USC defeated Cal 74-54 at the Galen Center on Saturday, marking the largest victory over Cal since 2005.
New Year’s Eve marked several firsts for the Women of Troy: the first conference victory for the USC Trojans and junior forward Christina Marinacci’s career-high 23 points.
Following the loss to Stanford on Thursday, USC aimed to improve its rebounding and second-chance opportunities.
“Rebounding is our biggest key,” USC coach Michael Cooper said. “We lost the rebounding war tonight by four, but, then again, sometimes things work in different ways for you.”
Sophomore forward Cassie Harberts led the Women of Troy with nine rebounds. Briana Gilbreath posted eight rebounds and Christina Marinacci added seven, combining for a total of 40 for USC.
“If you can compete against these top rebounding teams like Cal, who is the number three rebounding team, it gives you a chance to win,” Cooper said.
Harberts and Marinacci posted 23 points each against the Golden Bears.
“[Harberts and Marinacci] have a unique ability about them because they are very mobile,” Cooper said. “They have to carry the load for us. It’s always a team effort that they have to shoulder the majority of that down post-ugly play — rebounding, banging, and getting us some points on the offensive end.”
Senior guard Ashley Corral was 4-for-4 with 3-pointers giving the Trojans an early lead in the first half. Corral finished with 13 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
“I think the one thing that we have on our side is that we are a very good executing team,” Cooper said. “When we execute, move the ball around and stop taking quick shots, it enables us to not only score the basket but also get offensive rebounds.”
Now 1-1 in Pac-12 conference play, USC hopes to continue its momentum as it will face tough competition on the road. “With those two teams, Arizona State being a very big team and Arizona, we’re going to have to execute well on offense and play good defense,” Cooper said.
USC will travel to Arizona next week to face Arizona State and Arizona. The Women of Troy will first visit Tempe to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and will take on the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday at 1 p.m.