'Sunday Showdown' women's basketball preview: USC at No. 13 UCLA
Who: USC vs No. 13 UCLA
When: Sunday, January 22 at 5 p.m./ 6 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network, and Pac-12 Los Angeles
On the call: Anne Marie Anderson and Tammy Blackburn
On the home side: No. 13 UCLA (14-4, 5-2 Pac-12)
UCLA will go for the season sweep of USC when they take on the Trojans in the final game of a back-to-back on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins won the first meeting 74-59 at the Galen Center on the shoulders of Monique Billings’ 11th double-double of the season. Junior All-American point guard Jordin Canada was the only other Bruin to achieve double figures in the scoring column with 15 points. Billings won’t have to completely carry the load in order to secure a win, but she may not mind a more balanced contribution from the offense this time around.
Bruins to watch:
Monique Billings: One of the premier scorers in the Conference of Champions, Billings is off the another sensational start this season. She’s scored in double digits for a personal-best 21-straight games. Against the Trojans, Billings recorded a double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds. USC will likely stand little chance against their crosstown rivals if she delivers a similar effort on Sunday.
Kari Korver: The senior guard has been lighting it up from beyond the arc this season. With what will be her 64th consecutive start, Korver will be 46 points away from 1,000 for her career. A big shooting performance from Korver would do well to take the scoring load off Monique Billings.
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On the away side: USC ( 10-8, 1-6 Pac-12)
USC will be looking to avenge their first meeting with UCLA, a 74-59 loss that took place at the Galen Center. The Trojans received a career effort from senior Courtney Jaco, who dropped in seven 3-pointers on her way to a 27-point night. Despite her incredible play, it wasn’t enough to lift the women of Troy passed the Bruins. The Trojans will need another spectacular performance from Jaco and others if they wish to avoid the season sweep at the hands of their rivals from Westwood.
Trojans to watch:
Courtney Jaco: The senior guard from delivered her best performance of the season in Wednesday game against the Bruins with a team-leading 27 points. Jaco’s fantastic performance also included seven 3-pointers, which moved her into second place among USC all-time 3-point shooters.
Minyon Moore: The up-and-coming freshman put up a solid performance against the Bruins the first go-around, putting up 12 points against a very good blue and gold defense. She’ll need a similar total to go with an outstanding defensive performance to guard the dangerous Kari Korver on the perimeter.
Story to watch: USC holds the all-time series, 48-39, but UCLA holds a slight home advantage with a record of 21-20. The Bruins have played well at Pauley Pavilion this season, so look for that to give them a boost against the Bruins.