Fresh off its first loss in the last seven games, the USC women’s basketball team is eager to rebound this week with home games against Oregon and Oregon State.
“In the Pac-10 there’s not a lot of time to sit and sulk about a loss,” junior guard Ashley Corral said. “No matter how good or bad a game is, in the next three or four days you have another to play.”
First on the docket for the Women of Troy (10-4, 2-1) is a Thursday night game against Oregon, which leads the Pac-10 in scoring at 85.3 points per game. Like their gridiron counterparts, the Ducks (11-4, 2-2) play fast and score quick, forcing opponents to match their tempo.
“[Oregon] has played 15 games this year and scored over 100 points five times,” Corral said. “We’re just running, running, running this week to prepare.”
Sophomore forward Christina Marinacci said the coaching staff’s emphasis leading up to the game has been getting back on defense.
“We just have to get back on transition,” Marinacci said. “We call them the track team of the Pac-10. They look to run and score as many points as they can, they don’t really try to stop you.”
Last season, USC took two out of three games in the series. Each team narrowly won on the other’s home court during the regular season, and the Women of Troy eked out an 80-76 victory in the opening round of the conference tournament.
The two stars from the Oregon team are gone, but a new duo has stepped in to fill their place. Junior forward Amanda Johnson leads the conference in scoring with 17.3 points per game, while redshirt junior guard Nia Jackson is close behind at 16.3 points per game.
Marinacci said the undersized Women of Troy are better equipped than most teams to slow down Johnson.
“We have post players who can run up and down the court,” she said. “I think we’ll match up with her okay. It’s just a matter of finding her in transition.”
On Saturday, the Women of Troy host Oregon State (7-8, 0-4), which finished last in the Pac-10 Conference a season ago with a 2-16 conference record. USC beat the Beavers 61-34 last year at the Galen Center.
Records and history aside, Corral said it was important for USC to not overlook the Beavers.
“We just have to worry about ourselves,” Corral said. “Whether we’re playing the No. 1 team in the nation or the worst team, it’s about us and what we have to do to get the job done.”