USC Women Fight On 4 Kay On Friday, Celebrate Senior Day On Sunday At Galen|
Feb. 14, 2017
Friday, Feb. 17 | 6 p.m. | Galen Center
USC (13-12, 4-10) vs. Washington State (10-15, 5-9)
PxP: Anne Marie Anderson | Analyst: Layshia Clarendon
Sunday, Feb. 19 | 3 p.m. | Galen Center
USC (13-12, 4-10) vs. #9 Washington (24-3, 12-2)
PxP: Anne Marie Anderson | Analyst: Elise Woodward
USC's last home stand of the season has the Cougars and the Huskies coming to Galen Center for two key Pac-12 clashes. On Friday (Feb. 17), the Trojans (13-12, 4-10 Pac-12) will look to avenge a road loss taken at Washington State (10-15, 5-9) in a 6 p.m. showdown. At Friday's game, USC will Fight On 4 Kay, raising breast cancer awareness by wearing pink at the game while the first 500 fans receive special Play 4 Kay shirts to help support the cause. On Sunday (Feb. 19), USC will celebrate Senior Day at Galen Center, holding a pregame ceremony to honor its 2017 seniors, Jordan Adams, Courtney Jaco, Ivana Jakubcova and Alexis Lloyd. At 3 p.m., the Trojans will tip off against No. 9 Washington (24-3, 12-2) in a chance to post a second win over a top-10 opponent this season. Both games will be broadcast on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Washington. Sunday's game also will air nationally on Pac-12 Network.
IN THE NATION
USC is unranked in the latest national polls. Washington State is unranked, and Washington is ranked No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the USA Today/Coaches poll.
In the fifth game of the season (Nov. 23), redshirt senior Jordan Adams suffered a season-ending ACL tear (left knee). She was averaging 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game before being sidelined for the season. Dani Milisic was sidelined for the first four games (knee) and was cleared to play for her first action on Nov. 23. Aliyah Mazyck missed five games (Jan. 1-15) with injury (foot). Mazyck also missed the past six games (Jan. 27-Feb. 12) with the same issue. Marguerite Effa missed four games (Dec. 30-Jan. 8) with injury and did not travel last weekend to Oregon. Kristen Simon missed three games (Jan. 13-18) for personal reasons. Valerie Higgins missed the Jan. 15 game vs. OSU with injury (knee).
CELEBRATING OUR SENIORS
Before Sunday's game, USC will celebrate its four seniors on the roster this season. Jordan Adams, Courtney Jaco, Ivana Jakubcova and Alexis Lloyd all entered the 2016-17 campaign in their final year of eligibility. An early-season ACL tear has sidelined Adams, but she hopes to be granted another season to compete for the Trojans. Still, Friday is an opportunity to celebrate this impressive class of seniors. Adams, Jaco and Lloyd all were members of the first-ever USC team to win a Pac-12 Tournament Championship back in 2014. Now, the trio has embraced the addition of transfer Jakubcova, who joined the Trojans this season as a grad transfer. Altogether, the four seniors are revered by their teammates and respected by opponents for the leadership and skill sets they bring to the game as Trojans.
The Cougars enter the week 10-15 overall and 5-9 in Pac-12 play after falling to ASU 61-58 and to Arizona 70-62 last week. Chanel Molina is WSU's top active scorer with 12.8 ppg, while Nike McClure is the top active rebounder with 5.4 rpg. USC is 46-18 all-time against WSU after a 74-57 loss last month in Pullman. USC's last win over the Cougars was a 77-73 victory in the first round of the 2016 Pac-12 Tournament.
The Huskies enter the week 24-3 overall and 12-2 in Pac-12 play after beating Arizona 91-55 and ASU 70-57 last week. Kelsey Plum leads Washington and the nationin scoring with 30.5 ppg, and Chantel Osahor also is the nation's leader on the boards with 15.2 rpg. USC is 29-35 all-time against UW after a 77-67 loss last month in Seattle. With losses in the last six meetings, USC's last win over the Huskies was an 81-72 victory on Jan. 11, 2013 at Galen Center.
USC sent a shockwave through Corvallis with a resounding 70-50 upset win of No. 9 Oregon State last week. USC shrugged off a second-half tie and hit the gas to maneuver out ahead of the Beavers on a total team effort by the Trojans. The win is USC's fourth over a ranked team this year and first since the Trojans upset No. 4 Stanford in the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. USC's next victim that year? Oregon State in the championship match. That was the Trojans' last win over the Beavers, and tonight's 20-point victory is just one shy of USC's next-largest win over the Beavers -- an 81-60 victory earlier in that 2013-14 season. It was USC's first win in Corvallis since 2012-13.The Trojans caught fire in the first frame, hitting at a 60-percent clip while maneuvering out of a seven-point deficit and out to a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Sadie Edwards was in double digits by the end of those first 10 minutes for the Trojans. In the second quarter, OSU finally got some momentum on its side as fouls mounted against USC. Only eight points registered for USC in the second quarter, but the Trojans still gripped a 29-26 lead at the break. USC shot 43 percent from the floor to OSU's 40 percent in that first half of action. In the second half, USC turned up the juice, shooting 54 percent in the last 20 minutes to outpace OSU's 30 percent in those last 20 minutes. The final count had USC hitting a 48-percent clip from the floor while OSU shot 35 percent. The Beavers edged out the Trojans 35-33 on the boards but committed 20 turnovers that saw USC turn into 28 points. USC nabbed 14 steals, led by a career-high five from Valerie Higgins. By the final buzzer, USC had Sadie Edwards with a game-high 17 points, joined in double digits by Courtney Jaco with 15 points and Kristen Simon with 14. OSU had one Beaver in double digits with Sydney Wiese matching Edwards with 17 points on the night.
