USC Women Hit Spokane For Three Games In Hall of Fame Challenge

    The Women of Troy take their 2-0 record on the road for three games in Spokane, Wash.
    Nov. 19, 2015

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    THIS WEEK
    USC’s next action takes the Trojans to Spokane, Wash., for three games as a part of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Challenge. USC (2-0) will open up with a 4 p.m. game against Grand Canyon (1-1) on Sunday (Nov. 22). On Monday (Nov. 23), USC faces West Virginia (2-0) at 8 p.m. before squaring off against host Gonzaga (1-1) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 24).

    FOLLOW ALONG
    Live audio for all games will be available through usctrojans.com, with play-by-play provided by Carey Noakes. Live stats also will be available through links on the USC women’s basketball schedule page at usctrojans.com. USC’s Sunday and Monday games will be streamed live via thew.tv, and Tuesday’s game vs. Gonzaga will be televised by local station SWX with live stream also available. For links to stats and streams, go to the TOURNAMENT CENTRAL PAGE.

    LIVE AUDIO (Play-by-play: Carey Noakes)

    TOURNAMENT CENTRAL (Stats & Streams)

    IN THE NATION
    The Trojans are unranked in this week’s USA Today and Associated Press national polls. Grand Canyon, West Virginia and Gonzaga also are unranked, though the Bulldogs are receiving votes in the USA Today poll.

    HOME STAND SUCCESS
    USC proved too powerful for another early visitor to Galen Center as the Women of Troy stoked themselves out to a 2-0 start to the 2015-16 season on an 81-46 win over Santa Clara on Monday. Four Trojans hit double digits in this one, with Jordan Adams tallying her second straight double-double while matching her career high of 21 points. Newcomer Temi Fagbenle also clocked in with her first double-digit scoring day as a Trojan with 17 points in the win.The Trojans never trailed in the game, and led by as much as 45 during the third quarter of action. Paced by Jordan Adams’ career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds, USC also saw newcomers Temi Fagbenle (17 points) and Aliyah Mazyck (14 points) hit double digits for the first time in their fresh USC careers. Sophomore Kristen Simon also got to double digits in this one, marking her second game in double figures with 11 points to go with seven rebounds. Adams also added six steals in the winning effort, while Brianna Barrett led all with five assists. Santa Clara was led on the scoresheet by Devin Hudson’s 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Women of Troy scored more points from the stripe than from the field in the first quarter, but still managed to lead the Broncos 23-7 at the first break. An early 7-0 USC scoring rally helped create space in crafting an 11-2 lead before fouls started to interrupt the flow of the game. Both teams spent plenty of time from the free-throw line, and USC’s last nine points of the quarter came from that spot. In the second period, however, the Trojans were able to step up their offensive efforts in the run of play. Jordan Adams would work her way into double digits by halftime, as did freshman Aliyah Mazyck. USC hot streak in the second frame came care of a dominating 11-0 run fueled by a 3-pointer and a runner from Adams and a pair of buckets from Brianna Barrett before Kristen Simon capped off the rally with a successful journey to the stripe. That surge had USC ahead of Santa Clara 37-13 with under four minutes left in the half. The Trojans kept coming, and would wrap the half with a 48-17 lead over the Broncos -- just a single point’s difference from their season opener, which saw USC lead Hope International 48-18 at halftime last week. Santa Clara registered the first point of the second half with the back end of a trip to the line, only to see the Women of Troy manufacture a dominating scoring onslaught. A 15-0 scoring rally boosted USC comfortably into the driver’s seat with a 63-18 advantage. Temi Fagbenle had worked her way into double-digit scoring for the first time as a Trojan with her six points contributing to that scoring surge. Adams, too, sneaked her way ever closer to hitting a new career high as she dumped in another 3-pointer and scored a bucket to put her stamp on another double-digit day. USC would go dry from the floor for the next stretch, however, netting free throws but no more field goals as the third quarter wrapped up with Santa Clara making a dent in the USC lead as it the scoreboard read 67-31 Trojans at the close of the third. Fagbenle would be dealt her fifth foul of the game midway through the fourth quarter, but not before delivering 17 points for the Trojan cause. Shortly after, Adams hauled in her 10th rebound of the game to secure her second consecutive double-double while USC held a 70-36 lead over the Broncos. Also in the fourth, Kristen Simon checked in as the fourth Trojan in double figures, joining Adams, Fagbenle and Aliyah Mazyck with that distinction. The teams would wind up largely even on the point scale in the fourth, finishing out the game as an 81-46 USC final victory over the visiting Broncos.

