USC women’s basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke has announced that senior guard Ariya Crook has been removed from the team due to a violation of team and university policy.
“We wish Ariya the best and appreciate her contributions to our program over the past three years,” Cooper-Dyke told USC Trojans. “She will have the opportunity to finish her academics but will no longer be involved with this program. It’s a blow to our team, for sure, but we are a resilient group.”
Crook started 31 games last year for the Women of Troy, leading the team with 15.8 points per game and 69 three-pointers, and was third on the team in assists with 2.3 per game. She was an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention recipient and MVP of the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament, where she finished with 15.8 points per game. Crook is also fifth in USC history with 138 career three-pointers.
The Los Angeles native also had a productive sophomore campaign, finishing the 2012-2013 season with per game numbers of 13.4 points, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals. All of those numbers were good for second on the team, even though Crook only started nine games.
Overall, Crook finishes her USC career with per-game averages of 11.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game, while shooting 35 percent from the field, 33 percent from behind the arc and 78 percent from the free throw line.
The loss of Crook is especially problematic for the Women of Troy since they also lost forward Cassie Harberts to the WNBA this April. Crook and Harberts were USC’s top two scorers last season. Harberts led the team in average minutes played (32.9), while Crook was third (28.0).
Crook put up a career-high 34 points in USC’s upset of No. 16 Cal last year. That was the most points a USC women’s basketball player had scored in a single game since 2002.
The Women of Troy will look to put the loss of Crook behind them as they hope to continue improving under Cooper-Dyke, who led them to a 22-13 record (11-7 Pac-12) in her first season, along with the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006.
Despite losing Harberts and now Crook, Cooper-Dyke made a strong effort to improve the program in the offseason with the hiring of long-time San Diego State head coach Beth Burns as an assistant.
USC will get back on the court on Nov. 9 with an exhibition against Concordia at the Galen Center at 2 p.m. The team will open the upcoming season at South Carolina on Nov. 15, with their home opener taking place on Nov. 23 against Fresno State.