Women’s basketball | November 16, 2021
USC (2-0) vs. Western Michigan (1-1)
Galien Center | Los Angeles, California
Thursday November 18 | 7:00 p.m.
Series record: USC leads 1-0 (W1)
Last meeting: W 88-62 [12/29/93 • Los Angeles]
FLOWS | STATISTICS
USC v Missouri State (2-0)
Galien Center | Los Angeles, California
Saturday 20 November | 2:00 p.m.
Series record: USC leads 1-0 (W1)
Last meeting: W 89-67 [11/22/16 • Anchorage]
FLOWS | STATISTICS
USC is back in town to welcome two different opponents in the second meet between their programs. On Thursday (Nov. 18), the USC Women (2-0) face Western Michigan (1-1) at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center, marking the first clash between the Trojans and Bears since their streak began in 1993. . And Saturday (November 20) at 2 p.m., USC faces Missouri State (2-0). The Trojans and Broncos first met in the Great Alaska Shootout 2016.
IN THE NATION
USC is receiving votes in this week’s AP poll.
The Bears are 1-1 overall after a 95-58 win in their first game of the season against Kentucky State and a 70-62 loss to Purdue. WMU’s top scorer is Lauren Ross with 22.5 points per game, and Taylor Williams leads the table with 10.0 rebounds per game. USC and West Michigan have only met once before, with the Trojans winning 88-62 in Los Angeles on December 29, 1994.
The Broncos enter the week 2-0 on aggregate after a 76-62 win in their first game of the season at Little Rock and a 56-50 win over North Texas. Missouri State’s top scorer is Mariah White with 17.0 points per game, and Jasmine Franklin leads the standings with 14.0 rebounds per game. USC and the State of Missouri have only met once before, with the Trojans winning 89-67 in the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage on November 22, 2016.
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USC picked up a road victory on a cross-country visit to Virginia, where the Trojans outscored the Cavaliers 65-48. First-year student Clarice Akunwafo scored a double-double for the Trojans as USC turned a one-point margin into a 17-point lead in the second half thanks to stingy defense and efficient attacking. USC is now 2-0 overall with today’s road victory. Jordan sanders was in double digits at halftime for the Trojans, who pulled 37.0 percent off the ground in the first 20 minutes to narrowly overtake Virginia’s 33.3 percent effort. The Cavaliers were ahead on boards 35-30 by this point, but USC had some offensive help from four 3-pointers landed at halftime to help USC lead 34. -39 at halftime. By the last buzzer, USC had left Virginia far behind, finishing 35.9 recent shots from the ground while UVAs were at 28.1%. USC ended up winning the battle on boards 52, 45, thanks in part to a career-high 10 rebounds each from the main guard Desiree Caldwell and first year center Clarice Akunwafo. Akunwafo was one of four double-digit Trojans to score, scoring 10 points while fellow freshman Rayah marshall led all scorers with 16 points. Tera Roseau and Jordan sanders each had 13 each. Virginia’s top scorer was Taylor Valladay with nine points.
OPENING VICTORY OF THE SEASON
USC went on a 25-0 streak in the fourth quarter to put Hawai’i out of reach in the Trojans’ season opener at the Galen Center, taking the win with a final score of 90-50. By the last buzzer, USC had 11 goalscorers, including five double-digit Trojans to help secure a 1-0 start in Lindsay Gottliebhis first game as head coach of USC.
USC got big in the second half, cranking up the volume on a 38.9% first half exit to finish filming at a 51.5% clip in the game. Hawai’i kept pace with USC in the second quarter, only to see the Trojans find a rhythm in the final 20 minutes. The Rainbow Wahine ended up pulling 30.3% from the ground, while USC led on boards 49-33. Of USC’s five double-digit scorers, Jordan sanders led the field with a high of 17 points thanks to a 3v3 effort from beyond the arc. When he started at USC, first year Rayah marshall was one board away from a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Another newcomer, graduate student Tera Roseau contributed 11 points and five assists in his first outing as a Trojan, with the juniors Angel Jackson also adding 11 points. Second year Jordyn jenkins, meanwhile, scored 10 points for the Trojan cause. Hawai’i was led by scoring 14 points from Kallin Spiller, as well as 11 from McKenna Haire.
