Nov. 5, 2013
2013-14 USC WBB Release
The USC women's basketball team officially opens its new era under head coach Cynthia Cooper with a rousing road trip northward. The Women of Troy will play their 2013-14 season opener at UC Davis, facing the Aggies for just the second time in program history in a 7 p.m. clash on Friday (Nov. 8) in Davis, Calif. From there, the Trojans dig deeper into their 2013-14 campaign with a journey to face Fresno State on Sunday (Nov. 10) at 2 p.m. in Fresno, Calif. Both the Aggies and the Bulldogs got the best of the Trojans in matchups last year, so USC will be looking for some revenge while also aiming for a winning start to this new season.
THE LAST MEETING
December 21, 2012
Long-Range Aggie Attack Deals USC Women A 78-69 Loss
The USC women's basketball team came up against a hot-handed UC Davis squad tonight in the opener of the Women of Troy Basketball Classic at Galen Center. The Aggies knocked down 14 threes in the game to build and keep some space on the host Trojans, holding onto a lead down the stretch to hand host USC a 78-69 loss. USC goes to 3-6 overall with the loss, and UC Davis improves to 4-4.
THE LAST MEETING
December 5, 2012
Game Of Runs Sees USC Women Come Up Short At Fresno State
The USC women's basketball team made a difficult road for itself before a late rallying cry made for a wild final few minutes in Fresno tonight, but host Fresno State's big second-half lead kept enough padding for the Bulldogs to pull off the 65-60 win over the visiting Women of Troy. USC goes to 3-4 overall with the loss, and Fresno State improves to 5-2.
Live stats through GameTracker will be available online for both games through the USC women's basketball page at usctrojans.com. The USC-Fresno State game will be streamed live online through the Mountain West at themwc.com
IN THE NATION
USC is unranked to start the 2013-14 season. UC Davis and Fresno State also are unranked in the preseason polls.
SCOUTING UC DAVIS
The Aggies are coming off a 12-18 season in which UC Davis fell in the first round of the Big West Tournament. The Aggies return their leading scorer and rebounder from last season in Sydney Fipps, who averaged 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds as a sophomore. USC is 0-1 all-time against UC Davis after falling 78-69 to the Aggies in the programs' first meeting last season at Galen Center.
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE
The Bulldogs are coming off a 24-9 season in which Fresno State reached the NCAA First Round. The returning top scorers from that team are Alex Sheedy and Taylor Thompson, who averaged 10.4 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. Sheedy was also the team's second leading rebounder with 5.6 rebounds per game. USC is 5-5 all-time against Fresno State after having a five-game win streak against the Bulldogs snapped by last season's 65-60 loss in Fresno. USC last beat the Bulldogs 65-57 at the Galen Center in 2011-12.
USC scraped the rust off and dug into 2013-14 action last week with the Trojans' exhibition face-off with Westmont. Playing their first game of the season in front of fans at the Galen Center, the Women of Troy were eager to get time under the lights and with new head coach Cynthia Cooper at the helm. Cooper's Trojans made themselves at home as the game wore on, heating up in the second half to put Westmont behind 73-38 at the final horn. Twelve different Trojans got in on the scoring action in the win, reflecting a hefty dose of depth on the USC roster for 2013-14. Cassie Harberts led them all with 16 points, while Ariya Crook dumped in 12 and Brianna Barrett added 10 more. USC wound up shooting a smooth 50 percent from the floor, and outrebounded the Warriors 37-28 led by Harberts again with eight boards on the night. Westmont shot 28 percent in the game and was led in scoring by Esther Lee with seven points. A pick and finish from Brianna Barrett and a jumper from Alexyz Vaioletama had the Trojans doubling up the Warriors 26-13 with 4:30 to go in the first half. Westmont was able to hang tight to the Trojans through the final stretch, though, draining some late free throws to cut it to a 10-point game before Vaioletame delivered a baseline jumper to bump USC back ahead 33-21. One last trip to the line for Westmont with 2 ticks to go saw the Warriors answer back, and USC took a 33-23 lead into the locker room at the break. Harberts opened the second half with a score that locked her in as the first player to get to double digits, and she'd provide two more soon after. Barrett would convert her second three-point play of the night with 17:05 on the clock, and USC was up to a 40-25 advantage on the Warriors. Kate Oliver's first points of the night followed, and the Trojans were officially heating up. Barrett nabbed a steal and finished with finesse with 14:15 to go to join Harberts in double figures. A Kiki Alofaituli stuff fed a drive by Crook, and another Westmont turnover saw Crook again going the other way to work her way into double digits, too. As the 10-minute mark approached, USC was shooting at a 50-percent clip from the floor, thanks in part to Barrett's 4-for-4 effort and perfect visits to the free-throw line. Deanna Calhoun joined her seven other Trojan teammates on the scoresheet with points when she finished off another three-point play for USC, and the Trojans were enjoying a 61-30 lead with 8 minutes remaining. Kaneisha Horn was next to get on the board, becoming the ninth Trojan to score with the front end of her trip to the free-throw line at the 7:30 mark. Trojan scorer number 10 wound up as freshman Courtney Jaco, who impressed with a smooth runner, while her fellow freshman Drew Edelman came up next with a score and the ensuing free throw to put a 71-36 USC lead up on the board entering the final three minutes of action.
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 returns 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 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 senior season already named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 list and as a finalist for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award. She was an All-Pac-12 Team pick last year after averaging 18.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, which helped launch her into a new realm in being selected a member of the USA's World University Games team, winning gold in Russia this past summer. Last season, Harberts led the Trojans in points, rebounds, and blocks and finished third in the Pac-12 in points per game, while she also set USC records in free throws made (207) and attempted (298). She is currently No. 16 all-time at USC with 1,293 career points. 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.
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 will come 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 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. Cooper is already been impressed by what these two newcomers have to offer. 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.
CAN'T STOP CASSIE
Senior Cassie Harberts is the centerpiece of the USC team and has established herself as on of USC's top players all-time. She enters 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. As a freshman, she 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.
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.
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).