USC hits the road to take on Saint Mary’s

first_imgThe USC women’s basketball team looks to build on recent success this weekend as the squad travels to Moraga, California, to take on Saint Mary’s on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 5:30 p.m.Air Jordan · Redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Adams is averaging 10.3 points per game through USC’s first six contests this season. Adams started 24 times last season, averaging 2.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. – Brian Ji | Daily TrojanThe Women of Troy (5-1) are in the midst of a five-game winning streak and are coming off winning the SMU Thanksgiving Classic in Dallas, Texas, last weekend. USC picked up an 88-67 win over Sam Houston State, with freshman guard McKenzie Calvert leading the team with 19 points. The Women of Troy then overcame a slow start and five-point halftime deficit against SMU to pull out a 64-57 win in the championship game.Standout senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama was named the tournament’s MVP, tallying a combined 20 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists over the two games.“For me, it’s not necessarily a winning streak,” head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. “We take one game at a time, and we’ve been playing hard. We’ve been playing defense … and when you put those two together, I think you can come away with the win on anyone’s court. Our defense has been good; our rebounding, which has allowed us to get out on our fast-break; and last game against SMU our halfcourt execution was really impressive. Every game has been somewhat stepping it up, and I think we’re starting to come together as a team.”Vaioletama leads a balanced USC offense — which features five double-digit scorers — with 11.8 points per game. She is also second on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game and is tied for the team lead in blocks with four on the season. Sophomore guard Courtney Jaco is averaging 10.5 points per game, redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Adams has 10.3, junior guard Brianna Barrett has 10.2, and Calvert is averaging 10 per game. Adams also leads the team in assists with 5.3 per game, while Barrett leads the team with 2.8 steals per game.“I think our team has bought into the concept of spreading the ball around and really making each player an offensive threat, which is much more difficult to defend,” Cooper-Dyke said. “You have to stop the team as opposed to one player. We’re leaning on each other, relying on each other and having each other’s back on offense and defense, but we’re playing great basketball.”The Gaels (4-1), who are coming off a 67-63 win over Iowa State, will host Cal State Northridge (6-0) before their match against the Women of Troy. Saint Mary’s, led by Lauren Nicholson’s 16.5 points per game, will counter with a balanced scoring attack of their own, with four players averaging 12 points or more per game. The Gaels are coming off of a 23-10 season and an 11-7 record in the WCC.The only previous meeting between the two teams was a 71-55 Saint Mary’s victory last season at the Galen Center. Cassie Harberts finished with a double-double in the game (17 points, 12 rebounds) but was the only USC player to finish with double-digit points. Because Harberts has since departed for the WNBA, the Women of Troy will have to rely on another player to step up in Moraga.“We’re going out knowing what we want to do, and execute more,” senior forward Kaneisha Horn said. “We still have a lot of work to do, we’ve just been able to get victories, and we want to continue on that path.”After the game against Saint Mary’s, USC will spend the next month at the Galen Center. They’ll start their home-stand against Cal State Northridge (6-0) on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m., followed by Sacramento State (1-5) on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. The homestand will take them into Pac-12 play, which will begin on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at 6 p.m. against UCLA (1-4).Quick HitsThe 2013 Gaels advanced to the second round of the Women’s NIT, while the Women of Troy fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.Vaioletema was named the  USC Credit Union Female Student-Athlete of the Week for her performance against SMU. She is the second basketball player to win the award this season, after Adams last week.South Carolina, the only team to defeat the Women of Troy this season, remains the top-ranked team in the AP Poll. Stanford, Cal and Oregon State are the only ranked Pac-12 teams, at No. 8, No. 10 and No. 17, respectively.last_img

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