After a weekend sweep of Colorado and Utah, the women’s basketball team returns to the Galen Center to face off against Stanford and Cal.
Last Friday, the team demolished Colorado in an offensive showcase as they pounded the Buffaloes for 86 points en route to a 35-point victory. Against Utah, both teams had trouble scoring the basketball, but ultimately, the Trojans were able to maintain an early lead and took down the Utes, 58-47. Junior guard Aliyah Mazyck led the way in both games, scoring a career-high 29 points against Colorado and led the team again with 20 against Utah. But defense was key in both victories.
“I think, this weekend, our defense really flourished,” senior guard Sadie Edwards said. “I think we really executed and disrupted other teams on the defensive end. We didn’t let them get into a rhythm or do what they wanted to do or what they were comfortable doing, so I think that’s something that we can control and carry over to this weekend.”
This Friday, the team will welcome the Stanford Cardinal to the Galen Center. Stanford currently sits at 11-7 with a 5-1 Pac-12 conference record. One of their victories came against the Trojans back on New Year’s Eve when they held on to win 72-65. In that game, senior guard Brittany McPhee led the way for Stanford, stuffing the stat sheet with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Stanford outshot USC with a 45.5 percent overall field goal percentage to the Trojans’ 35.5 percent and out-rebounded the Women of Troy 41-31. Stanford is led by the tandem of McPhee and junior forward Alanna Smith, but Stanford has a deep team that can all contribute and have been steady at executing in half-court settings.
“Both of [Cal and Stanford’s] games are different so Stanford is really, really, really good at executing in the half court. They obviously play for an incredible coach; they play extremely hard. We watched film and we’ve looked at a lot of the mistakes that we’ve made in that game, so I think we’re really looking forward to getting on the court and just competing,” Edwards said. “I think it’s going to be a good game, I think it’s going to be a great weekend for us and an incredible opportunity.”
Then on Sunday, No. 21 Cal comes to Galen Center with a 13-4 overall record and a 4-2 Pac-12 conference record. This game will also be a rematch as the Golden Bears defeated the Trojans 76-64 on Dec. 29. The Trojans were once again outgunned in their previous game against Cal, as they shot 38.1 percent to Cal’s 45.6 percent.
The Trojans were led by senior forward Kristen Simon in this contest as she posted a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds but she was matched by junior center Kristine Anigwe with 16 points and 13 rebounds double-double. The Golden Bears sport a deep team, capable of scoring in bunches and with efficiency; Kristine Anigwe remains the biggest offensive threat as she averages around 18 points and is coming off a dominant weekend where she totaled 56 points and 27 rebounds over two games.
“Cal also executed really well in the half court against us but Cal has one of the best players in the country in [Anigwe]. We trust our preparation. We’ve learned and we’ve grown a lot even though that was just two weeks ago. I think we’re a lot better now than we were and we’re just going to go out there and compete, play hard.”
With an electrifying rout of Colorado last weekend, the Trojans are hoping their momentum can continue against two strong teams in Cal and Stanford. The Trojans’ defense was notable in the past two games against Colorado and Utah. Their disruption and focus helped them stop Colorado’s offense in the second half and kept Utah from cutting into the lead. They will have to key in on their defense to stop Cal’s high-powered offense and Stanford’s deep reserves.
“We gave up a lot of transition points against Stanford the first time around, so that’s something we can always control; we can get back on defense, we can stop the ball, we can run the floor harder,” Edwards said. “We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, which is also something we can control; box out. And there was a few of their actions that we got beat on, we watched them in film, we’ve made an adjustment now, we’ve gone over it today, we’ve drilled it, we have great practice guides that come in and help us going over that so we’ll be prepared for that.”
The Trojans will face Stanford on Friday at 8 p.m. and battle No. 21 Cal on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be televised on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Networks.