Junior that of Alissa Pili talents continue to be nationally acclaimed as the 2021-22 women’s basketball season kicks off. On November 9, the USC forward was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason 50 Best Watch List as well as the Naismith Trophy Watchlist. This is Pili’s second selection on the Naismith Watch List. One of the most versatile and impressive players in the game today, Pili has been an impact player since joining USC as a freshman. Named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a member of the All-Pac-12 team in 2020, Pili battled a sophomore injury to earn the All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. This year, the junior is captain of the Women of Troy and is nominated for duty in several different roles. An undoubted power in painting, Pili has excellent ball skills as well as the range to knock down the 3 points. She begins her junior year averaging 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to go along with a 0.502 shooting effort from the ground and a 0.799 mark from the free throw line. Recently, Pili was also named to the Katrina McClain Award preseason watchlist for the second year in a row, once again recognizing her as one of the top 20 power forwards in the country. She also has a spot on the 2021-22 Pac-12 preseason conference overall squad.
The top spot for the Trojan Women is an exciting non-conference streak that includes eight home games at the Galen Center. USC’s road action includes a visit to Virginia to face the Trojans Cavalier team Tina Thompson, two tournaments at the Cancun Challenge and a visit to one of USC’s longest running rivalries – Long Beach State. Meanwhile, USC’s non-conference home slate opens with an exhibition game against Antelope Valley on November 6, followed by the official home opener against Hawai’i. This game has some sentimental value with former associate head coach Laura Beeman now at the helm of Rainbow Wahine, with two USC alumni and former girls’ basketball staff Alex Delanian and Jason Hill as well. in the Hawai’i coaching staff. Other foreign visitors to Troy will be western Michigan (Nov. 18) and the state of Missouri (Nov. 20) before the Trojans travel to Cancun to play UCF and Iowa. Then it’s back to the Galen Center for four games – UC Irvine (December 2), San Francisco (December 5) and CSUN (December 15). Another Trojans reunion comes on December 18, when the Texas Southern team of Trojan legend Cynthia Cooper arrives in town.
WE HAVE ACQUIRED
USC 2021-22 roster, led by new head coach and extraordinary basketball scientist Lindsay Gottlieb, brimming with talent and balance – ingredients Gottlieb looks forward to formulating into a competitive and successful program. The USC women have failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the past seven seasons while competing in arguably the most competitive women’s basketball conference in the country. Fortunately, Gottlieb gained a lot of experience sailing the Pac-12 and beyond while leading the California program. Subsequently, his two years as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA broadened both his sense of the game and his passion for player development. Now the leader of the Women of Troy, Gottlieb and his team are determined to ensure an upward trajectory for the USC program.
When it comes to tenacity. Look no further than junior Alissa pili. The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2020, Pili is one of the strongest and most versatile positions in the country. She is the linchpin of the Trojans, with a talented array of skilled positions also marked for time in painting. Length won’t be an issue for USC this season, with a 6-foot-5 junior Angel Jackson joined by two eagerly awaited freshmen in 6-6 Clarice Akunwafo and 6-4 Rayah marshall. Meanwhile, second sporting year Jordyn jenkins turns heads as a freshman, adding extra oomph to the paint.
Veteran status largely belongs to the backcourt. Senior Desiree Caldwell has been a dedicated and reliable point runner, while the graduate student Jordan sanders and transfer of diploma Tera Roseau also offer extensive experience. USC’s second-highest scorer last year, Sanders returns for a second season at USC, reducing her incredible precision and versatility to 3 points. A transfer from VCU, Reed is poised, savvy and knowledgeable. And when it comes to bringing the ball in, Caldwell can also give way to the juniors with confidence. Kyra Blanche, red shirt in second year Alyson miura and real freshman Bella perkins.
Which brings us to USC’s perimeter firepower. Sanders clearly stands out as the number one 3-point threat to Trojans, but there are plenty of others with hot hands. Caldwell, Miura and Madison Campbell combined for 44 lines landed last season. Perkins and Reed, meanwhile, are set to add to that arsenal in their first seasons at USC. But don’t count the Trojan messages. Pili has shown his range in the past, and there are plenty more with the ability to expand their attack.
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