Women's Basketball
    USC Women Close Down 2013 With Two Tests, Open Pac-12 At UCLA
    The Trojans and the Bruins tangle on Monday night in Westwood!
    The Trojans and the Bruins tangle on Monday night in Westwood!

    Dec. 24, 2013

    USC WBB ReleaseGet Acrobat Reader

    THIS WEEK
    The USC women's basketball team looks to wrap up the calendar year with a couple more Ws notched in the books when the Women of Troy pack in a nonconference clash with Long Beach State before kicking off Pac-12 play with a crosstown rivalry showdown at UCLA. USC (6-5) welcomes the 49ers (7-5) to Galen Center first for a 2 p.m. matchup on Saturday (Dec. 27). Then, the Trojans will wind up for a jaunt over to Westwood for the conference opener against the Bruins (5-6) at 7 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 30) in a Pac-12 Networks broadcasted game.

    THE LAST MEETING
    Long Beach State60
    USC82
    November 21, 2010
    Galen Center
    USC Women Fire Up For 82-60 Win Over Long Beach State
    The USC women's basketball team put together a well-balanced attack against visiting Long Beach State and tacked up an 82-60 win over the 49ers behind four players in double digits. With Cassie Harberts and Jacki Gemelos in the lead with 14 points apiece, USC improved to 2-1 overall with the win, while Long Beach State goes to 0-4 despite a 30-point outing from Brandi Henton.

    THE LAST MEETING
    USC58
    UCLA63
    February 24, 2013
    Westwood, Calif.
    USC Falls to No. 17 UCLA, 63-58
    The USC women's basketball team wrapped up a rough and busy February with its second loss to rival UCLA in less than a week. The Trojans put pressure on their No. 17-ranked hosts, but couldn't make up for a turnover-plagued first half and wound up with a 63-58 loss to the Bruins today at Pauley Pavilion. USC goes to 8-19 overall and 5-11 overall with its eighth straight loss. No. 17 UCLA improves to 21-6, 12-4.

    Saturday, Dec. 28
    USC vs. Long Beach State
    Galen Center -- 2 p.m.
    usctrojans.com Live Stream
    Gametracker

    Monday, Dec. 30
    USC at UCLA
    Westwood, Calif. -- 7 p.m.
    Pac-12 Networks
    Live Stats

    SATURDAY IS FOR DADS & DAUGHTERS!
    USC welcomes dads and daughters to Saturday's game vs. Long Beach State! A $30 package includes two tickets to the Dec. 28 game at 2 p.m., along with two lunches, an official USC blanket and a silver frame to commemorate the day! CLICK HERE for more information and to get signed up!

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Live stats via Gametracker and a live video stream will be available for Saturday's game vs. Long Beach State, with Evan Budrovich on the call from the Galen Center. Visit the women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com for the Gametracker link, and CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE STREAM. On Monday, the USC-UCLA clash will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with Mary Murphy as analyst and Anne Marie Anderson on play-by-play. A live streaming broadcast is also available online to Pac-12 Network recipients at pac-12.com/networks/pac-12-national. Live stats also will be available through the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.

    IN THE NATION
    USC is unranked in the national polls as the Trojans enter the eighth week of 2013-14 competition. Long Beach State and UCLA also are unranked.

    SCOUTING LBSU
    The 49ers are 7-5 overall after beating Richmond 73-61 and losing to Florida State 72-57 last week. Raven Benton and Alex Sanchez lead LBSU in scoring with 12.9 and 11.6 points per game, while Benton leads on the boards with 5.4 rebounds per game. The 49ers have former USC player and assistant coach Jody Wynn as their head coach, joined by former USC assistant Derek Wynn and former player Kari LaPlante as assistant coaches. The 49ers went 16-16 overall last season with a trip to the WNIT First Round. USC is 21-29 all-time against Long Beach State in a series that dates back to the 1973-74 season. USC has won the past three meetings, with the latest coming in an 82-60 victory over the 49ers in the 2010-11 season at Galen Center. Long Beach State's last win over USC was a 51-46 decision in the 2005-06 season in Long Beach.

    SCOUTING UCLA
    The Bruins enter the week 5-6 overall after beating Minnesota 58-55 and losing to Auburn 66-60 last week. Atonye Nyingifa leads USC with 17.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. UCLA went 26-8 overall last season with an appearance in the Pac-12 Championship game and going on to reach the NCAA Second Round. USC is 45-39 all-time against UCLA dating back to the 1971-72 season. The Bruins have won the past two meetings, including a 63-58 win over the Trojans last season in Westwood. USC's last win over UCLA was a 66-54 victory at the Galen Center in 2012.

