The USC women’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing skid with a 41-point thrashing over Gardner-Webb in the Bahamas last weekend. Now it hopes to live up to its preseason expectations starting tonight at Galen Center against the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The Women of Troy have (2-3) struggled to put together a consistent performance in their previous four contests. The victory over Gardner-Webb was perhaps their strongest showing of the year, as they put up a season-high 82 points.
“Our biggest strength is sticking together and playing as a team,” senior guard Briana Gilbreath said. “Against Gardner-Webb we started playing as a team. When we do that, I think we can beat anybody.”
The Roadrunners are led by the efforts of Ashley Spaletta, who is averaging 10.3 points per game. In their last game, Spaletta hit four 3-pointers en route to 16 points.
“The bottom line is that we got to win the Trojan way,” USC coach Michael Cooper said. “When we play against teams that aren’t ranked, we have to insert our will on them from the start.”
The Women of Troy never trailed in their last game against the Runnin’ Bulldogs (2-4), and look to keep some of that momentum heading into tonight.
“[I’m looking for the team] to play a complete game, and do the things we worked on in practice,” Cooper said. “The key is to rebound — we need to limit them to one shot per possession.”
Heading into Wednesday’s matchup, UTSA is averaging 51.5 points per game, while the Women of Troy average 63 points. The Roadrunners barely scraped a victory in their last game against Detroit capturing a 59-55 victory. Throughout the season, however, UTSA has shot just under 28 percent from the field.
The Women of Troy’s offense, which has struggled at times, might not match up against top-ranked teams, but USC hopes to perform well enough to stop its opponent. The home advantage will help, according to the coaching staff.
“We got to take advantage and win [at home] because it’s hard on the road no matter who you’re playing,” Cooper said. “Good teams win on the road, championships are won on the road.”
The USC team has seen strong showings from its top players even in some of the team’s losses.
Gilbreath is now one career steal away from No. 9 spot in the USC history books, and No. 5 in all-time career blocks, while senior guard Ashley Corral is No. 15 overall in career points with 1,252.
“Hopefully in these games we can focus more on executing our offense and sticking with our defensive scheme,” Gilbreath said. “We just have to execute what [the coaches] tell us to execute.”