Jan. 6, 2015
USC Women's Basketball Release
Friday, Jan. 9
USC (9-5, 1-2 Pac-12) at Colorado (7-6, 0-2)
Boulder, Colo. -- 8 p.m. MT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Sunday, Jan. 11
THE LAST MEETING
March 2, 2014
USC Women Ice The Road Win, Beating Colorado 66-59
The USC women's basketball team secured a fifth-place finish in the Pac-12 with a wild but strong finish for a 66-59 road win over Colorado today in Boulder. The Women of Troy led by as much as 14 points during the first half before the Buffs made a push to even the score in the second half. Colorado took a slim 1-point lead with 1:22 remaining only to see the Women of Troy dig in and ice the victory in tallying the last eight points of the game. USC improves to 18-12 overall with this winning road trip to finish at 11-7 in Pac-12 play. Colorado goes to 16-13, 6-12.
THE LAST MEETING
February 27, 2014
Salt Lake City, Utah
USC Women Team Up For 67-57 Road Win At Utah
The USC women's basketball team was a balanced force tonight in Salt Lake City. Led by a career-high 16 points from Kiki Alofaituli, the Trojans got eight players in on the scoring in securing a 67-57 victory over host Utah. The win is a big lift for the Women of Troy, who are looking to close out the regular season on a strong note in prep for the coming Pac-12 Tournament. USC is now 17-12 overall and 10-7 in Pac-12 play as it sets up to wrap the regular season on Sunday in Colorado. Utah is now 11-17 overall and 4-13.
USC (9-5, 1-2 Pac-12) at Utah (6-7, 0-2)
Salt Lake City, Utah -- 12 p.m. MT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
The USC women's basketball team sees its seven-game home stretch come to a close as the Women of Troy now pack up for a trip to the mountains this week. USC (9-5, 1-2 Pac-12) has its first Pac-12 road trip take it first to Boulder, Colo., for an 8 p.m. MT matchup against host Colorado (7-6, 0-2) on Friday (Jan. 9). From there, the Trojans will journey to Salt Lake City to take on host Utah (6-7, 0-2) at 12 p.m. MT on Sunday (Jan. 11) to continue conference play.
Both games are being broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, with Mary Murphy as analyst and Krista Blunk on play-by-play for Friday's USC-Colorado game, and Ros Gold-Onwude as analyst and Thad Anderson on play-by-play for Monday's game vs. Oregon State. A live streaming broadcast is also available online to Pac-12 Network recipients at pac-12.com/live. Live stats also will be available through links on the USC women's basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com.
IN THE NATION
The Trojans received votes in the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll, but does not appear in this week's AP poll. Oregon State is up to No. 11 in this week's AP poll.
USC wrapped up a seven-game stretch at Galen Center with a split against the Oregon schools last week, beating Oregon 70-54 and then falling to No. 11 Oregon State 76-66. Against the Ducks, USC showed its staying power, turning a six-point second-half lead into a 20-point advantage and remaining in control to pin up the victory. USC's balanced attack shined through, with five of the Trojans' eight scorers finishing up in double figures. USC made the first move of the match in crafting a quick 9-0 advantage on the Ducks out of the gates. The Trojans would lead by as much as 18 during the first half before taking a 37-29 lead into the locker rooms at the break, thanks to a 50-percent effort from the floor by the Women of Troy. Oregon was at 33 percent through the first 20 minutes of play. USC's balanced attack had eight Trojans on the stat sheet with scores, doubling up the four Ducks who had scored by halftime. The second half opened as a back-and-forth battle. USC would lead by no more than 10 for the first seven minutes, but then rallied and doubled that advantage in the next seven minutes. Up 64-44 on a 3-pointer from Jordan Adams with 7:45 left to play, the Women of Troy had officially regained control of the game. By the final buzzer, USC had the 70-54 win in-hand, after shooting 46 percent from the floor in the game to Oregon's 37 percent and with five of USC's eight scorers on the day finishing up in double figures. The Trojans nabbed 13 steals and produced 24 points on fast breaks, and also won out on the boards with a 45-33 rebounding advantage. Alexyz Vaioletama led the way with 13 rebounds for the Trojan cause, while Jordan Adams topped the USC scoring column with 13 points. McKenzie Calvert was next with 12, while Kaneisha Horn, Courtney Jaco and Brianna Barrett each added 10 points. Oregon was led by a double-double from Jillian Alleyne, who had 20 points and 15 rebounds. Katelyn Loper scored 16 points for the Ducks, and Lexi Peterson also finished in double figures with 11. Two days later against the No. 11 Beavers, USC battled to stay in stride, only to see OSU keep the Trojans at bay for a 76-66 decision. USC got within four points midway through the second half, but the Beavers' potent mixture of perimeter attack and size in the paint proved the difference. USC stayed largely in pace with Oregon State through the first half of play. The Beavers would pull out of a two-point margin thanks to a string of late 3-pointers, but USC landed one of its own entering the final minute to reel OSU in a bit, trailing 38-33 at the break. USC was hanging tough on the boards, matched at 19-19 with the Beavers through the first 20 minutes of play. OSU had the shooting advantage overall, hitting at 48 percent to USC's 35 percent by halftime. Both teams had a pair of players in double digits at the half. While USC found a way to convert down low, the Beavers were heating up beyond the arc, planting six 3-pointers in the first half to help build that 38-33 halftime advantage. Oregon State's inside-outside game kept clicking in the second half, as the Beavers buried four more 3-pointers to kelp keep the Trojans at bay. By the final buzzer, OSU had wrapped the game shooting 49 percent from the floor and 48 percent (10-of-21) from 3-point range. USC would wind up at 41 percent from the floor and 40 percent (4-of-10) from beyond the arc. OSU won out on the boards 37-31, but USC's defensive pressure forced 13 Beaver turnovers thanks in part to six USC steals. USC senior Alexyz Vaioletama matched her career high with a game-high 24 points tonight, joined by freshman Kristen Simon (14 points) and senior Kaneisha Horn (11 points) in double figures. Vaioletama also matched her career best of three 3-pointers nailed in the game. The Beavers, meanwhile, had Sydney Wiese lead the pack with five 3-pointers to wrap with a team-high 19 points. Ruth Hamblin followed with 16 points, with Jamie Weisner (15 points) and Deven Hunter (10 points) also in double digits for the Beavers.