    LAST ACTION
    USC came away with a home split last week after a 10-day break between games. Up against Saint Mary's on Thursday and Hawai'i on Saturday, the Trojans dropped the matchup with the Gaels before finally finding their stride in the second half against the Rainbow Wahine. On Thursday, USC lost steam in the second half while visiting Saint Mary's heated up and left the Women of Troy out of reach, handing USC a 71-55 loss. Cassie Harberts hauled in a double-double for the Trojans, but USC struggled to catch the Gaels in the final minutes. Harberts' 19th career double-double saw the senior climb up in the record books as she cracked the top-10 in rebounding at Troy and moved up to No. 14 all-time in career scoring. She also knocked down a set of free throws that pulled her even with Trojan great Lisa Leslie at No. 4 on USC's all-time free-throws made list. That was, for the most part, the brightest spot in a tough outing for the Women of Troy. Harberts was UCS's only player in double digits, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds while USC finished up hitting 39 percent in the game after a first half that saw USC hit 52 percent but commit 15 turnovers. Saint Mary's held a 29-27 lead at halftime and heated up significantly in the second half, answering a 37-percent first half effort with 47 percent from the floor in the second. The Gaels' Jackie Nared had the hottest hand in that final 20 minutes, scoring 15 second-half points to finish with 21 points, while Kate Gaze led all with 22. SMC's Lauren Nicholson also provided double figures in finishing up with 12 points. USC outrebounded Saint Mary's 41-33 but was hurt by 24 total turnovers, which translated into 27 points for the Gaels. Two days later, USC registered a second-half comeback for the first time this season as the Trojans turned up the boosters in the final 20 minutes of action to take over the game and hold on for a 66-55 win over visiting Hawai'i. The Women of Troy outrebounded the Rainbow Wahine 27-9 in the second half to anchor that come-from-behind effort, as the Trojans turned a 10-point deficit at halftime into an 11-point final margin of victory. USC looked in good position for a competitive first half of play before Hawai'i clamped down in the final stages of the half. Unable to score from the floor for the final 6:45 of the half, USC stumbled into a 33-23 halftime deficit at the hands of the determined Rainbow Wahine. Hawai'i upped its game to outshoot the Trojans 41 percent to 25 percent in the first 20 minutes, while also edging out USC on the boards 20-18 as the hosts dipped behind their visitors by double figures going into the locker room. In the second half, USC more than switched gears. The Trojans crashed the boards with a fresh focus and warmed up from the floor, thanks in part to a career day from Desiree Bradley, who scored 10 points in the second half to match her career best of 11 in the game. Cassie Harberts remained USC's warrior down low, finishing with 16 points, while Alexyz Vaioletama came up big again with 12 points. Ariya Crook led all in the game with 18 points, 11 of which came from the free-throw line, where much of the game was spent in the late stages of the game. USC turned up its scoring effort and finished out the game shooting 40 percent, while Hawai'i cooled down to 33 percent in being outscored 43-22 in the second half by the Trojans. USC also turned the tide on the boards and finished up ahead 45-29 in the rebounding column. Hawai'i was led in scoring by Ashleigh Karaitiana's 13 points, along with 10 apiece from Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Morgan Mason.

    STRONG START
    USC made it a 3-0 start to its 2013-14 campaign under new head coach and Trojan great Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. The Women of Troy played their home opener against San Diego State, which had handed USC a big loss last season. This year, the Trojans were ready for the Aztecs and stayed composed down the stretch to fend off a late push and lock in a 65-61 win over visiting San Diego State. The win puts the Trojans at 3-0 overall, marking the first time since the 1998-99 season that USC has made such a winning start. San Diego State scored more points from the free-throw line than it did from the floor in the first half as the referees' whistles blew 13 fouls against the Trojans in the first 20 minutes of play. USC's counterattack was a stifling defense that forced 15 Aztec turnovers and converted 12 points off those pickoffs. USC led by as much as 19 points during the first half, but that was trimmed down to a 32-19 lead at the half. USC had hit at a 42-percent clip from the floor to outpace the Aztecs' 16-percent effort, although SDSU was 13-of-16 from the free-throw line by halftime. In the second half, USC's foul trouble put the Trojans on the heels a bit more and created some space for San Diego State's Cierra Warren to heat up. She had zero points at halftime but would finish with a game-high 21 to fuel a late push from the Aztecs. San Diego State cut things down to three points in the final seconds but ran out of time. Credit the Trojans with some key surges of scoring in the second half to help build up a lead that would prove just insurmountable for the Aztecs. By the final buzzer, the Women of Troy had cooled to 40 percent shooting while SDSU finished out at 43 percent thanks to a hot 64-percent effort in the second half. USC overmatched the Aztecs on the board 38-32 and finished with 11 steals to SDSU's seven. USC's scoring effort was led by Ariya Crook with 18 points and Cassie Harberts with 17, with Alexyz Vaioletama adding 12. Warren was the top scorer on the night with her 21 points, joined by teammate Danesha Long with 12 for the Aztecs.

