Women's Basketball
    USC Women Tuck In For Two Visiting Opponents
    Cassie Harberts and the Trojans celebrate Thanksgiving with hoops at Galen Center this week!
    Cassie Harberts and the Trojans celebrate Thanksgiving with hoops at Galen Center this week!

    Nov. 20, 2012

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    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team is off to a 1-1 start to the 2012-13 season with two games on the agenda this week. The Trojans will wrap a pair of games around Thanksgiving Day as USC continues its home stand. On Wednesday (Nov. 21), USC (1-1) will host Arkansas State (0-4) in a 7 p.m. game at Galen Center. After a break for turkey, the Trojans return to Galen for their Pac-12 Networks debut with a 2 p.m. clash with No. 20 Nebraska (3-1) on Friday (Nov. 23).

    THE LAST MEETING
    USC56
    Arkansas State58
    December 15, 2011
    Jonesboro, Ark.
    USC Women Edged At Arkansas State 58-56
    In the program's first-ever trip to Arkansas, the USC women's basketball team went down to the wire on the road against Arkansas State, coming up short on a late push to the finish to lose 58-56 to the host Red Wolves on Thursday night. The Women of Troy gave their hosts too much lee-way and wound up behind by 12 before firing off a run to finally tighten things up. In the end, USC ran out of steam and got tagged with a loss that stops a three-game win streak, putting USC at 4-4 overall, while Arkansas State goes to 4-6.

    THE LAST MEETING
    USC69
    Nebraska87
    December 8, 2007
    Lincoln, Neb.
    The Women of Troy Drop the First of Two on Their Midwestern Tour
    The Women of Troy lost 69-87 to the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday (Dec. 8) at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska before a crowd of 1,556.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Wednesday's game vs. Arkansas State will be STREAMED LIVE ONLINE at with audio provided by Jason Schwartz (@jasondschwartz). Friday's game will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks with play-by-play from Ann Schatz and color commentary by Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. Live stats for both games this week will also be available online through GameTracker on the women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.

    IN THE NATION
    USC opened the year receiving votes in the national polls but is now unranked. Arkansas State also is unranked, and Nebraska is ranked highest this week at No. 20 in the ESPN Coaches Poll and is at No. 23 in this week's AP poll.

    LAST WEEK
    USC got in a winning groove and tacked up its first victory of the young 2012-13 season with a 65-56 decision over visiting Pepperdine on Sunday at the Galen Center. The Trojans opened up a tight game with a push in the second half, and received a second double-double from junior Cassie Harberts on the road to victory. After recovering from another slow start out of the gates, the Trojans shot well in the first half and coupled that with a strong game on the boards to outpace the Waves 27-24 at half. Fifteen first-half turnovers and foul trouble in USC's backcourt allowed Pepperdine to keep within reach. The Women of Troy got it together in the second half, though, allowing the Waves just one last slim lead with 12 minutes to go before kicking into gear for a rally to the end that saw USC build as large as a 14-point lead. Harberts was the key once again, as the junior dumped in another double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a solid 17 points from sophomore Ariya Crook, who carried four fouls through the bulk of the second half. Pepperdine was led by a double-double from Shay Cooney-Willams with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and a 12-point day from Robie Mayberry. USC shot 39 percent in the game to Pepperdine's 37 percent, and the Trojans dominated the boards 47-31.

    SCOUTING ARKANSAS STATE
    The Red Wolves are 0-4 overall after losing 52-51 to Southeast Missouri on Monday. Jane Morrill is the team's leader with 15.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Brian Boyer is in his 14th season as head coach of the Red Wolves, who went 12-18 overall and 6-10 in Sun Belt play last season. This is just the second meeting between USC and Arkansas State. Last season, the Trojans took their first-ever trip to the state of Arkansas, and lost a tight 58-56 game to host Arkansas State.

    SCOUTING NEBRASKA
    The No. 20 Cornhuskers enter the week 3-1 overall with a Tuesday home game set against Sam Houston State before coming to USC. Jordan Hooper leads Nebraska with 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Connie Yori is in her 11th season as head coach of the Huskers, who went 24-9 overall and 10-6 in the Big Ten, reaching the tournament championship game and later falling in the NCAA Tournament First Round to Kansas. USC is an even 3-3 against Nebraska, with the Huskers taking wins in the past three meetings. USC's last win was a 78-60 victory in the 1992-93 season. Since then, Nebraska has claimed three wins in the past six years, most recently beating USC 68-50 last season in Nebraska.

    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 lone 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. So far, she's proven wholly capable of that challenge, as she's opened her junior season with back-to-back double-doubles. That start has Harberts now holding eight career double-doubles, going along with 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.

    WHO'S NEXT?
    USC welcomes two acclaimed players to the roster for 2013-14 with the signing of Drew Edelman and Courtney Jaco to national letters of intent on Nov. 14, 2012. Head coach Michael Cooper is eager to add the two California talents to his crew for next season, as the pair offers up a well-balanced skill set for the Women of Troy. A 6-4 post player, Drew Edelman hails from Atherton, Calif., as a standout player from Menlo School under coach John Paye. Ranked No. 41 in the nation at her position, Edelman played club for East Bay Xplosion under coach Mark Anger. While Edelman controls the paint, Courtney Jaco will be called on to take charge in the back court. A 5-8 guard from Compton, Calif. who ranks No. 44 in the nation at her position, Jaco played at Windward School for coach Vanessa Nygaard and club for Elbert Kinnebrew's Cal Sparks team. Edelman and Jaco are all set to hit the floor for the Women of Troy in 2014. Stay tuned!

    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.