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USC Women’s Basketball Gets Back To Galen To Host Cal And No. 2 Stanford

Feb 1, 2022

USC (9-9, 2-5) vs. California (9-5, 0-3)
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Friday, Feb. 4 | 7 p.m.
Series Record: USC leads 42-33 (W3)
TV: P12 Bay Area (Talent: Anne Marie Anderson & Ros Gold Onwude)

USC vs. #2 Stanford (16-3, 7-0)
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Sunday, Feb. 6 | 3 p.m. 
Series Record: USC trails 20-66 (L13)
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Talent: Anne Marie Anderson & Ros Gold Onwude)

THIS WEEK         
USC is back on home turf this week looking to snap a four-game slump with a pair of Pac-12 clashes at Galen Center. On Friday (Feb. 4), the Trojans (9-9, 2-5 Pac-12) face California (9-5, 0-3) at 7 p.m. Next, USC hosts No. 2 Stanford (16-3, 7-0) at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 6). That Trojan-Cardinal clash will also be a Pink Game at Galen Center with the first 1,000 fans receiving a pink tie-dye t-shirt in support of breast cancer awareness. 

USC was receiving votes in the Nov. 15 AP poll, but is now unranked in the national polls.

The Golden Bears are 9-5 overall and 0-3 in Pac-12 play after a 97-74 loss to Stanford in their most recent competition held Jan. 21. Jayda Curry leads Cal in scoring with 20.3 points per game, and Evelien Lutje Schiphol leads on the boards with 7.9 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to 1978-79, USC is 42-33 all-time against Cal with wins in the past three meetings. Last season, USC beat the Bears 77-54 at Galen Center in their only meeting of the season.

The No. 2 Cardinal enter the week at 16-3 overall and 7-0 in Pac-12 play after a 78-50 win over ASU and a 75-69 win over Arizona last week. Cameron Brink leads Stanford in scoring with 13.7 points and is tied with Haley Jones with a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to 1978-79, USC is 20-66 all-time against Stanford with losses in the past 13 meetings. USC faced the Cardinal three times last year, falling 80-60 at Galen Center, 86-59 at Stanford and 92-53 in the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals. USC's last win over Stanford was a 72-68 victory in the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament semifinals in Las Vegas.

USC took two road losses last week — one a tight one and one in which the Trojans were unable to get rolling. Against Oregon State on Friday night, USC  turned away the Beavers' first look at a game-winner with a block from Jordan Sanders to end regulation, but the Beavers would get an overtime buzzer-beater to go to beat the visiting Trojans 63-61,. USC had two players tally double-doubles in Jordyn Jenkins and Rayah Marshall, and all nine Trojans who played scored, although in the end it was OSU that emerged with the numbers that proved the difference. USC was the winner of a first-quarter shootout, and then things cooled off on the offensive ends in the next 10 minutes. After shooting 58.8 percent from the floor in the first 10 minutes, USC shot 26.7 percent in the next frame. And yet, USC was still ahead of the game by halftime, up 30-24 on 43.8-percent overall shooting to outpace Oregon State's 30.3 percent. The Beavers were ahead on the boards 24-16, but USC's balance gave the Trojans the advantage with all nine players to hit the court in the scoring column by the break. USC would hold a 10-point lead with 1:45 to go in the third, but the Beavers kept coming, fueled by 17 fourth-quarter points from Talia von Oelhoffen. Her fifth 3-pointer of the night would force overtime as the Beavers ended regulation on a 7-0 run. When the final buzzer sounded on OSU's 63-61 overtime win, the Beavers had hit seven threes while shooting 31.4 percent overall from the floor. OSU was also 12-of-14 from the free-throw line. USC, by comparison, went 5-of-7 from the stripe and finished up with four three and a final 36.6-percent shooting effort overall. The Beavers had the final edge on the boards 47-37. USC received a career-high 17 points from Marshall, who had her second double-double in adding 12 rebounds. Jenkins notched her third career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Also hitting double digits tonight for USC was junior Alyson Miura with 10 points. Oregon State had a hot-handed von Oelhoffen finish up with 31 points with five threes made and a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the line. Kennedy Brown also hit double digits for the Beavers with 11 points. On Sunday at No. 19 Oregon, USC came up against a hot-shooting home team and was unable to keep pace, falling 80-48. Stymied by slow scoring, USC was in a 17-point hole at halftime as the Trojans shot 29.6 percent from the floor to trail Oregon's productive 53.1-percent. USC also was hamstrung by 13 first-half turnovers that the Ducks converted into 11 points as the host built a 38-21 lead at the break.  Oregon stayed similarly effective the rest of the way, finishing up at 50 percent overall and outrebounding the Trojans 42-32. Oregon also nailed eight 3-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter. USC wrapped up shooting 26.3 percent overall with four threes landed. USC cleaned up its turnover count a bit in the second half, finishing with 17 while the Ducks committed 10. USC was led by Jenkins' 16 points — her ninth straight double-digit outing — along with 11 points from Sanders and Marshall. Oregon was paced by Nyara Sabally's 23 points, with Endyia Rogers adding 17 for the Ducks. 