    CAN'T STOP CASSIE
    Senior Cassie Harberts is the centerpiece of the USC team and has established herself as one of USC's top players all-time. She entered her senior season ranked No. 16 all-time in scoring with 1,293 career points, having scored her 1,000th point during her junior season. Now with 1,443 total points, she's 26 points away from taking over at No. 13 all-time. And with 739 career rebounds, she ranks at No. 9 all-time in USC's history books. From the stripe, HArberts has taken over Lisa Leslie to now rank No. 4 all-time with 465 free throws made. As a freshman, Harberts tallied a 31-point game, which was the most points scored by a Trojan freshman since 1981. Last season, the 2013 All-Pac-12 selection led the Trojans in almost every major statistical category and ranked third in the Pac-12 in scoring (18.0 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (8.2 rpg). During her USC career to date she has earned 2011 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team and 2011 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honors, 2012 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, and 2013 All-Pac-12 Team and Pac-12 Player of the Week awards to go along with her consistent academic accolades. She has recorded 17 double-doubles in her career, and in her junior season she became USC's all-time record holder for free throws made (207) and attempted (298) in a single season. This past summer, Harberts won a gold medal as a member of the United States' World University Games team. She's since picked up national acclaim with selection to the Wooden Award Preseason Top-30 and Naismith Award Early Watch List. Harberts also is a nominee for the WBCA, NBCA and Allstate Good Works Team.

    COOP COMES HOME
    A USC legend has come home and the Women of Troy are ready to rise once again to the elite level of their glory days. Trojan great Cynthia Cooper has returned to USC, this time as head coach of the women's basketball team, having helped to lead the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA Championships as a student-athlete. Cooper then won an Olympic gold medal, four WNBA titles and went on to launch a successful career as a head coach. In the past seven years, Cooper has resurrected three collegiate programs and received three league coach of the year honors in return. But now she's returned to her roots to coach the 2013-14 Women of Troy back to dominance in collegiate women's basketball. Cooper is aided by a strong staff of coaches, including the new additions of associate head coach Brandy Manning and assistant coach Jualeah Woods. Woods is a Trojan herself, having played with Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson and graduating USC in 1994. Assistant coach Evan Unrau is back for her second season with the Women of Troy. Cooper takes over the USC program following a disappointing 2012-13 season in which the Trojans finished 11-20 and seventh in the Pac-12, missing the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season.

    HEALTHY AND WISE
    One thing that the team hasn't experienced in a while is the luxury of having 11 healthy players return to this year's roster. Injury depletion has crushed USC's ability to make progress in past seasons, but with a strong and experienced roster led by seniors Cassie Harberts, Desireé Bradley, Kate Oliver and Rachel Totten, this year is shaping up to be a different story. Harberts is hitting her stride as she enters her final season as an All-Pac-12 Team pick last year after averaging leading the Trojans in points (18.0 ppg), rebounds (8.2 rpg), and blocks and finishing third in the Pac-12 in points per game, while she also set USC records in free throws made (207) and attempted (298). Fellow senior Kate Oliver averaged 5.7 points per game and a 66.7 free-throw percentage last season. The Australian lefty brings a skillful shooting ability to the Trojan front court and saw much development in only her first season at USC last year. She and Harberts make for a dynamic and daunting presence at the post position, as both players boast an ability to pop out and knock down shots from distance. Their senior compatriots Bradley and Totten are primed for the perimeter in their final seasons as Trojans, as both are proven sharp-shooters for the Women of Troy.

