USC Women’s Basketball hosts Hawai’i on Thursday for season opener


Women’s basketball | November 09, 2021

USC (0-0) vs. Hawaii (0-0)

Galien Center | Los Angeles, California

Thursday 11 November | 7:00 p.m.
Series record: USC leads 6-0 (W6)
Last meeting: L 71-60 [11/26/17 • Honolulu]


USC in Virginia

John Paul Jones Arena | Charlottesville, Virginia.
Sunday November 14 | 1 p.m. ET
Series record: Tied 2-2 (W1)
Last meeting: W 59-49 [11/9/20 • Los Angeles]
USC is lined up for exhibit action this weekend, hosting Antelope Valley for an introduction to the 2021-22 campaign which officially opens next week. The Trojan Women will face the Pioneers at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 6 at the Galen Center. The event is free to the public.

USC is not ranked in the 2021-22 pre-season AP and Coaches polls.

All fans aged 2 and over attending USC basketball home games will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. CLICK HERE FOR FAN ENTRY PROTOCOLS ( .aspx)

The Rainbow Wahines open their season Tuesday night in San Diego before coming to USC on Thursday. Hawai’i’s top returning scorer is Amy Atwell, who provided 12.6 points per game last season. She’s also the best returning rebounder, averaging 5.9 rebounds per game last season. Hawai’i has just completed a 2020-21 season in which he recorded an overall record of 9-8 and reached the Big West semi-finals. In a streak dating back to the 1982-83 season, USC is 6-0 against Hawai’i. The teams last met in Honolulu in 2017, with USC winning 71-60.

Coached by great Trojan Tina Thompson, the Cavaliers open their season Tuesday afternoon at JMU before USC comes to town for Sunday’s clash. Virginia’s top scorer last season is Amandine Toi, averaging 14.0 points per game. The best returning rebounder is Meg Jefferson, who averaged 5.3 rebounds per game in three appearances last year. The Cavaliers were 0-5 overall last year before canceling the remainder of their season due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a streak dating back to the 1991-92 season, USC is 2-2 against Virginia. The teams last met at the Galen Center in 2019, with USC winning 59-49. This will be the very first meeting between the two in Charlottesville.

USC got off to a good start and never looked back in a 120-34 exhibition victory over visiting Antelope Valley last weekend at the Galen Center. Performing in front of fans for the first time at home in over a year, the Women of Troy put on a great show for those in attendance. USC took a 27-0 lead over the visiting Pioneers. The Trojan defense kept Antelope Valley at just 17.5 percent on shots on the ground, while USC eliminated a 66.2 percent effort that day. Six Trojans hit double digits in the victory, led by that of Alissa Pili 18 points. Second year Jordyn jenkins, meanwhile, was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free throw line to finish with 16 points. Jordan sanders and first year student Clarice Akunwafo each scored 13 points, with Akunfao providing the bucket that took USC to triple digits in the fourth quarter. First year companion Rayah marshall and junior Angel Jackson finished with 11 points apiece, Marshall leading all Trojans with eight rebounds. Also highlighting the USC statistics sheet was Kyra white six assists, followed by five from Pili, while Sanders had four interceptions. Jackson and Akunwafo each managed three blocks in the Trojans’ mighty performance.

Junior that of Alissa Pili talents continue to be nationally acclaimed as the 2021-22 women’s basketball season kicks off. On November 9, the USC forward was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason 50 Best Watch List as well as the Naismith Trophy Watchlist. This is Pili’s second selection on the Naismith Watch List. One of the most versatile and impressive players in the game today, Pili has been an impact player since joining USC in his freshman year. Named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a member of the All-Pac-12 team in 2020, Pili battled a sophomore injury to earn the All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. This year, the junior is captain of the Women of Troy and is nominated for duty in several different roles. An undoubted power in painting, Pili has great ball skills as well as the range to knock down the 3 points. She begins her junior year averaging 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to go along with a shooting effort of 0.502 from the ground and a mark of 0.799 from the free throw line. Recently, Pili was also named to the Katrina McClain Award preseason watchlist for the second year in a row, once again recognizing her as one of the top 20 power forwards in the country. She also has a spot on the 2021-22 Pac-12 preseason conference overall squad.

The top spot for the Troy women is an exciting non-conference streak that includes eight home games at the Galen Center. USC road action includes a visit to Virginia to face the Cavalier team of Trojan Tina Thompson, two tilts at the Cancun Challenge, and a visit to one of USC’s longest running rivalries – Long Beach. State. Meanwhile, USC’s non-conference home slate opens with an exhibition game against Antelope Valley on November 6, followed by the official home opener against Hawai’i. This game has some sentimental value with former associate head coach Laura Beeman now at the helm of Rainbow Wahine, with two USC alumni and former girls’ basketball staff Alex Delanian and Jason Hill as well. in the Hawai’i coaching staff. Other foreign visitors to Troy will be western Michigan (Nov. 18) and the state of Missouri (Nov. 20) before the Trojans travel to Cancun to play UCF and Iowa. Then it’s back to the Galen Center for four games – UC Irvine (December 2), San Francisco (December 5) and CSUN (December 15). Another Trojan reunion comes on December 18, when the Texas Southern team of Trojan legend Cynthia Cooper arrives in town.

USC’s 2021-22 roster, led by new head coach and extraordinary basketball scientist Lindsay Gottlieb, brimming with talent and balance – ingredients Gottlieb looks forward to formulating into a competitive and successful program. The USC women have failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the past seven seasons as they compete in arguably the most competitive women’s basketball conference in the country. Fortunately, Gottlieb gained a lot of experience sailing the Pac-12 and beyond while leading the California program. Subsequently, his two years as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA broadened both his sense of the game and his passion for player development. Now the leader of the Women of Troy, Gottlieb and his team are determined to ensure an upward trajectory for the USC program.

When it comes to tenacity. 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 positions in the country. She is the linchpin of the Trojans, with a talented array of skilled positions also marked for time in painting. Length won’t be an issue for USC this season, with a 6-foot-5 junior Angel Jackson joined by two eagerly awaited freshmen in 6-6 Clarice Akunwafo and 6-4 Rayah marshall. Meanwhile, second sporting year Jordyn jenkins turns heads as a freshman, adding extra oomph to the paint.

Veteran status largely belongs to the backcourt. Senior Desiree Caldwell has been a dedicated and reliable point runner, while the graduate student Jordan sanders and transfer of graduates Tera Roseau also offer extensive experience. USC’s second-highest scorer last year, Sanders returns for a second season at USC, reducing her incredible precision and versatility to 3 points. A transfer from VCU, Reed is poised, savvy and knowledgeable. And when it comes to bringing the ball in, Caldwell can also give way to the juniors with confidence. Kyra Blanche, red shirt in second year Alyson miura and real freshman Bella perkins.

Which brings us to USC’s perimeter firepower. Sanders clearly stands out as the main 3-point threat to Trojans, but there are plenty of others who are waving hot hands. Caldwell, Miura and Madison Campbell combined for 44 lines landed last season. Perkins and Reed, meanwhile, are set to add to that arsenal in their first seasons at USC. But don’t count the Trojan messages. Pili has shown his range in the past, and there are plenty more with the ability to expand their attack.

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