Women’s basketball cleans up second game of season

Senior forward Kristen Simon leaps over a defender to shoot a layup in a game against Montana State at the Galen Center. Photo by Alex Zhang | Daily Trojan

The USC women’s basketball team improved to 2-0 on the season on Monday night after handling UC Riverside on the road, 64-46.

One major question surrounding this year’s Trojans team was who would emerge to replace the 3-point production of Courtney Jaco, a star senior on last year’s squad and one of the most prolific shooters in program history.

Head coach Mark Trakh may have received his answer in junior guard Aliyah Mazyck. The Charlotte native drained four shots from long range in the first half, finishing with a team high 21 points in the game. So far on the year, she’s already averaging 19.5 points per game with a 47.5 percentage from behind the 3-point line.

In addition to Mayck, whose shooting helped propel USC to a 16-point halftime lead, senior forward Kristen Simon played a solid game. She went an unsuspecting 4-for-7 in field goals, but dominated on the boards and reached the free throw line with ease (she was 10-of-15 from the line).

Simon’s 18 points and nine rebounds in just 21 minutes nearly gave her the 19th double-double of her career. Behind her efforts on the glass, USC out-rebounded the Highlanders, 39-29.

After exploding for a career high 30 points in the season opener against Montana State, senior guard Sadie Edwards had a more quiet night on Monday, finishing with 6 points and one assist, but her presence alone helped free up other offensive options such as Simon and Mayck.

Sophomore point guard Minyon Moore operated as the team’s primary distributor and defensive irritant, dishing out six assists and recording four steals. As a team, USC finished with 12 steals and forced UC Riverside into 20 turnovers. The Highlanders’ Michelle Curry provided some offensive spark for her team scoring 19 points, but overall the Women of Troy prevented her team from mounting any consistency on offense. UC Riverside went 19-of-51 on field goals, shooting 15.4 percent from 3-point range.

It was a suffocating defensive performance from USC, but the Trojans still have plenty of issues to clean up on the offensive side moving forward. Every player who logged at least 10 minutes turned the ball over and seven recorded multiple turnovers. Meanwhile, after landing 13 3-pointers as a team in the opener, USC struggled often from deep on Monday. The usually reliable duo of Moore and Edwards combined for just one 3-point make.

Next up, USC will stay on the road for a contest with Santa Clara this Friday before returning home to face Long Beach State next Monday.