    SEASON-OPENING VICTORY
    USC got out of the gates with a dominating season-opening victory at Galen Center on Friday, tacking up a 92-43 win over visiting Hope International. All 10 Trojans who hit the court scored in the victory, led by a career-high 20 points from sophomore Kristen Simon and a career-high 14 rebounds from redshirt junior Jordan Adams. USC’s season opener put five new Trojans on the stage for their first official minutes at Troy. All five also registered their first career points as Trojans. Transfer Temi Fagbenle hauled in 10 rebounds and had eight points — all in the first half of action — to lead the group of newcomers. True freshman Khaedin Taito earned a starting spot alongside Fagbenle and finished up with two points along with two steals and three assists. Fellow freshman Maguerite Effa led the group of young Women of Troy with nine points and six rebounds, with Aliyah Mazyck adding eight points and five assists, and Candela Abejón provided two points and three rebounds.The biggest numbers of the day, however, came from the hands of Simon and Adams, with junior Courtney Jaco adding 13 points to the Trojan cause thanks to a trio of 3-pointers nailed in the game. Adams’ 18 points and 14 rebounds also notched the redshirt junior’s second career double-double. Hope International was led in scoring by Nikki Andaya with seven points, with Jazzmyn Oliver leading the Royals with four rebounds. Up against Hope International for the first time in program history, the Women of Troy were forced to regroup early on as the Royals nudged out to a 5-2 lead. USC responded with a 10-0 scoring run to take the lead for good. Aliyah Mazyck’s first career points as a Trojan helped charge up USC to a 16-7 lead in the first quarter, and USC would continue to pad its advantage up to a 27-10 lead at the close of the first. In the second quarter, Fagbenle served up seven of her final eight points while continuing to own the boards, hauling in seven more rebounds in that frame. Freshman Effa would contribute her first points in that quarter, serving up back-to-back buckets to boost USC ahead 41-14 midway through the period. Adams and Fagbenle would combine forces for the last seven points of the half, taking USC to a 48-18 halftime lead. In the third, Jaco got hot from 3-point land, knocking down back-to-back threes to help USC out to a 58-20 lead. Khaedin Taito’s first Trojan points came soon after, taking USC to a 62-22 advantage, and USC would stay the course to hold a 75-31 lead entering the fourth, hot off Jaco’s third 3-pointer of the game. The fourth period was highlighted by Candela Abejón’s first points as a Trojan, as she made it 81-33 early in the fourth. The Trojans and the Royals would remain largely in stride the rest of the way as the Women of Troy capped off a 92-43 victory thanks to a final pair of points from Alexis Lloyd.

    TROJANS AT A GLANCE
    Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and her returning staff of associate head coach Beth Burns and assistants Jualeah Woods and Taja Edwards have constructed a 2015-16 group of Women of Troy with great potential to improve on last year’s 15-15 finish. USC graduated its top scorers and rebounders Kaneisha Horn and Alexyz Vaioletama -- who provided 12.0 and 10.3 points per game, respectively, along with 6.9 rebounds per game apiece – from last year’s squad. Replacing those veterans may not be easy, but Cooper-Dyke is happy with her new roster of players and expects to fill the statistical void that the departed players have left. In fact, she sees this group of Trojans as decidedly capable of making a strong run in the Pac-12 and beyond. Five Women of Troy return from last year’s roster, with Jordan Adams, Brianna Barrett and Courtney Jaco standing out as the only players with at least two seasons of work under their belts at Troy, but they also boast winning experience as members of the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament Championship team. Returners Alexis Lloyd and Kristen Simon played their first seasons as Trojans last year. As the veterans of the bunch, that group is joined by a solid seven new Trojans set to hit the court this season. Two transfers, three international additions, one California product and one North Carolina native will all don Cardinal and Gold for the first time in 2015-16.

