Women of Troy add trio of talented players

Fresh off a run to the WNIT title game, the USC women’s basketball team added three standout recruits to pull in the nation’s No. 8 class, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.

Two of the players — 6-foot-1 forward Alexyz Vaioletama and 5-foot-7 guard Ariya Crook-Williams — rank among the top 16 players in the country according to ESPNU. The third player, 6-foot-3 forward Deanna Calhoun, had her senior season cut short by a knee injury. Calhoun will redshirt her first season at USC.

“My coaches and I worked hard to recruit and sign talented, hard-working young women who are ready to help this program take the next step,” said USC coach Michael Cooper. “Using the WNIT championship as a springboard, we are excited about the addition of Deanna, Ariya and Alexyz and the experience, size and depth they add to our veteran team.”

Both Vaioletama and Crook-Williams earned All-American honors in high school and have experience playing the USA Junior National teams, and will be counted on to bolster an experienced team that returns four starters. With their addition, USC has eight former high school All-Americans on its roster.

“We are excited for the immediate impact [Vaioletama] will have on next year’s team,” Cooper said. “Her rebounding and inside-out scoring ability make her such a tough match-up.”

Cooper was just as effusive in his praise of Crook-Williams.

“With our already stellar backcourt, [her] athleticism and ability to get to the basket bring a new dimension to our offensive attack,” he said.