CALVERT CAPTURES CONFERENCE HONORS
USC's McKenzie Calvert became the first Trojan to earn Pac-12 accolades this season with her selection as Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Jan. 5. She is the first USC freshman ever to win the award, which began in 2012. The guard took over as USC's top scorer on the season thanks to back-to-back double-digit games for the Trojans to kick off Pac-12 play this week. Calvert served up a team-high 16 points in a loss to UCLA and then came up with a 12-point outing along with a career-high five rebounds in a solid win over Oregon. Now averaging 11.6 points per game and standing as the team's second leading scorer, Calvert is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range, trailing only sophomore Courtney Jaco in total threes made with 22 makes to date. The freshman hit double figures in four of the last six games for the Women of Troy, sparked by a career-high 21 points nailed vs. Cal State Northridge on Dec. 9.
The Buffs are 7-6 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play after losing 62-55 at Stanford and falling 75-59 at Cal last week. Jen Reese leads Colorado with 14.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The Buffs return five starters from last year's team, which went 19-15 overall after a 6-12 mark for ninth place in the Pac-12 and a trip to the WNIT third round. USC is 6-4 all-time against Colorado after a season sweep last year. The Trojans beat the Buffs 55-45 at Galen Center and then won 66-59 in Boulder.
The Utes are 6-7 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play after losing 67-49 at Cal and falling 55-44 at Stanford last week. Taryn Wicijowski leads Utah with 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. The Utes return three starters from last year's team, which went 12-19 overall after a 4-14 mark for 11th place in the Pac-12. USC is 7-5 all-time against Utah after a season sweep last year. The Trojans beat the Utes 55-47 at Galen Center and then won 67-57 in Salt Lake City.
The key to success for the Trojans in the early going of 2014-15 has been a ferociously balanced attack. USC has had at least four different scorers hit double digits in all but five games. Even in a season-opening loss at now-top-ranked South Carolina, USC had three players hit double digits, with career highs set for all three -- Kaneisha Horn (11 pts), McKenzie Calvert (11 pts) and Drew Edelman (10 pts). Two days later at Davidson, USC had all five starters score in double figures. The trend continued with Jordan Adams, Brianna Barrett and Alexyz Vaioletama staying the most consistent during USC's five-game win streak. That run was snapped when just two Trojans hit double digits in a loss at Saint Mary's, but the Trojans reloaded for the very next game and landed four more double-digit scorers in a win over CSUN on Dec. 9. On Dec. 14 against Sacramento State, USC piled six players in double figures, with Kiki Alofaituli, Barrett and Horn each recording the first double-doubles of their careers. To date, USC has four players averaging double-digit scoring and one more just outside that mark. Senior Vaioletama leads all with 12.8 ppg, followed by freshman Calvert at 11.6 and Barrett and Horn both at 10.1. Sitting right in reach with 8.6 ppg is Courtney Jaco. As a team, USC has shot over 50 percent from the floor in six games and is shooting 45.3 percent overall, including a 35.8 percent effort from beyond the arc. The only games that USC has three or fewer players in double digits have been losses (South Carolina, Saint Mary's, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Oregon State).
TIME TO SHINE
Now 14 games into the 2014-15 season, there are at least three Trojans who have truly stepped up their production significantly. Jordan Adams, Kaneisha Horn and Courtney Jaco have each more than doubled their scoring from last season, filling an important offensive void left by USC's departed players from last season. Adams set a career high and scored the winning baskets for the Trojans with 15 points in USC's overtime win at Long Beach State. After producing just 2.8 points per game last season, Adams has upped her game and is scoring 65 points per game to go along with 4.5 assists per game. Now a senior after playing her first season at USC last year as a transfer, Horn notched a new career high with 11 in USC's opener at South Carolina and has since almost doubled that in scoring 20 vs. Sacramento State. She's now up to 10.1 points per game after going for 3.0 last season. Another Trojan who is flourishing with a year under her belt is Jaco. A sophomore, Jaco nailed five 3-pointers at Long Beach State to set her career best with 15 points in that one. She averaged 3.7 ppg as a freshman and is at 8.6 ppg this season for the Women of Troy as a full-time starter.
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 dig into their 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.
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 has been 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 first 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. Guard McKenzie Calvert has been called upon to get up to speed fast for the Trojan backcourt, while posts Amy Okonkwo and Kristen Simon have made an impact down low. The entire group has already made their presence known in the scoring column. Calvert leads the pack with 12.1 points per game in her 12 appearances, and is shooting an impressive 44.9 percent from 3-point range. Simon has stepped in for 12 games and is averaging 6.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Okonkwo has appeared in all 13 games and is averaging 3.5 ppg. Freshman Chyanne Butler played in USC's second game of the season at Davidson and then requested her release from the program.
TAKING ON TOP TEAMS
USC 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. All non-televised USC home games will be streamed live at http://pac-12.com/videos/university-southern-california.
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).