    WORLDLY WOMEN OF TROY
    The international flavor coming to Troy this season adds a new element to the USC gameplan. In the recent past, no more than one international player has been on a USC roster at a time. This year, USC welcomes Candela Abejón from Spain, Dani Milisic from Australia and Khaedin Taito from New Zealand. Two more Trojan newcomers also have strong ties overseas. A 2012 Olympian for Great Britain, Temi Fagbenle was raised in London and her family now lives in Nigeria. She joins the Trojan Family with one year of eligibility left after finishing her degree at Harvard. True freshman Marguerite Effa, meanwhile, also has roots in Africa, having lived in Cameroon before moving to California, where she attended high school.

    STICKING STATESIDE
    USC’s two homegrown newcomers are true freshman Aliyah Mazyck – from Charlotte, N.C. – and Connecticut transfer Sadie Edwards, who joined the Women of Troy in January 2015 and will be eligible for competition after this fall stretch of 2015.

    KEY FORCE
    Temi Fagbenle will preside over the paint for the Trojans along with returning sophomore post Kristen Simon. Newcomers Marguerite Effa and Dani Milisic also will loom large down low to help deepen the USC inside presence. Milisic is set as a Spring 2016 enrollee, joining the Trojans after the fall semester.

    GUARD PLAY
    In the backcourt, USC returns a set of three starting guards. Jordan Adams and Brianna Barrett combined forces as USC’s assist leaders last season. The redshirt junior and senior, respectively, will both be called upon to help drive the USC offense. Adams boasts the ability to fit in at any spot on the court, while Courtney Jaco will likely be called upon to step back into her sniper position beyond the arc. Jaco was USC’s top 3-point shooter last season, and as she enters her junior year she’s again primed for her key role in the USC attack. True freshman Aliyah Mazyck can also step in at the point, and Khaedin Taito brings additional power to the plan of attack. Meanwhile, Candela Abejón, Sadie Edwards and Alexis Lloyd add further depth to the USC backcourt.

    COMMITTED!
    The USC women’s basketball program will grow four players stronger with the signing of a solid set of new Women of Troy set to come to campus in 2016. With national letters of intent signed and delivered on Nov. 11, USC head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and her coaching staff are proud to announce the addition of Valerie Higgins, Asiah Jones, Minyon Moore and Ja’Tavia Tapley to the USC program next season. In all, the stellar new class weighs in at No. 7 in the nation according to Blue Star and No. 10 according to espnW HoopGurlz. A 6-0 guard, Valerie Higgins is a Southern California product who has a laundry list of accolades from her prep career at Chaminade College Prep and with the Nike Cal Stars club team. Named to the All-CIF First Team, she also has been named SoCal Player of the Year and was ranked as an ESPN Top-10 Wing. She’s put up big numbers, too, averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals per game. A two-time Nike EYBL National Champion, Higgins also helped lead her Chaminade Prep squad to a 27-4 record while grabbing two wins over top-ranked Mater Dei last season. A 6-3 forward, South Carolina product Asiah Jones is coming off a junior season at Woodmont High in which she averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds per game. She also has notched a career-high nine blocks in a single game, a testament to her size and skill that makes her a powerful addition to the Trojan gameplan. A Northern California product, 5-8 guard Minyon Moore comes to Troy from Salesian High in the Bay Area. A proven producer, Moore averaged 14 points, 7 assists, 5 steals and 5 rebounds per game and helped lead Salesian to the North Coast Section Division IV Championship. A 6-3 forward, Ja’Tavia Tapley joins the Trojan Family from Florida. The out-of-state import will be at home among the well-traveled Women of Troy, who will have nine different states and overseas nations represented when Tapley joins the crew along with fellow signee and South Carolina product Jones. Tapley ranks as the No. 39 overall prospect in the nation and stands as the No. 6 small forward in the land. An All-State First Team selection in 2015, Tapley is sure to bring a powerful presence to USC next season.

    TUNE IN TO THE TROJANS
    The Women of Troy have 14 televised regular-season games this season, with Pac-12 Networks also planning to broadcast games at the Pac-12 Tournament. All of USC’s regular-season televised appearances will air on Pac-12 Los Angeles, with some games also airing nationally or in other regions. Check the USC schedule at usctrojans.com for more info. Also check with your local cable provider for channel information. All told, USC will potentially cross paths with seven teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last year. All non-televised USC home games will be streamed live at pac-12.com/live/usc-2