USC BY THE NUMBERS
Led by Kristen Simon's team-high 14.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, the Women of Troy have put together a 13-12 overall record to date with wins over four ranked teams. Defensively, USC is holding opponents to 63.8 points per game and has forced 18.6 turnovers per game by its opponents. Individually, USC has four players averaging double digits. The group of scoring leaders has Simon on top with her 14.7 ppg, followed by senior Courtney Jaco with 10.8 ppg, freshman Minyon Moore at 10.6 ppg and junior Sadie Edwards with 10.2 ppg. USC's top distributor is easily Moore, who averages 4.2 assists per game. As a team, USC is averaging 67.6 points per game, shooting .427 from the floor and .708 from the free-throw line.
HOT-HANDED IN SACRAMENTO
In a mad scramble in Sacramento, USC outshot the host Hornets in an all-out shootout for an 111-95 road win that pumped up the Trojans' overall record to 7-1. Five Women of Troy hit double digits in the fast-paced win, led by a career-high 24 points from Aliyah Mazyck. The high-scoring affair also saw freshman Minyon Moore serve up 15 assists -- second most by a Trojan in program history to stand just behind 17 tallied by Rhonda Windham back in 1982. USC's 111 points scored also was the sixth most in program history, last hit in 1981. In the first half, the Trojans rattled off 60 points -- the most in a half since 1987 and the sixth most points in a half in program history. USC also shot a season-high 58.8 percent from the floor in the fast-paced victory.
ON THE RISE
USC senior guard Courtney Jaco's 3-point threat has been well established, and the sharpshooter continues to climb in the USC record books. She started her senior season ranked as USC's No. 5 all-time 3-point shooter. With 56 threes landed this season, she has now taken over the No. 2 spot in USC history. She matched Shay Murphy at No. 3 with three 3-pointers landed vs. OSU on Jan. 15. And with a career-best seven 3-pointers nailed vs. UCLA on Jan. 18 -- matching the single-game record set by leader Ashley Corral -- Jaco launched herself past Brynn Cameron to take over at No. 2 all-time. Jaco's current tally is 202 career threes made. She also stands as USC's most productive 3-point shooter with a career average of 39.0% from beyond the arc to date. Jaco also is the only Trojan to significantly up her production in Pac-12 play. She's averaging 11.9 points, 1.4 steals and 1.9 rebounds per game in conference play, while shooting 85.7 percent from the free-throw line to outpace her respective overall season marks of 10.8 ppg, 1.2 spg, 1.6 rpg and 77.8 FT%.
USC junior forward Kristen Simon has tacked up double-doubles in eight of her 22 appearances this season, including back-to-back double-double outings at the Great Alaska Shootout, where she was named Most Outstanding Player at the tournament. She now boasts 16 career double-doubles, and still holds the rights to one of USC's most dominant recent rebounding effort in her 21-board game last season. That marked the fourth most single-game rebounds ever collected by a Trojan, placing her just behind efforts by such USC greats as Lisa Leslie and Cheryl Miller. After setting a new career high for herself with a 23-point outing at Sacramento State, and delivering a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line in USC's upset of Texas A&M, Simon was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Dec. 5. She has since upped that career best with a 25-point day at WSU on Jan. 8.
PUNCH FROM THE BENCH
USC freshman guard Minyon Moore was the first 20-point scorer this season (vs. UC Riverside) and also served up a whopping 11 assists (vs. Missouri State) --- the most in a single game by a Trojan since Briana Gilbreath in 2012. Against Long Beach State, she set a new career high for herself with 23 points. And at Sacramento State, the freshman dished out 15 assists -- second most ever by a Trojan and the most since Rhonda Windham delivered 17 in 1982. Those efforts all came off the bench from Moore, who has averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 assists and 2.1 steals through her first 25 games as a Trojan. After her stellar showing in wins at Texas A&M and Sacramento State, Moore was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Dec. 5. Moore's first career start came on Jan. 15 against OSU.
A WELCOME HOMECOMING
USC kicked off homecoming weekend with a true reunion, welcoming home Trojan great Cheryl Miller for USC's exhibition clash against Cal State LA on Nov. 4. Miller is in her first year at the helm of CSULA, and her trip to Troy marked a rare opportunity for two former NCAA championship teammates and fellow Hall of Famers to face off. Miller and USC head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke were reunited on the court of their shared alma mater, with a pregame ceremony held to honor Miller's visit to Troy, with many former Women of Troy in attendance for the game.
