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Five Trojans Hit Double Digits As USC Women’s Basketball Tops CSUB 86-41 In Season Opener

Nov 8, 2022

LOS ANGELES — The USC women's basketball team went big in its season-opening effort, introducing fans to seven new faces while pinning up an 86-41 win over visiting CSU Bakersfield tonight at Galen Center. It was the Trojans' biggest margin of victory since 2015 and notched their sixth straight season-opening victory. Ten Trojans scored in the win, with five hitting double digits, including three newcomers to the USC roster: Okako Adika, Destiny Littleton and Kadi Sissoko.

"It's great to get the first one with this group and be back in Galen," USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "There was a lot of great energy, and I thought we came out especially in that first quarter and set a tone and played how we want to play and played a lot of different combinations and lineups. I think we see a glimpse of what we can be, but we're excited to keep working at it and see where we can go with this team."

USC was shooting at a 56-percent clip in the first half as three Trojans — Rayah Marshall, Sissoko and Littleton — reached double digits by halftime. CSUB, meanwhile, had hit just one field goal in the first quarter and was shooting 20 percent overall by the break as USC gripped a 46-14 lead at the half. By the final buzzer, USC wrapped the game shooting 49.2 percent from the floor to CSUB's 30.9 final output. The Trojans won the battle of the boards 46-27 and nabbed 17 steals in the win.

Rayah Marshall notched her double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go along with her four blocks on the night. She was joined in double digits by three USC newcomers and a fellow sophomore, as transfer additions Okako Adika and Kadi Sissoko had 15 points apiece, with Destiny Littleton adding 13 in her USC debut. Sophomore Bella Perkins finished with 12 points, matching Adika with three 3-pointers made. CSUB was led in scoring by Hennie van Schack's 11 points.

With four new faces in the starting lineup, the Trojans got out to a strong start, hitting their first four shots of the game for an early 8-0 lead. Kadi Sissoko and Okako Adika delivered their first buckets as Trojans in that opening. USC's advantage would balloon to 15-0 before the Roadrunners knocked down a couple free throws to get on the board with 3:44 on the clock. While USC kept chugging along, CSUB scored its first field goal in the final minute of the first quarter, and USC was up 26-4 at the close of the frame after Destiny Littleton converted three straight free throws. The Roadrunners would warm up offensively in the second quarter, but the Trojans pieced together a 7-0 rally midway through the frame to keep momentum going for the hosts. Sissoko, Littleton and Rayah Marshall would roll into double digits by halftime to help USC lead it 46-14 at the break.

In the third, Bella Perkins nailed three 3-pointers in a 90-second span to get her Trojans out ahead 61-22 before CSUB managed back-to-back buckets. Marshall's double-double was in place by the close of the third, with USC up 62-28 on the Roadrunners entering the fourth. There, Clarice Akunwafo became the ninth Trojan to score with a bucket down low that lifted USC to a 71-31 lead with 7:20 to go. A minute later, Bella Perkins got to double digits on the night in adding a runner to her trio of threes, and it was 73-33 USC. Later, India Otto got in on the action with a three, and USC was up 81-38 entering the final stretch en route to the Trojans' final 86-41 victory.

NEXT:  
USC stays home this weekend to host Idaho State in the first meeting between the two programs. The Trojans will tip off against the visiting Bengals at 7 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 12) at Galen Center.

NOTABLE:
- USC had four newcomers in the starting lineup tonight: Kayla Williams, Destiny Littleton, Okako Adika and Kadi Sissoko
- With four blocks tonight, sophomore Rayah Marshall extended her streak of games with at least one block to 24 in a row.. 
- Six of USC's seven 2022-23 transfers scored in their debut tonight: Okako Adika (15 points), Kadi Sissoko (15), Destiny Littleton (13), Koi Love (6), Taylor Bigby (3) and Kayla Williams (2).
- Sophomore Rayah Marshall recorded her seventh career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
- Sophomore transfer Taylor Bigby recorded a career-high three steals.
- USC's 45-point winning margin was the largest margin of victory since a 92-43 win over Hope International on Nov. 13, 2015.
- Tonight's win was USC's sixth consecutive  victorious season opener.