TOP-5 TAKEDOWN        
On Jan. 9, USC went toe-to-toe with the No. 4 team in the nation and stepped up when it counted, with Alyson Miura burying four huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull the Trojans toward a 76-67 win over previously undefeated Arizona. The top-10 takedown was USC's first since 2020, and the first win over a top-five  opponent since 2014.  The lead changed hands six times in the first half en route to a 34-34 lockup at halftime. An Arizona buzzer-beater had knotted up the score at the break, with the bomb being the Wildcats' fifth 3-pointer of that half. USC was shooting 36.7 percent from the floor to that point, leading Arizona's 35.5 percent while the Wildcats were up on the boards 21-18. In the second half, USC found the gas pedal when it counted, with Miura going 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the last 5:01 of action to fuel the Trojans' push to victory. By  the final buzzer, USC had heated up to finish the game shooting at a 45.5 percent clip from the floor, while Arizona finished at 36.1 percent. Arizona edged out USC on the boards 36-34. All eight Trojans who hit the floor scored at least one basket. Miura's 5-of-6 effort from beyond the arc marked a career best for the junior, who led USC's scoring charge with 15 points. Jordyn Jenkins finished with 14 points — all  in the second half — and Desiree Caldwell added 12 for her first double-digit game of the season. Arizona, meanwhile, received a game-high 29 points from Cate Reese and 12 from Bendu Yeaney.

USC's first three scheduled Pac-12 games were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The Trojans' game at UCLA was affected by COVID-    19  protocols within  the Bruins' program and has been moved to January 20. The Arizona and ASU games were postponed by COVID-19  protocols with the USC program. The USC-Arizona game was rescheduled for Jan. 11, with the Trojans claiming a 76-67 win over the then-No.  4 Wildcats.

USC entered the week ranked No. 5 in the nation among Division I teams with the Trojans' 6.4 blocks per game average. That's thanks in part to freshman Rayah Marshall's 2.19 blocks per game, which ranks her No. 19 in the nation and No. 1 out of all freshmen. Earlier this season, Marshall served up six blocks against UCF to tally the fifth most single-game blocks by a Trojan. She has served up at least one block in the past 11 games.

ON A ROLL        
As of her double-double at Oregon State, sophomore Jordyn Jenkins is now riding a streak of eight straight double-digit games. What's more, she entered the week ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 (No. 21 in the nation) with her field-goal shooting percentage of 52.6.

Following a takedown of the No. 4 team in the nation, USC snagged its first weekly award from the Pac-12 on Jan. 10, with Rayah Marshall named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week. In USC's first Pac-12 competition of the season, Marshall averaged 9.0 points, 8,0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game across a road loss to undefeated Colorado and USC's upset win over No. 4 Arizona. Marshall had her second straight double-digit rebounding effort against the Buffs with 10 boards along with four blocks. Two days later against an undefeated Wildcat squad, Marshall had nine points, six rebounds and another big block to help her Trojans along to their first win over a top-5 opponent since 2014. Marshall is the first USC freshman to win the award since Alissa Pili won her fourth such selection on March 2, 2020. This is the ninth all-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor for the USC program.

PILI POWER        
Junior Alissa Pili's talents have received national acclaim as the 2021-22 women's basketball season was getting underway. On November 9, the USC forward was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List as well as the Naismith Trophy Watch List. It is Pili's second selection to the Naismith Watch List. One of the most versatile and impressive players in the game today, Pili has been an impact player since arriving at USC as a freshman. Named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and to the All-Pac-12 Team in 2020, Pili fought through injury as a sophomore to earn All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. This year, the junior is a captain for the Women of Troy and is tabbed for duty in several different roles. An unquestionable power in the paint, Pili boasts great ball skills as well as the range to knock down 3-pointers. She enters her junior year averaging 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to go along with a .502 shooting effort from the floor and .799 mark from the free-throw line. Recently, Pili was also named to the Katrina McClain Award Preseason Watch List for the second straight year, recognizing her again as one of the top 20 power forwards in the nation. She also has a spot on the 2021-22 Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Team.

WE GOT GOTT        
The 2021-22 USC roster, helmed by new head coach and basketball scientist extraordinaire Lindsay Gottlieb, is teeming with talent and balance — ingredients that Gottlieb is eager to formulate into a competitive and successful program. The USC women have fallen short of the NCAA Tournament field for the past seven seasons while competing in arguably the most competitive women's basketball conference in the land. Fortunately, Gottlieb gleaned plenty of experience navigating the Pac-12 and beyond while at the helm of the California program. Following that, her two years as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA served to broaden both her gamesmanship and her passion for player development. Now the leader of the Women of Troy, Gottlieb and her staff are set on securing an upward trajectory for the USC program.

When it comes to toughness. 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 posts in the nation. She is the linchpin for the Trojans, with a talented array of skilled posts also tagged for time in the paint. Length will not be a problem for USC this season, with 6-foot-5 junior Angel Jackson joined by two highly anticipated freshmen in 6-6 Clarice Akunwafo and 6-4 Rayah Marshall. Meanwhile, athletic sophomore Jordyn Jenkins turned heads as a freshman, adding extra punch to the paint.

Veteran status largely belongs to the backcourt. Senior Desiree Caldwell has been a devoted and reliable runner of the point, while grad student Jordan Sanders and grad transfer Tera Reed offer up extensive experience as well. USC's second leading scorer last year, Sanders returns for a second season at USC, bringing back her incredible 3-point accuracy and versatility. A transfer from VCU, Reed is poised, savvy and skilled. And when it comes to bringing up the ball, Caldwell can also confidently give way to junior Kyra White, redshirt sophomore Alyson Miura and true freshman Bella Perkins.

HOT HANDS            
Which brings us to USC's perimeter firepower. Sanders clearly stands out as the foremost 3-point threat for the Trojans, but there are plenty of others who wield hot hands. Caldwell, Miura and Madison Campbell combined for 44 threes landed last season. Perkins and Reed, meanwhile, are poised to add to that arsenal in their first seasons at USC. But don't count out the Trojan posts. Pili has shown her range in the past, and there are plenty of others with the ability to extend their attack.

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CLEAR BAGS, PLEASE!            
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