Women's Basketball
    USC Women Welcome The Waves To Galen
    Kate Oliver is a threat to opponents from every spot on the floor for the Trojans.
    Kate Oliver is a threat to opponents from every spot on the floor for the Trojans.

    Nov. 13, 2012

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    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team is on the hunt for victory in Game Two of the 2012-13 season. The Women of Troy (0-1) bring Pepperdine (1-1) to town for a 2 p.m. showdown at Galen Center on Sunday (Nov. 18).

    THE LAST MEETING
    USC75
    Pepperdine71
    December 21, 2011
    Malibu, Calif.
    USC Women Crash The Waves In OT
    The USC women's basketball team pulled out a tight one in Malibu today, turning the tide on a hot-shooting Waves squad to win out in overtime with a 75-71 victory over host Pepperdine. The win keeps intact an undefeated all-time record for USC vs. Pepperdine, extending the streak to 18-0 dating back to 1977. This one was a tough one, however - the first overtime affair between the programs in their history. This season, the Waves had already won twice in OT, but the Trojans were determined to pull this one out for a lift on the way into the coming Pac-12 openers.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Sunday's game will be streamed LIVE ONLINE 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.

    BUY TICKETS

    IN THE NATION
    USC and Pepperdine both are unranked in the national polls this week.

    LAST WEEK
    A stumble out of the gates left USC scrambling to catch visiting Gonzaga in the Trojans' season opener last week at the Galen Center. The host Women of Troy gave the Bulldogs too much breathing room early on and made the road back a long one, as USC wound up with a 63-52 loss to Gonzaga. The young USC squad had five new Trojans see their first playing time and first points of their USC careers, but it was junior Cassie Harberts who led the pack as a veteran with her seventh career double-double on a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. The young Trojans opened the year with three newcomers in the starting lineup, as freshmen Jordan Adams and Destinie Gibbs and sophomore transfer Kiki Alofaituli suited up for the first time alongside fellow starters junior Harberts and senior Christina Marinacci. By the final buzzer, that new trio as well as newcomers Kate Oliver and Brianna Barrett had all registered their first career points. Barrett was the leader of the new group with nine points - matching Marinacci's outing - while Oliver added six, Adams and Alofaituli each had four, and Gibbs had two. Gonzaga had three players finish in doubles figures, led by 17 from Keani Albanez, who was joined by 13 from Haiden Palmer and 10 from Taelor Karr. While USC took some time to warm up, Gonzaga, meanwhile, had a hot start and shot between 50 and 60 percent from the floor throughout the half. USC got shots to fall late, and finished the first going 38 percent from the floor while Gonzaga hit 57 percent to lead 37-22 at the break. Fourteen Trojan first-half turnovers kept USC from finding a rhythm early, and the rocky start proved problematic for the Women of Troy as they came up short in the end. USC would outscore Gonzaga 30-26 in the second half, but the damage was already done as the Bulldogs held off the Trojans down the stretch. USC finished the game shooting 37 percent from the floor, and Gonzaga wound up at 45 percent. USC did hold the rebounding advantage, 36-31, but was hampered by 24 turnovers in the game.

    SCOUTING PEPPERDINE
    The Waves are 1-1 overall after beating UC Davis 83-68 in their season opener and falling 79-71 to UC Riverside. Robie Mayberry is leading the team so far with 20.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Julie Rousseau is in her ninth season as head coach of the Waves, who have Kelsey Patrick as their only returning starter from last season's team, which went 14-15 overall and 8-8 in WCC play. USC is a perfect 18-0 all-time against Pepperdine, with the only overtime game of the series between the two Southern California teams coming last season in a 75-71 OT win by the Trojans in Malibu. In the last game between the two at Galen Center, USC pulled out a 55-52 win in the 2007-08 season.

    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) 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 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, returner Thaddesia Southall has played six games around injury, with eight Trojans in line to play their first-ever career games as Women of Troy this season.

    VETERAN STATUS
    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.

    FRESH FACES
    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.

    COOP'S TROOPS
    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.

    LAST SEASON
    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.