Skip to main content

USC Women’s Basketball Wraps Regular Season On the Road, At ASU & Arizona

Feb 22, 2022

USC (11-14, 4-11) at Arizona St. (12-11, 4-6)
Desert Financial Arena | Tempe, Ariz.
Thursday, Feb. 24 | 4 p.m. PT
Series Record: USC leads 58-28 (W2)
Last Meeting: W 71-65 [3/3/21 • Las Vegas]
TV: P12 Networks (Talent: Tammy Blackburn & Cindy Brunson)

USC at #12 Arizona (19-5, 9-5)
McKale Center | Tucson, Ariz.
Saturday, Feb. 26 | 11 a.m. PT
Series Record: USC leads 59-27 (W1)
Last Meeting: W 76-67 [1/9/22 • Galen Center]
TV: P12 Los Angeles (Talent: Joan Bonvicini & Brian Webber)

THIS WEEK         
USC turns to its final Pac-12 regular-season action of the season this week. The Trojans (11-14, 4-11 Pac-12) first head to visit Arizona State (12-11, 4-7) at 4 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 24) in Tempe before an 11 a.m. clash at No. 12 Arizona (19-5, 9-5) on Saturday (Feb. 26) in Tucson.

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

The Sun Devils enter the week at 12-11 overall and 4-7 in the Pac-12 after a 65-58 loss at WSU and a 74-69 loss at Washington last week. Loville leads ASU in scoring with 16.5 points per game, and Gilles leads on the boards with 7.6 rebounds per game. In a series dating back to 1977-78, USC is 58-28 all-time against ASU with wins in the last two meetings. Last year, USC went 2-1 against the Sun Devils with a 63-58 loss in Tempe, a 65-57 win at Galen Center and a 71-65 victory at the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.

The No. 12 Wildcats enter the week at 19-5 overall and 9-5 in the Pac-12 after a 51-42 win at Washington and a 72-67 loss at WSU last week. Cate Reest leads Arizona with 14.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.  In a series dating back to 1977-78, USC is 59-27 all-time against the Wildcats after snapping a six-game losing skid with a 76-67 victory over then-No. 4 Arizona last month at Galen Center.

USC had a split in its final home stand of the season,  going big to beat Utah 83-62 before falling 67-52 to Colorado at Galen Center. The  Trojans came to play in its rematch with Utes, pairing lockdown defense with some sharp shooting to put Utah out of reach early. Utah was held to just one field goal in the second quarter while the Trojans piled on 26 points to take control, with four players finishing in double digits to help propel USC to its largest Pac-12 win of the year. USC turned a 16-16 first-quarter tie into a 42-20 halftime lead as the Trojans wrapped the half on a 13-0 run. USC shot 54.8 percent from the floor in those first 20 minutes, outpacing Utah's 15.4 percent. USC's Jordan Sanders and Rayah Marshall were in double digits by the break, and USC was ahead on the boards 20-16. By the final buzzer, USC had shot 49.2 percent overall to Utah's final 25.9 percent, and the Trojans had the edge on the boards 38-36. There were fouls and turnovers aplenty in that one, with USC tagged for 25 fouls and Utah at 17. The turnover count favored USC slightly, 19-21. On the scoring front, USC received 24 points from Jordan Sanders along with a career-high 18 from Rayah Marshall, who also had a double-double with her 10 rebounds. Jordyn Jenkins and Alyson Miura each added 12 points tonight for USC. Utah was paced by Gianna Kneepkens' 15 points and 10 from Brynna Maxwell. In an afternoon clash with Colorado, USC fell out of step with the visiting Buffs in the Trojans' final home game of the season. Colorado landed five first-half 3-pointers and benefited from a slower scoring pace by the Trojans as the Buffs led it 35-27 at halftime. Colorado was shooting at a 46.4-percent clip in those first 20 minutes, while USC was a 29.4 percent. Both teams largely stayed the course the rest of the way, with Colorado finishing at 47.1 percent while hating seven threes in the game. USC wrapped at 30.2 percent from the floor with just one 3-pointer landed, although the Trojans were a perfect 15-of-15 from the free-throw line. The Buffs ended up a step ahead on the boards 36-35. Both Rayah Marshall and Jordyn Jenkins extended their respective double-digit streaks, with Marshall coming away with a double-double on her 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jenkins, meanwhile, finished with 12 points for her ninth straight double-figure effort. Colorado was led by Mya Hollingshed's game-high 16 points along with  13 from Quay Miller, who was one of five Buffs to hit a three in the win.

ON A ROLL        
After her sixth double-double at WSU on Feb. 13 and 12 points vs Utah and Colorady, sophomore Jordyn Jenkins is now riding a streak of 16 straight double-digit games. What's more, she ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 (No. 37 in the nation) with her field-goal shooting percentage of 53.0. 

Thanks in part to a season-high 13 blocks vs. Cal on Feb. 4, 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 2.4 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 20 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 15.2 point per game, ranking her sixth in the Pac-12. She's also second on the boards for USC with 6.7 rebounds per game. In Pac-12 play, Jenkins is averaging 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

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

After recording back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in her Trojan career, Rayah Marshall earned her second selection as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Feb. 21. Along the way, Marshall also extended her streak of at least one block in a game to 20 consecutive outings. Marshall scored a career-high 18 points — making a career best nine field goals — and hauled in 10 rebounds to help USC to a big 83-62 win over Utah. She'd make her first career start in USC's next test and served up a team-high 13 points along with 11 rebounds in a loss to Colorado. With her second straight double-double, Marshall also extended her double-digit scoring streak to nine consecutive games. 

USC's first three 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.

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.

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.

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.