USC Women Stay Home To Host No. 1 Stanford and Cal
USC (1-3, 0-3) vs. #1 Stanford (5-0, 2-0)
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 19 | 6 p.m.
Series Record: USC trails 20-63 (L10)
Home: 12-27 Away: 7-31 Neutral: 1-3
Last Meeting: L 79-59 [2/9/20 • Stanford]
USC vs. California (0-5, 0-2)
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Monday, Dec. 21 | 2 p.m.
Series Record: USC leads 41-33 (W2)
Home: 25-11 Away: 15-20 Neutral: 1-2
Last Meeting: W 75-67 [2/7/20 • Berkeley]
TV: P12N | Stream: http://pac-12.com/live
(Talent: Maylana Martin & Jim Watson)
USC remains on home turf for the rest of December as the Trojans next line up to host No. 1 Stanford and Cal in Pac-12 play. USC (1-3, 0-3 Pac-12) will first square off against the top-ranked Cardinal (5-0, 2-0) at 6 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 19) at Galen Center. On Monday (Dec. 21), USC takes on the Golden Bears (0-5, 0-2) at 2 p.m. The two tilts will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
IN THE NATION
USC is unranked in this week's AP and Coaches polls.
The top-ranked Cardinal is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in Pac-12 play after beating Cal 83-38 and Pacific 104-61. The win at Pacific made Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer the winningest coach in women's college basketball history with her 1,099th career victory. Haley Jones leads Stanford in scoring and rebounding with 19.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to the 1976-77 season, USC is 20-63 all-time against Stanford with losses in the last 10 meetings. USC's last win over the Cardinal was a 72-68 victory in the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals. Last season, USC lost 79-59 to Stanford in their conference at Maples Pavilion.
The Golden Bears are 0-5 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play after an 83-38 loss to Stanford last week. Dalayah Daniels is leading Cal in scoring with 11.8 points per game, and Ugonne Onyiah leads on the boards with 6.4 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to the 1978-79 season, USC is 41-33 all-time against Cal with wins in the last two meetings. Last season, USC beat Cal 75-67 in their conference meeting in Berkeley.
USC had a costly cold snap on the offensive end during the third quarter and consequently lost step with visiting No. 11 UCLA. The lopsided 10-minute stretch spelled doom for the host Trojans, who wound up with a 73-52 loss to the visiting Bruins today at Galen Center. UCLA landed seven first-half 3-pointers and was shooting 47 percent from the floor to keep its host ay bay in the first 20 minutes. USC was shooting 40 percent from the floor to that point, as the Trojans trailed 42-30 by halftime. In the third, though, USC came up empty from the floor, able to only land five free throws while UCLA rattled off 20 points. USC heated back up in the fourth but it was too late as the Bruins emerged with the 73-52 win. UCLA had shot 40 percent to USC's final 36.7-percent effort. The Bruins also hit nine 3-pointers to four but the Trojans and also outrebounded USC 44-29. USC committed 18 turnovers, and UCLA had 12. USC's turnovers turned into 21 points for the Bruins. USC had two players finish in double digits, with Jordan Sanders leading with 12 points and Desiree Caldwell adding 11. UCLA was paced by Michaela Onyenwere's 19 points and 18 from Charisma Osborne.
- FR G Zayla Tinner made her USC debut with her appearance in the second quarter.
- With one 3-pointer made, RS FR G Madison Campbell has now hit at least one 3-pointer in every game this season.
- With two 3-pointers made, SR F Jordan Sanders has now hit at least two 3-pointers in all three of her appearances as a Trojan.
- JR G Desiree Caldwell (5) and SO G Kyra White (4) combined for nine of USC's 13 assists.
- SO C Angel Jackson matched her career high of three blocks.
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 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. •