The USC women’s basketball team will travel across town to Westwood to take on UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
The Women of Troy (11-5, 3-2 Pac-12) will look to avenge a 59-52 loss at the hands of the Bruins on Dec. 30 at the Galen Center. Freshman guard McKenzie Calvert led USC with 16 points in the contest, with senior forward Kaneisha Horn adding 12 points and 7 rebounds, as USC went cold from behind the arc, going 3-for-22 in the contest.
Recee Caldwell led UCLA (7-9, 3-2 Pac-12) with 17 points. The Women of Troy are now 47-40 all-time against the Bruins, but are 4-5 against UCLA since the 2010-11 season, as the two rivals have alternated sweeping the season series.
“We gotta work on our zone,” said redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Adams about what the team learned from last month’s loss to the Bruins. “I think we came out with the right energy, I just think that we didn’t execute the way that we wanted to and we play better as a team than we do as individuals. I think we tried to either rely on a couple [of] individuals too much or only rely on ourselves and we should have shared the ball more, and we should have played more as a team. Had we done that I think that the outcome would have been different.”
Since the loss to UCLA, USC has won three of their last four games, including completing a road sweep last weekend with an 81-61 win against Colorado (7-8, 0-4 Pac-12) and a 46-43 win against Utah (6-9, 0-4 Pac-12). Senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama and Calvert each scored 20 points against the Buffaloes, while junior guard Brianna Barrett added 17 points and 6 rebounds. Barrett followed that up with 13 points against the Utes, making her the only double-digit scorer for the Women of Troy.
“Our goal as a team is to consistently improve and get better,” said associate head coach Beth Burns. “Whoever is next, whether it’s UCLA, Cal or Stanford—which are the following weekend—we want to continue to improve. We’re coming off a road sweep, which is just huge in our league to be able to win two games on the road, most especially because we had dropped two home games.”
Vaioletama leads USC with 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Calvert is averaging 11.9 points per game, while Barrett has 10.7 points per game, and leads the team with 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
The Bruins are led by Nirra Fields, who is averaging 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Jordin Canada is averaging 10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game, and leads the team in points (12.7) and assists (5.0) per game during Pac-12 play.
Like USC, the Bruins also completed a road sweep last weekend, pulling out a 49-46 win over the Utes and a 90-84 win over the Buffaloes. Kari Korver led the team with a combined 32 points over the weekend, including leading six double-digit scorers against Colorado.
“The energy that we had was great, especially at Colorado and we kind of lost it when we’re at Utah, but I think the energy needs to be shifted as far as focusing,” said Vaioletama. “Our energy sometimes is great, but it’s not focused on the right things that we do in practice and we do in games.”
The Women of Troy will return to the Galen Center next week to take on California (11-4, 3-1 Pac-12) on Friday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. and No. 13 Stanford (12-4, 4-0 Pac-12) on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m.