    BACK FOR MORE
    USC returns all but one player from last year's roster, with grad Christina Marinacci the only loss from 2012-13. She was third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding, so the Trojans do have some sizable shoes to fill. Fortunately, USC returns standout post Cassie Harberts, who led USC in scoring, rebounding and free throws last season as a junior. She started every single game for the Trojans -- the only player to do so. In all, USC returns 11 letterwinners from last year's team, including nine players who started at least seven games in 2012-13. Ninety-one percent of USC's scoring was produced by those 11 players last season, including 88 percent of the rebounding. Harberts herself accounted for 29 percent of USC's points, 21 percent of its rebounds and 44 percent of its free throws made last season. Harberts, Kiki Alofaituli and Brianna Barrett all appeared in every game last year, while Alexyz Vaioletama and Ariya Crook missed only one game each.

    BACKCOURT BLISS
    Lots of talent returns at the guard position with juniors Ariya Crook, Kiki Alofaituli and Alexyz Vaioletama and sophomore Brianna Barrett ready for another season. Crook averaged 13.4 points per game and received All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention after playing in 30 games for the Trojans last season. Barrett is coming off a fantastic freshman debut in which she finished the year with Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention and Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention. Off the injured list this season is highly touted guard Jordan Adams, who was a McDonald's All-American our of Mater Dei High before being sidelined by injury early last year. She's back in action to boost up the Trojan backcourt for 2013-14. Additional youthful experience comes for the Trojans in the form of sophomore Destinie Gibbs and redshirt sophomore Deanna Calhoun, who bring another important depth charge to the USC roster along with the feisty Alofaituli and athletic Vaioletama.

    THE NEW CLASS
    The Women of Troy only graduated one player from last year's squad, but it won't be an easy hole to fill. The Trojans need to find a way to replace Christina Marinacci, a force on the boards in finishing her career as USC's No. 9 all-time rebounder (738) and a stubborn defensive specialist. Don't be surprised to see freshman Drew Edelman step up to fill that role as a 6-foot-4 powerhouse under the basket. Fellow newcomer Courtney Jaco is fitting in nicely at the point guard position and can knock down 3-pointers like there's no tomorrow. The Trojans are also excited to bring in transfers Kaneisha Horn and Alexis Lloyd to add to the already impressive roster. Horn, a junior transfer from Alabama, adds a new dynamic to the team and the program as a versatile forward that fits well all over the court. Horn is good to go this season, having finished her undergraduate degree in three years at Alabama. She has two seasons to play with the Trojans as she pursues a masters in social work. Lloyd will sit out the 2013-14 season after transferring from Virginia Tech.

    TUNE IN TO THE TROJANS
    The 2013-14 Women of Troy will get plenty of face-time this season with 18 USC women's basketball games scheduled to be televised this season. The Trojans have one matchup with Stanford set for a national audience on ESPN2, along with 17 games on the Pac-12 Networks. All but one conference game is due to be televised. All told, USC will face eight teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last year, and will play a total of 12 regular-season contests against teams that were either ranked or receiving votes in the final national polls last season.

    LAST SEASON
    USC finished the 2012-13 season with an 11-20 overall record -- the program's first losing season since 2002-03 and matching the most overall losses in program history (USC also had 20 losses in 1998-99). Last year's Trojans finished seventh in the Pac-12 at 11-7, and was ousted in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals by No. 2 seed California. Cassie Harberts, who scored her 1,000th career point on Jan. 13, 2013, would lead USC on the honor rolls, picked to the All-Pac-12 Team while also setting USC program records for free throws made (207) and attempted (298) in a singles season. She also was selected as Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 7, 2013. Also scoring conference accolades last season were Brianna Barrett (Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention & Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention) and Ariya Crook (All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention).

    125 YEARS OF GREATNESS
    Since fielding a football team in 1888, USC has had an unparalleled athletic tradition, including 120 national team championships, an unprecedented 419 Olympians and 52 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars as the Trojan family celebrates its 125th anniversary this 2013-14 academic year. Including the USC women's soccer team's historic 2007 NCAA Championship victory, USC boasts a grand total of 120 national team championships, including a national-best 82 men's NCAA crowns. Trojan men have won more individual NCAA titles (309) than those from any other school, while the Women of Troy have added another 69 individual NCAA titles. Four Trojans have won the prestigious Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Two Women of Troy athletes have won the Honda Cup as the top collegiate female athlete of the year and there have been 15 Honda Award winners as the top female athlete in their sport. USC not only has more Olympians than any school, but more Olympic medalists (287) and gold medalists (135). USC water polo is a big part of that Olympic tradition, having sent 10 Trojans to the 2012 Olympics in Beijing, with four Trojans winning medals. Thanks in part to USC's water polo participants, a Trojan has won a gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Go to usctrojans.com/125 to revisit the athletic highlights for Trojans the past 125 years.