Women's Basketball
    USC Women Take First Road Trips of 2012-13
    The young Trojans take their first road trip to play at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday.
    The young Trojans take their first road trip to play at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday.

    Nov. 26, 2012

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    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team strikes off on its first road trips of the season after a four-game home stretch to open up 2012-13. The Women of Troy (2-2) first roll northward for a 7 p.m. game at UC Santa Barbara (2-3) on Tuesday (Nov. 27). USC will wrap up the week by heading the opposite direction and paying a visit to San Dieo State (3-2) for another 7 p.m. matchup on Friday (Nov. 30).

    THE LAST MEETING
    UC Santa Barbara39
    USC50
    January 31, 2012
    Galen Center
    USC Women Wrap Up UC Santa Barbara 50-39
    The USC women's basketball team secured a much-needed win tonight with a 50-39 nonconference victory over visiting UC Santa Barbara, snapping a three-game slump to give USC a boost. Cassie Harberts delivered a game-high 17 points and Alexyz Vaioletama hauled in a career-high 15 rebounds to lead the Trojan charge to victory. USC improves to 11-9 overall with the win on the way into two Pac-12 games later this week. UC Santa Barbara moves to 8-12 with tonight's loss.

    THE LAST MEETING
    San Diego State64
    USC74
    December 19, 2010
    Galen Center
    Trojans Take Tournament Title With 74-64 Win Over Aztecs
    The USC women's basketball team weathered a second-half storm from San Diego State in pulling off a 74-64 win over the visiting Aztecs to wrap up the championship of the Women of Troy Basketball Classic at the Galen Center. Ashley Corral led all scorers with 23 points on the night, helping lift the Trojans to their third straight win and a 7-3 overall record. San Diego State goes to 4-5 overall.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Tuesday's game at UC Santa Barbara will have live streaming video and live stats at the UCSB women's basketball schedule page. Friday's game at San Diego State will have live streaming video and live stats available at the SDSU women's basketball schedule page.

    IN THE NATION
    USC opened the year receiving votes in the national polls but is now unranked. UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State also are unranked.

    LAST WEEK
    USC had another home split last week, beating Arkansas State with a solid 72-58 win behind Cassie Harberts' third straight double-double. Two days later, USC had No. 20 Nebraska on the ropes until the Huskers got hot in the final stretch and passed up the Trojans for a 65-74 decision that put USC at 2-2 to open the year. Ariya Crook served up a career-high 25 points for USC in that loss. First, against the Red Wolves, Harberts secured her third straight double-double and Christina Marinacci picked up one of her own to lead a full load of Trojans in the scoring column on Wednesday for the 72-58 win over visiting Arkansas State. USC was looking for some redemption against the Red Wolves, who edged out the visiting Trojans last season in USC's first-ever trip to the state of Arkansas. The Women of Troy were in control the whole way in a total team effort that saw every Trojan on the floor score in the victory at the Galen Center. USC was perfect from the free-throw line in the first half, going 14-of-14 to supplement a 37-percent effort from the floor as nine different Women of Troy got on the board with points by halftime. A hefty rebounding advantage of 25-13 also helped USC keep out ahead of the Red Wolves, who shot 24 percent in the half. A few free-throws would go awry in the second half for USC, which finished up 18-of-22 from the line, but USC heated up significantly from the floor to round out the game shooting 47 percent to Arkansas State's 38 percent. USC owned the boards, too, with a 42-26 effort. Harberts led all scorers with 15 points to go with 10 rebounds in tacking up her ninth career double-double. Marinacci hauled in 11 boards and added 12 points for her sixth career double-double. Freshman Jordan Adams tallied her first career double-digit performance with 11 points for USC. Arkansas State was led by 11 points from Ashley Olvera, and received 10 points from Jane Morrill.

    SCOUTING UCSB
    The Gauchos are 2-3 overall after three games last week, where UCSB lost 49-46 to Oregon State and 68-61 to Missouri State and beat Mississippi State 60-43. Nicole Nesbit is the Gauchos' top scorer with 13.2 points per game, and Sweets Underwood is their top rebounder with 7.8 boards per game. Carlene Mitchell is in her second season as head coach of UCSB, which won the Big West title and reached the NCAA First Round in finishing 17-16 overall last season. USC is 13-13 all-time against UC Santa Barbara in a series history that dates back to 1971-12. USC has won the past three meetings with the Gauchos, most recently in a 50-39 victory at Galen Center last season. UCSB's last win was a 69-63 overtime victory in Santa Barbara during the 2007-08 season..

    SCOUTING SDSU
    The Aztecs are 3-2 overall after beating Auburn 78-57 and losing to Colorado 67-53 last week. Courtney Clements is SDSU's top scorer with 17.6 points per game and Erimma Amarikwa leads on the boards with 6.8 rebounds per game. Beth Burns is in her 16th season as head coach of the Aztecs, who won the Mountain West Championship and reached the NCAA First Round to finish 26-7 overall last season. USC is 28-7 all-time against San Diego State in a series history that dates back to the 1974-75 season. USC has won the past four meetings, including a 74-64 win in the 2010-11 season. SDSU's last win was a 67-66 decision in the 1995-96 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 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. Last week vs. Arkansas State, Marinacci tallied her first double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds, notching her sixth career double day overall.

    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 opened her junior season with three consecutive double-doubles. That start has Harberts now holding nine 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.