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USC Women’s Basketball Turns To Final Home Stand At Galen Center This Week

Feb 15, 2022

USC (10-13, 3-10) vs. Utah (15-8, 6-5)
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Friday, Feb. 18 | 7 p.m. 
Series Record [since 1977-78]: USC leads 17-8 (L1)
Last Meeting: Utah 91, USC 69 [2/9/22 • Salt Lake City] 
TV: P12 Los Mountain (Talent: JB Long & Dr. Julie Rousseau)

USC vs. Colorado (16-7, 5-7)
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
Sunday, Feb. 20 | 1 p.m. 
Series Record: USC leads 15-9 (L1)
Last Meeting: CU 71, USC 58 [1/7/22 • Boulder]
TV: P12 Los Mountain (Talent: JB Long & Maylana Martin Douglas)

THIS WEEK         
USC (10-13, 3-10 Pac-12) is back in Los Angeles for its final Pac-12 home stand this week, looking for revenge against Utah (15-8, 6-5) at 7 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 18) and also against Colorado (16-7, 5-7) at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 20) at Galen Center. Sunday's game will also feature a Senior Day ceremony to honor USC's three outgoing Trojans: senior Desiree Caldwell and grad students Tera Reed and Jordan Sanders. 

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

The Utes enter the week at 15-8 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-12 after a 91-64 loss to Stanford and a 80-75 win over Cal last week. Gianna Kneepkens leads Utah in scoring with 12.0 points per game, and Jenna Johnson leads on the boards with 4.5 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to 1977-1978, USC is 17-8 all time against Utah after a 91-69 loss last week in Salt Lake City.

The Buffaloes enter the week at 16-7 overall and 5-7 in the Pac-12 after a 73-56 win over Cal and a 46-63 loss to Stanford last week. Mya Hollingshed leads Colorado with 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to 2002-03, USC is 15-10 all-time against Colorado after a 71-58 loss last month in Boulder.

USC came away with a hard-fought split in Washington last week, in a road trip that featured three games in five days. In Seattle against the Huskies, USC dug in and mounted a fierce second half to come back and beat Washington 70-59 on Friday night. USC's Washington native, sophomore Jordyn Jenkins, made herself right at home and exploded for a career-high 29 points and 15 rebounds, hitting a career-best 12 free throws along the way to also tally her fifth double-double. USC snapped a seven-game skid with the road victory to improve to 10-12 overall and 3-9 in Pac-12 play, while Washington now sits at 5-12, 0-9. USC made an 11-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to work into the lead, only to see Washington pull back ahead with a late push to close out the first half. The Huskies led it 29-23 at the break on 32-percent shooting to outpace USC's 28.1 percent, while Washington hit three 3-pointers and went 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. USC, meanwhile, hit just one first-half three and was 4-of-5 from the stripe in those first 20 minutes of play. USC would pick up the pace in the next stretch, outscoring Washington 47-36 in the second half and finishing the game shooting 37.7 percent from the floor. Washington wrapped at 31.6 percent, while USC also led on the boards 40-36 by the final buzzer. Jenkins led all with her 29-point, 15-rebound effort for the Trojan cause, while Jordan Sanders added a season-high 18 points and Rayah Marshall netted 10 for USC. Washington was led by Lauren Schwatz's 16 points, with Nancy Mulkey contributing 13 — 11 of which came in the first half — and Trinity Oliver with 11 for the Huskies. Two days later in Pullman, USC upped its game again in the second half to erase a heavy deficit, but came up just short of a comeback push as the Trojans took a 57-54 loss to Washington State. USC was hamstrung by over eight minutes of scoring silence in the second quarter, falling behind by 20 before getting buckets to fall at the close of the half to trail 36-22 at the break. The Trojans had shot just 25 percent in those first 20 minutes, while Washington State was hitting at a 60-percent clip while nailing four 3-pointers to keep its visitors at bay. USC would chip away in the next stretch, however, getting to within two in the final 15 seconds although an equalizer would evade the Trojans in the final moments. USC finished the game shooting 33 percent from the floor to WSU's 43 percent, while the Trojans had the edge on the boards 37-34. For the sixth straight game, Jordyn Jenkins was USC's top scorer, putting in 18 points and recording her sixth double-double in adding 12 rebounds. Rayah Marshall and Jordan Sanders also continued their double-digit scoring streaks, contributing 14 points apiece for the Trojans. Washington State received a game-high 20 points from Charlisse Leger-Walker along with 15 points from Bella Murekatete and 11 from Johanna Teder.

ON A ROLL        
After her sixth double-double at WSU on Feb. 13, sophomore Jordyn Jenkins is now riding a streak of 14 straight double-digit games. What's more, she ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 (No. 40 in the nation) with her field-goal shooting percentage of 52.7. 

Thanks in part to a season-high 13 blocks vs. Cal on Friday, USC ranks No. 2 in the nation among Division I teams with the Trojans' 6.4 blocks per game average. Leading the block party for USC is freshman Rayah Marshall's 2.35 blocks per game, which ranks her No. 17 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 18 games.

Sophomore Jordyn Jenkins was a force to reckon with once again last week, averaging 22.7 points and 10.7 rebounds across three Pac-12 road games. USC's top scorer the past six games, Jenkins has deservedly earned her first career selection as the Pac-12 Player of the Week. She is the first Trojan to do so this season, and marks the 50th such honor all-time for USC. In a road stretch that featured three games in five days, Jenkins opened up with 21 points for USC in a loss at Utah. Two days later, she posted a career night with 29 points and 15 rebounds, while hitting 12 of 13 free throws to help anchor a key win at Washington. She'd follow that double-double outing with another one at Washington State, scoring 18 points with 12 rebounds to notch her sixth double-double of the season. Jenkins is USC's top scorer to date with 15.4 point per game, ranking her sixth in the Pac-12. She's also second on the boards for USC with 7.0 rebounds per game. In Pac-12 play, Jenkins is averaging 18.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

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 also had its game at Utah postponed, with that contest rescheduled for Feb. 9 in Salt Lake City, where USC fell 91-69.

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. It is the ninth all-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor for the USC program.

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.

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 a linchpin for the Trojans, with a talented array of skilled posts also tagged for time in the paint. Length is not be a problem for USC this season, with the addition of 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.

WELL VETTED            
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.

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