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USC Women Set Up For Sunday Crosstown Showdown

Dec 10, 2020


USC (1-2, 0-2 Pac-12) vs. #11 UCLA (3-1, 1-1)
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Sunday, Dec. 16 | 12 p.m. PT
Series Record (since 1971-72): USC leads 50-49 (L1)
Last Meeting: L 73-66 [3/6/20 • Las Vegas]
TV: Pac-12 Los Angeles (Talent: Anne Marie Anderson & Ros Gold-Onwude)
USC will spend the next two weeks on home turf at Galen Center, kicking off the stand with a crosstown showdown on tap for Sunday (Dec. 13). The Trojans (1-2, 0-2 Pac-12) are set to play host to No. 11 UCLA (3-1, 1-1) at 12 p.m. The game will be televised by Pac-12 Los Angeles with Anne Marie Anderson and Ros Gold-Onwude on the call.
USC is bringing some fans to Sunday's game – plush stuffed animals! Help us bring a smile to the face of a young child by extending your generosity this holiday season! The bears will be safely pre-packaged and completely wrapped by the manufacturer. Each purchase provides a stuffed animal to a young child at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and gives YOU the opportunity to win prizes. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
USC is unranked in this week's AP and Coaches polls.
The Bruins are 3-1 overall after a 68-65 loss at No. 7 Arizona, a 63-59 win at ASU to open Pac-2 play and then a 102-45 win over UC Santa Barbara in the past week. Charisma Osborne is leading UCLA in scoring with 19.5 points per game, and Michaela Onyenwere leads on the boards with 10-0 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to the 1971-72 season, USC is 50-49 all-time against UCLA. Last season, the Trojans faced the Bruins three times, falling 83-59 in Westwood, winning 70-68 in double overtime at Galen Center and falling 73-66 in the Pac-12 Quarterfinals in Las Vegas.
USC team righted the ship after a hot-and-cold first half in Tempe, Ariz., only to see host Arizona State fend off the Trojans' second-half rally for a final 63-58 Sun Devil victory in the Pac-12 opener for both programs. USC had two good looks at late game-changers in the final minute, but both were just off the mark as ASU was able to sidestep the danger and preserve the conference win. USC had shot 60 percent from the floor in the first 10 minutes, but cooled out to 38 percent overall by halftime. ASU was hitting at a 45-percent clip in the first half. USC picked things up again in the second half, outscoring the Sun Devils 30-27, and also finished up shooting 43 percent from the floor to ASU's 36 percent. The Sun Devils had the edge on the boards 36-35, and both teams hit six 3-pointers apiece. ASU, however, was able to convert 17 points off USC's 16 turnovers, while the Trojans had nine points from the Sun Devils' 12 turnovers in the game. USC was paced by sophomore guard Endyia Rogers' 15 points, with fellow sophomore Angel Jackson providing 11 for the Trojan cause. ASU received a game-high 20 points from Jadden Simmons — the only Sun Devil in double figures. NOTABLE:
- Transfer Jordan Sanders made her USC debut and was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
- Sophomores Endyia Rogers and Angel Jackson both scored in double digits for the second straight game.
USC went toe-to-toe with No. 7 Arizona, coming up a point short of the host Wildcats in a wild contest in Tucson. USC had led by 11 points before fouls interrupted the short-handed Trojans' efforts and gave Arizona a path ahead. Still, USC was able to net a slim lead in the final five minutes, only to see Arizona pull out a 78-77 victory over visiting USC. USC shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half and was 4-of-7 from 3-point range to help overcome Arizona's 10 points converted off nine first-half turnovers by the Trojans. Arizona was shooting 47 percent from the floor as the host trailed USC 37-34 by halftime. Arizona would course-correct offensively, heating up to finish out the game at 50 percent from the floor while USC wound up shooting 46 percent overall. USC landed seven 3-pointers to two from the Wildcats, while Arizona went 20-of-24 from the free-throw line to USC's 16-of-20 effort. USC won out on the boards 35-33 and ended up with 12 turnovers to 13 by Arizona. In spite of foul trouble for a team with five players sidelined by injuries, USC had three Trojans finish in double figures as they put the No. 7 team in the nation on the ropes. Sophomores Endyia Rogers and Angel Jackson scored 18 points apiece, and grad Transfer Jordan Sanders finished with 15. Amaya Oliver and Madison Campbell, meanwhile, were almost in the group with nine points apiece. For Arizona, Aari McDonald led the Wildcats with 30 points, and Cate Reese had 25 while Lauren Ware added 12 points and had 12 rebounds.
 Jordan Sanders had her first double-digit game as a Trojan with 15 points
- Angel Jackson and Endyia Rogers both scored in double figures for the third straight game.
