USC Women Stay Local, Visit Long Beach State & Host Fresno State|
Nov. 18, 2014
USC (1-1) at Long Beach State (2-0)
Long Beach, Calif. -- 4:30 p.m.
Live stream: bigwest.org
USC (1-1) vs. Fresno State (1-0)
Galen Center -- 2 p.m.
Live stream: usctrojans.com
The USC women's basketball team is back on the West Coast to set up for two more nonconference matchups. The Women of Troy (1-1) will journey down to Long Beach State first, taking on the 49ers (2-0) in Long Beach on Friday (Nov. 21) at 4:30 p.m. From there, USC will settle in for its home opener, with Fresno State coming to town for the Trojans' first official game at Galen Center this season. USC and the Bulldogs (1-0) will tangle at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 23).FOLLOW ALONG
USC's game at Long Beach State will be streamed live through bigwest.org. The Trojans' home opener against Fresno State will be streamed live at http://pac-12.com/videos/university-southern-california. Both games have live stats via Gametracker available through links on the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.IN THE NATION
USC received votes in the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll, but does not appear in either of week's national polls. Long Beach State and Fresno State both are unranked in this week's national polls.LAST WEEK
In its first official action of 2014-15, USC came up with a strong road split on a trip through the Carolinas. The Trojans put up a fierce fight against No. 2 South Carolina, holding a slim lead before falling 70-61 to the highly ranked home team. Two days later, USC was at Davidson, and the Trojans came to play once again. USC delivered a powerful 99-64 victory over the Wildcats to bring a 1-1 record back to California. Against No. 2 South Carolina, USC had three new faces on the list with double digits as the Trojans pushed the No. 2 team in the nation to the edge on the road. The Women of Troy had No. 2 South Carolina on notice in sneaking into a slim lead in the second half, only to see the host Gamecocks respond with a 14-0 run that took back control of the game. USC would wind up with a 70-61 loss to South Carolina in its season opener in Columbia, S.C. Up against a team with lots of height and power in the paint, USC had to battle down low and wound up with several players in foul trouble down the stretch. And still, the Trojans kept fighting. By the final horn, USC had taken the loss to the No. 2 Gamecocks, but the Women of Troy could still boast a strong performance on the road. Standing out tonight were three Women of Troy who set career marks for themselves. Senior Kaneisha Horn had a career performance with 11 points while carrying four fouls deep into the game. Freshman McKenzie Calvert also hit 11 points in her Trojan debut. And sophomore Drew Edelman went big with a 10-point outing to hit a career high for herself. South Carolina, meanwhile, was led by a double-double by Alaina Coates with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Tiffany Mitchell also provided 18 points for the Gamecocks. USC shrugged off the referee's whistles in the first half with a stalwart effort that kept the Trojans in stride with the highly touted Gamecocks. Even a 7-0 scoring surge by the hosts wasn't enough to shake the Trojans, who finished up the half with six straight points to trail 27-24 at the break. Carrying 12 fouls in the first 20 minutes, USC shot 24 percent from the floor and was 4-of-4 from the line. Holding six fouls through the same span, South Carolina shot 36 from the floor and was 8-of-13 from the stripe. In the second half, the fouls evened out a bit. USC would finish up the game going 16-of-20 from the line to South Carolina's 19-of-27. From the floor, USC shot 33 percent and the Gamecocks hit at a 46-percent clip. The count on the boards 43-34 in South Carolina's favor. Days later at Davidson, USC had all hands on deck for tonight's powerful 99-64 road win at Davidson. All 12 Trojans scored points in the win, with career highs coming for Jordan Adams and Courtney Jaco. Jaco landed a career-best five 3-pointers in the victory to finish with a team-high 15 points. She was one of five Trojans to hit double digits in the game, followed by Adams' with 12. Energized by eight steals in the first eight minutes, USC put Davidson in an early hole. The Trojans would finish the first half with 14 steals and was shooting 47 percent from the floor. When allowed to get a look at the hoop, though, Davidson made the most of it, shooting 62 percent from the floor in the first half and holding a 19-17 rebounding edge. Up by as much as 21 in the first half, USC was gripping a 47-34 lead at halftime. In the second half, USC came out firing and left Davidson decidedly in the dust. The Trojans would shoot 57 percent in the second half to outpace the Wildcats' 35-percent effort, while every player on the roster provided points for USC in the second half of play. The Trojans would finish up going 52 percent from the floor and outrebounding Davidson 39-32. Davidson shot 46 percent in the game. In addition to Jaco and Adams' team-leading 15 and 12 points, respectively, the rest of USC's starting crew also got to double digits. Alexyz Vaioletama and Brianna Barrett delivered 11 apiece, and Kaneisha Horn hit 10. Barrett also nabbed seven steals -- one off her career best -- and Adams hit a career mark with seven assists. Davidson received a game-high 16 points from Mackenzie Latt and 155 from Hannah Early.SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE
The 49ers are 2-0 overall after opening the season with an 85-73 win over Seattle University and then beating San Diego State 74-62. Alex Sanchez leads LBSU in scoring with 12.0 points per game. Raven Benton leads on the boards with 10.0 rebounds per game. Long Beach State is coached by former Trojan player and assistant coach Jody Wynn, who is now in her sixth season with the 49ers. Former USC player Kari LaPlante also serves on the staff as an assistant coach. LBSU returns three starters from last year team, which went 17-15 overall and finished tied for sixth in the Big West Conference. USC is 22-29 all-time against Long Beach State in a series dating back to the 1973-74 season. USC has won the past four meetings against the 49ers, including last year's 89-72 win at Galen Center. Long Beach State's last win over USC was a 51-46 victory in the 2005-06 season in Long Beach.SCOUTING FRESNO STATE
The Bulldogs beat Cal Poly 67-56 in their season opener behind a double-double from Alex Sheedy, who scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds. Fresno State will face Cal State Stanislaus on Wednesday before coming to USC on Sunday. Head coach Jaime White is in her first season at Fresno State. The Bulldogs return three starters from last year team, which went 24-9 overall last season, winning the Mountain West Tournament and reaching the NCAA First Round. USC is 6-5 all-time against Fresno State in a series that dates back to the 1971-72 season. USC won the last meeting with a 63-54 victory last year in Fresno. The Bulldogs won the year before with a 65-60 win in the 2012-13 season in Fresno.THE CHAMPS ARE BACK
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.BALANCED ATTACK
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.THE NEW CLASS
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.TAKING ON TOP TEAMS
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.TUNE IN TO THE TROJANS
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.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).