The Women of Troy (9-3, 1-0) ended their non-conference schedule with their best record in over 14 years on Wednesday and began Pac-10 conference play on the right foot.
USC ended the year on a high note, opening up their new Pac-10 season with a 72-57 victory over the Washington State Cougars (2-11, 0-1).
“I’m glad we started off [with a win] in conference,” freshman forward Cassie Harberts said. “I think we came out and played hard, but we still have some work to do.”
Though the Cougars came into the game on a four-game losing streak, they quickly jumped out to an 8-4 lead during the first five minutes of the game.
But the lead was short-lived as the Women of Troy quickly responded with a 12-2 run that gave them a 16-10 lead they would never relinquish.
After seizing control of the lead, USC closed the first half on a 13-0 run, going into halftime up 35-22.
The Cougars would get no closer than eight points during the second half as the Women of Troy cruised to a 72-57 victory, holding the Cougars to under 30 percent shooting from the field.
“It was a really good team effort,” redshirt senior guard Jacki Gemelos said. “Defensively, we did a good job and offensively, we executed well. I think collectively, as a whole, we did really well.”
Four Trojans scored in double figures, led by 15 points apiece from Gemelos and junior guard Briana Gilbreath, and sophomore forward Christina Marinacci chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Harberts recorded a double-double – the first of her young career – scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
“This is just the beginning for us,” Gemelos said. “I think things are finally starting to click and it’s a perfect time especially with the beginning of Pac-10 play.”
The Women of Troy now head to Washington riding a five-game winning streak, where they will take on the Huskies on Sunday, Jan. 2.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.