PLAYING THE LONG GAME
The first thing opponents will notice about the 2016-17 Trojans is their size. USC opens the year with five players standing 6-foot-3 or taller -- a first for any USC roster in program history. In the past two decades, no USC roster has had more than three players with that kind of height. Such a notable influx has upped the Trojans' post presence, adding key balance to pair with its returning backcourt savvy. Led by 6-foot-6 senior transfer Ivana Jakubcova, USC's lofty post presence includes 6-4 Dani Milisic and a trio of Trojans standing at 6-3 in Marguerite Effa, Asiah Jones and Ja'Tavia Tapley.
Three years ago, the Trojans won the Pac-12 Tournament title for the first time in program history and got back to the NCAA Tournament after several years of near misses. Three members of that 2014 squad remain -- Jordan Adams, Courtney Jaco and Alexis Lloyd -- to help guide their 2016-17 team toward another postseason appearance, The loss of redshirt senior Adams was a hit to the Trojans, but fellow seniors Jaco and Lloyd and juniors Sadie Edwards and Kristen Simon have stepped up their leadership roles to help keep the bar high for their team.
Redshirt freshman Dani Milisic has checked in for her first action as a Trojan this season alongside true freshmen Minyon Moore, Valerie Higgins, Asiah Jones and Ja'Tavia Tapley, while USC welcomes the savvy and skill of grad student transfer Ivana Jakubcova. USC's supersized post presence is comprised of 6-foot-6 Jakubcova, 6-4 Milisic and a trio of 6-3 youngsters in Effa, Jones and Tapley. Altogether, USC's four true freshmen (Higgins, Jones, Moore and Tapley) have combined for 567 points (22.7 ppg) -- 34% of USC's overall production -- to date.
The team got an early dose of experience together this summer with a trip to Italy, where the Trojans combined incredible cultural experiences in Pisa, Venice, Florence, Treviso and Rome with valuable game action against international squads. It was an powerful chance to grow as a team. From bike rides along the Sile River, to climbing the Tower of Pisa, to photo ops in the Colosseum in Rome (a little older than the one in Los Angeles!), the Women of Troy made many lasting memories. Plus, they got to hit the court for three games against pro and semi-pro teams from Italy, Germany and Lithuania, offering up a fantastic opportunity for new teammates to get comfortable on-court as a team.
USC finished up the 2015-16 season with a 19-13 overall record in head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke's third season at Troy. USC's 13th win of the year also notched Cooper-Dyke's 200th career win as a head coach. The Trojans had opened up the year with a 12-0 record, doubling up on its most recent best season start of 6-0, last hit in 1993-94 with Cheryl Miller as head coach. The 12-0 start was the best opening for the Women of Troy since an 18-0 start in the 1981-82 season. After opening up 12-0, however, USC had two key Trojans sidelined with eligibility issues, which interrupted USC's flow the rest of the way. USC would go 6-12 in Pac-12 play and reach the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals. At the close of the season, senior Temi Fagbenle would earn WBCA All-Region honors to go along with her spot on the All-Pac-12 Team. Courtney Jaco also earned conference accolades with All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Fagbenle had led the Trojans in scoring (13.6 ppg), rebounds (8.7 rpg) and steals (1.8 spg) while Jaco ruled the backcourt, adding 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game to go along with her 72 three-pointers made.
USC has hauled in two key Californians with the signing of Shalexxus Aaron and Destiny Littleton to national letters of intent. The two newest Women of Troy are shining stars from Southern California, and are now set to make themselves at home at Troy in 2017. Aaron and Littleton are highly anticipated additions to the USC roster for 2017-18, offering up distinct backcourt strengths to bring to the Trojan gameplan. Shalexxus Aaron will come to Troy from Martin Luther King High in Riverside, and is actually already a member of the Trojan Family by blood. Her brother, Shaqquan, is a redshirt sophomore on the USC men's basketball team. A 6-1 guard, Aaron was league MVP as a freshman and participated in the USA Under-16 and under-17 team trials. Ranked as the #16 guard in the nation by ESPN, Aaron truly has basketball in her blood. Her mother. Madinah, is a former college basketball player. Her father, Carl, played professionally in Australia. And her oldest brother, Shaddean, played basketball at Mercer College. A 5-9 guard, Destiny Littleton has racked up plenty of accolades for her work at The Bishop's School in La Jolla. Ranked as the #9 guard in the nation by ESPN, Littleton was the 2014 CIF Freshman of the Year, 2015 CIF Sophomore of the Year, 2016 CIF Junior of the Year and was named to the 2016 California All-State First Team. She also was a member of the 2015 USA Basketball U16 National Team. On Jan. 14 of this year, Littleton broke the California state scoring record. She entered her senior season 905 points shy of passing record-holder Charde Houston (3,837), who was also coached by Littleton's high school coach and guardian, Marlon Wells.