Women's Basketball
    USC Hosts Women of Troy Basketball Classic
    The Trojans stay home through the end of 2012, now hosting the Women of Troy Classic this week.
    The Trojans stay home through the end of 2012, now hosting the Women of Troy Classic this week.

    Dec. 18, 2012

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    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team has three teams coming to Galen Center this week for the sixth edition of the Women of Troy Classic. In a slightly adjusted format, the four matchups have already been locked in for the Dec. 21-22 competition to come. The host Trojans (3-5) open up the action against UC Davis (3-4) for the first-ever meeting between the two programs at 5 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 21), followed by a clash between two teams returning to the Classic, No. 4 Duke (8-0) and CSU Bakersfield (2-9). The Blue Devils and the Roadrunners face off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night. On Saturday (Dec. 22) the Women of Troy do battle with Duke at 12 p.m. in a game to be televised on Pac-12 Networks. The Classic finale will pit UC Davis against CSU Bakersfield at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon.

    THE LAST MEETING
    USC50
    Duke75
    November 15, 2010
    Durham, N.C.
    No. 5 Duke Dishes Up A Win Over Visiting USC
    The USC women's basketball team came up against a tough No. 5 Duke squad on Monday night on the Trojans' quick trip to the East Coast, falling 75-50 to the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Women of Troy had trouble hitting their offensive stride, while Duke put distance between itself and USC down the stretch. The game was USC's second against a ranked opponent to open the 2010-11 campaign, as the Trojans go to 1-1 overall. Duke holds a 2-0 start to the season.

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Friday's USC-UC Davis game will be STREAMED ONLINE with audio broadcast by Jason Schwartz. Live stats through GameTracker will also be available online through the women's basketball page at usctrojans.com for all games at the Women of Troy Classic. Saturday's USC-Duke game will be televised by Pac-12 Networks with Mary Murphy and Anne Marie Anderson on the call.

    IN THE NATION
    USC opened the year receiving votes in the national polls but is now unranked. Undefeated Duke is ranked No. 4 in this week's Associated Press poll and USA Today Coaches Poll. UC Davis and CSU Bakersfield are unranked.

    FRIDAY TOY DRIVE
    USC women's basketball is combining forces with Kiff's Kids for a holiday toy drive at Friday's Women of Troy Classic games. Bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the drive and receive two free tickets to the games on Friday at Galen Center!

    DADS & DAUGHTERS DAY
    Saturday's 12 p.m. USC-Duke game is also Dads & Daughters Day at Galen Center. Trojan dads and their young Women of Troy are invited to join the fun on Saturday (Dec. 22). The $25 package includes two tickets to the game for dad and daughter, along with two hot dogs, two sodas, one Nike duffle bag and one USC hat. To get tickets, visit gettrojantix.com/dads

    LAST WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team fell prey to a powerful second-half effort by visiting No. 23 Texas A&M today, taking a 79-61 loss to the Aggies at Galen Center. USC junior Cassie Harberts extended her season streak of double figures in leading all scorers with 19 points, but USC slipped to 3-5 with its third straight loss while Texas A&M improved to 6-3 with its sixth straight victory. It wasn't a great first half from the floor for the Trojans, but they made up for it by getting to the line and converting 8 of 10 free throws in an otherwise well-played first half that saw the lead change hands five times with four ties. USC shot 29 percent overall in the first, to Texas A&M's 36-percent output that had the Aggies up 33-30 at the break. Texas A&M heated up to the tune of a 9-of-11 effort out of the gates in the second half, while USC stumbled and would fall behind by as much as 21 with 10 minutes to go. That deficit would grow to 25 points entering the final four minutes, and USC was out of reach of a comeback push. USC paired Harberts' 19-point day with 15 from Ariya Crook to lead the Trojan offense, which finished at 30 percent from the floor. Texas A&M, meanwhile, bumped its final tally to 46 percent thanks to a hot second half. The Aggies were led by 15 points from Kristi Bellock and Kelsey Bone, and received 14 from Courtney Walker in the winning effort. USC was hurt by 23 turnovers in the game, although the Trojans did win out on the boards 44-38..

    KEEPING IT CLASSIC
    This is the sixth edition of the Women of Troy Basketball Classic, hosted by USC at the Galen Center. In the course of the Classic's history, which began in 2006-07, USC has gone 9-1 overall. The Trojans' only loss was a 97-89 overtime defeat to Duke back in 2008, while the Blue Devils were ranked No. 12 in the nation. The last Women of Troy Classic was held in the 2010-11 season. This year, USC welcomes back Duke and CSU Bakersfield for return trips to the Classic. Duke's last visit was that 2008-09 overtime clash, and CSU Bakersfield last faced USC in the 2009 Classic.

    SCOUTING UC DAVIS
    The Aggies are 3-4 overall after a 70-59 win over Santa Clara last week. Sydnee Fipps leads UC Davis in scoring with 18.7 points per game, and Alyson Doherty leads on the boards with 5.3 rebounds per game. Jennifer Gross is in her second season as head coach of the Aggies, who went 17-13 overall last season in reaching the WNIT First Round. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and UC Davis.

    SCOUTING DUKE
    The No. 4 Blue Devils enter the week undefeated at 8-0 overall with their last win coming in a 60-42 victory over No. 25 St. John's at the Maggie Dixon Classic. Elizabeth Williams leads Duke in scoring with 16.3 points per game, and Haley Peters leads on the board with 7.4 rebounds per game. Joanne P. McCallie is in her sixth season as head coach of the Blue Devils, who went 27-6 overall last season with a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight. USC is 0-5 all-time against Duke in a series that includes four face-offs in the past seven seasons. In the most recent meeting, the Blue Devils beat the Trojans 75-50 when the teams met two seasons ago on Nov. 15, 2010 at Cameron Indoor. The only time Duke and USC tangled in Los Angeles, the Blue Devils pulled out a 97-89 win in overtime during the 2008 Women of Troy Classic at Galen Center.

    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 entering the 2012-13 season. 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 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. Against Arkansas State on Nov. 21, 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. So far, she's proven wholly capable of that challenge, as she opened her junior season with three consecutive double-doubles, and has scored in double figures in every game to date. That start has Harberts now holding 10 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. She has started every game of her career since setting foot at Troy.

    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 standing tall as a highly touted guard, USC's talented class also includes guards Brianna Barrett and Destinie Gibbs. Adams and Gibbs have been in the starting lineup for every game to date, and Barrett has been an early sub for the backcourt as the trio has factored in heavily to the Trojan gameplan. The three true freshmen have combined to provide 12.3 points per game so far.

    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 almost ready to go this year as a redshirt sophomore coming back from injury. Redshirt freshman Deanna Calhoun, who was out with a knee injury also last season, saw her first action as a Trojan on Nov. 30 at San Diego State. 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. Alofaituli and Oliver have both picked up a start apiece, and are averaging 4.5 and 4.3 points per game, respectively.

    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. Regnier is yet to play due to her eligibility status, and Totten saw her first playing time as a Trojan on Nov. 30 at San Diego State.

    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.