The only true senior on the USC roster this season is grad transfer Jordan Sanders, who has joined the Trojans from UC Irvine. Sanders' presence gives USC its second conference freshman of the year, as Sanders was the Big West's 2018 top freshman while USC's Alissa Pili picked up the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award last season. Pili and fellow sophomore Endyia Rogers are a proven one-two punch for USC, as the pair were the Trojans' top scorers in 2019-20. Pili and sophomore Angel Jackson packed the paint for the Trojans as freshmen, while sophomore sharpshooters Alyson Miura and India Otto were significant three-point threats, and Kyra White stood tall as a staunch defender and playmaker. That group got great experience as freshmen, making for a shiny sophomore campaign ahead. USC's "veterans" this year are junior Desiree Caldwell and redshirt sophomore Shalexxus Aaron — both captains alongside Pili this season.
USC's roster boasts five fresh-faced Trojans making their USC debuts in 2020-21. Jordan Sanders, as mentioned, spent three years at UC Irvine, joining true freshmen Jordyn Jenkins, Amaya Oliver and Zayla Tinner for their first seasons in Cardinal and Gold. Also tabbed for action this season is redshirt freshman Madison Campbell, who is coming off a redshirt season following back surgery last year.
Sophomore strength abounds for the USC women's basketball team this season, with Alissa Pili and Endyia Rogers at the forefront of the Trojans' youth movement. As the 2020-21 campaign drew near, Pili upgraded her national acclaim with a spot on the 2021 Jersey Mike's Naismith Trophy Watch List — recognized as one of the nation's top 50 players in line for the highest collegiate honor bestowed by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Also Pili and Rogers both picked up spots on the Pac-12 preseason honor roll. The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and an All-Pac-12 Team honoree last season, Pili finished her debut year ranked in the nation's top-100 in five statistical categories. Already on the 2021 Watch List for the Katrina McClain Award as one of the top 20 small forwards in the land, Pili's placement on the Naismith Trophy Watch List further cements her as the Trojans' top gun and a player to keep a close eye on as her career continues to blossom. Pili's power has been well-known in the Pac-12 conference, and as her sophomore year unfurls the Trojan post has earned her place on the Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Team. Fellow sophomore Endyia Rogers — USC's second leading scorer and top 3-point shooter last year — picked up Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Amidst a tumultuous summer, the USC women's basketball team found a powerful way to set a course for themselves away from the gym. All 13 Women of Troy registered to vote, marking an important benchmark for the program as the 2020 elections approach. What's more, their action helped spark a department-wide initiative that was embraced by USC Athletics' Black Lives Matter Action Team to challenge every USC team to reach 100 percent registration for eligible U.S. voters. Thanks to their 2020 registration, USC women's basketball was able to have a voice in elections in five different states — Alaska, California, Oregon, Texas and Washington — in the 2020 elections and beyond.
USC welcomes a pair of powerful local products who combine forces as the nation's No. 7-ranked recruiting class according to ESPN. The No. 2-ranked center in the country, Clarice Uche Akunwafo comes to Troy from nearby Inglewood, Calif. ESPN's No. 27-ranked player in the land, guard/forward Rayah Marshall is a Los Angeles native. Both new Trojans signed their national letters of intent on  Nov. 11. Both Akunwafo and Marshall also were recently named to the Watch List for the 2021 Jersey Mike's Naismith Trophy for High School Girls Player of the Year. A 6-6- center, Clarice Uche Akunwafo averaged 20.1 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game at Rolling Hills Prep. The Inglewood native also shot 56 percent from the floor and is a two-time All-CIF honoree. Her power at the post has earned her the nod as the No. 2 center in the nation and No. 21 player overall, according to ESPN. A Los Angeleno and another All-CIF regular, Rayah Marshall ranks No. 27 in the nation among this class of prospects. The 6-4 guard/forward hails from nearby Lynwood High, where she averaged 18.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.4 steals per game.
USC gets another boost in the backcourt with the addition of transfer Shemera Williams, USC head coach Mark Trakh has announced. After a season played at Virginia, Williams is on her way to Troy to become a Trojan this spring 2021. The state of Wisconsin's second leading scorer in girls high school basketball history with 3,120 career points, the Milwaukee Academy of Science product went on to average 8.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in her freshman campaign with the Cavaliers. A 5-8 guard, Williams was Virginia's third leading scorer as a freshman in 2019-20 and was a two-time ACC Freshman of the Week while also picking up national honors as a USBWA Tamika Catchings Freshman Player of the Week.
USC's postseason plans of a 2020 WNIT run were dashed back in March with the cancellation of all competition due to the pandemic. That left the Trojans with a 17-14 overall record, having reached the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 7 seed. USC's top scorer and rebounder, Alissa Pili was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 Team. Fellow freshman Endyia Rogers picked up All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention after standing as USC's second leading scorer. USC lost three seniors from that roster in Aliyah Jeune, Kayla Overbeck and Stephanie Watts.