No. 17 South Carolina Pushes Past USC Women
    The USC women's basketball team took a home loss tonight to No. 17 South Carolina in the Trojans' second game against a top-20 opponent in four days. The Gamecocks were able to create some space on the Women of Troy in the second half, breaking open a six-point halftime margin and extended it out to a 70-50 win over host USC at the Galen Center. The Trojans go to 3-2 overall with tonight's loss, while South Carolina stays undefeated at 7-0.

    Monday, Nov. 17
    USC (0-0) at Davidson (0-0)
    Davidson, N.C. -- 7 p.m. ET

    The USC women's basketball team journeys eastward to kick off the 2014-15 season, as the defending Pac-12 Tournament champions line up for their season openers. The Women of Troy have a tough test right out of the gates in a visit to No. 2 South Carolina to start. USC are slated to take on the Gamecocks at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday (Nov. 15) in Columbia, S.C. From there, the Trojans will travel to North Carolina for a first-ever faceoff against Davidson at 7 p.m. ET on Monday (Nov. 17).

    USC's game at South Carolina will be broadcast on the SEC Network. That game as well as the Davidson game will both also have live stats available through the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.

    To watch SEC Network + (digital/online), you must be a customer of one of the following: AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Suddenlink, and members of the NCTC, NRTC and NTTC. You can contact your cable/satellite provider and get a username and password which will allow you to access the content on computers, tablets, mobile phones and other consumer devices like Xbox. Click here to watch live.

    USC received votes in the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll. South Carolina ranks No. 2 both preseason polls. Davidson is unranked.

    USC made a loud statement in front of a loud and supportive crowd at Galen Center in exhibition action last week. Over 7,000 fans were in the house for the Trojans' exhibition game against Concordia, and the Women of Troy gave them a good show in racking up a 120-56 victory over the visiting Eagles. The well-rounded effort sets up the Women of Troy well for their first official action the week, when USC takes a trip to South Carolina and to Davidson for its season openers. Five new faces saw their first competition at Trojans today, and all five made their marks. In fact, all 11 Women of Troy got on the scoresheet in the win, led by freshman Kristen Simon with 19 points and 15 rebounds. She was one of seven Trojans to hit double figures in the game, but the only one to haul in double-digit rebounds. Fellow freshmen Chyanne Butler (6 points), McKenzie Calvert (12 points) and Amy Okonkwo (10 points) all saw significant minutes, as did redshirt sophomore Alexis Lloyd (16 points), who was in action for the first time after sitting out last season as a transfer. USC's other top providers on the day were relative veterans. Seniors Alexyz Vaioletama and Kaneisha Horn scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, and redshirt sophomore Jordan Adams scored 14. Concordia was paced by Janis Peterson, who went for a game-high 32 points, standing as the lone Eagle in double figures. Concordia shot 34 percent from the floor and hit nine 3-pointers. USC finished up at 57 percent from the floor and was 28-of-38 (74 percent) from the free-throw line. Concordia actually was quick out of the gates, scoring the first points of the day's action with back-to-back buckets from Peterson. USC regrouped from there, though, and went on a 17-0 scoring run to set the tone for the rest of the game. Every Concordia basket prompted another overwhelming response from the Trojans, and USC led 56-30 at halftime. In the second half, USC just kept coming. This time the Trojans were the first to strike, and they rolled up a 13-0 scoring surge to start the second half. Courtney Jaco's 3-pointer completed that 13-point rally to a 69-30 advantage. Three minutes later, Adams struck to spark another scoring run for the Trojans. This one was a 16-0 stretch that saw five different Women of Troy net points in building up to an 88-34 lead. USC's 100th point of the day came fittingly from the hands of Simon, making it 100-43 on a take to the hoop. By the final horn, Drew Edelman had joined the crew to make it a full set of 11 Trojans on the scoresheet, which read as a whopping 120-56 victory for USC.

    The Gamecocks are coming off a 29-5 season in which South Carolina finished first in the SEC and reached the Sweet Sixteen. All five starters will return to the Gamecocks, including their leading scorer Aleighsa Welch and leading rebounder Alaina Coates. Welch averaged 30.5 points per game while Coates averaged 8.4 rebounds per game. USC is 0-2 all-time against South Carolina after a 70-50 loss to the Gamecocks last season at Galen Center. South Carolina beat Coker 100-25 in its exhibition game to start this season.

    The Wildcats are coming off a 16-16 season in which Davidson finished 3rd in their conference. Four starters return to the Wildcats. Davidson lost their leading scorer from the 2013-2014 season, but returns their top rebounder and one of their top scorers, Dakota Dukes, who averaged 30.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Hannah Early, another top scorer, also returns to the squad. Early averaged 31.2 points per game last season. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Davidson. Davidson beat Queens 83-50 in its exhibition game to start this season.

    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 enter the coming 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.

    Brianna Barrett, Alexyz Vaioletama and Kiki Alofaituli each took at turn or a few as USC's top scorers in different games last season. Their ability to stand up as impact players is already proven, and Cooper-Dyke is eager to see other Women of Troy rise to dominance as well this season. Expect to see senior Kaneisha Horn and redshirt sophomore Jordan Adams hit their strides this season. Both have a full season of healthy play under their belts now, so the rust is officially off and their bodies are strong and prepped for battle. Adams and Barrett have shown power at the point, and the backcourt can also be capably led by sophomore Courtney Jaco, who can run the show and rifle in the three like a sharpshooter. She was third on the team in 3-pointers nailed last season as a freshman. Jaco appeared in all 35 USC games, so her experience level is high as she settles in for her sophomore campaign. Fellow sophomore Drew Edelman, meanwhile, packs the post for the Women of Troy. With the departure of Harberts, Edelman will most certainly be called upon for increased time in the paint. She made 15 game appearances in 2013-14. Now prepped for battle, redshirt sophomore guard Alexis Lloyd enters the backcourt fray for her action as a Trojan this season.

    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. Guards Chyanne Butler and McKenzie Calvert will be called upon to get up to speed fast for the Trojan backcourt, while posts Amy Okonkwo and Kristen Simon are tabbed to fit the bill down low.But the freshman crew aren't the only newcomers to the program this season, though. Cooper-Dyke has welcomed in new associate head coach Beth Burns and assistant coach Taja Edwards to join her and assistant Jualeah Woods on the coaching staff for 2014-15.

    USC will 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.

    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.

    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). •