Women of Troy look for first win of season

The USC women’s basketball team looks to get its first win of the season against Pepperdine (1-1) Sunday in its second of four consecutive home games to start the season.

The Women of Troy (0-1) hope to bounce back from their 63-52 loss against Gonzaga and improve on their 19-12 record from last season. USC committed 24 turnovers against the Bulldogs in the opener, including 14 in the first half, and shot 19 of 51 from the field (.373 FG percent).

Five players played their first game for USC, including three in the starting lineup. Each scored by the final buzzer. Junior forward  Cassie Harberts also got her seventh career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Harberts was the only player on the team to score in double figures, while three Gonzaga players scored 10 or more, led by Keani Alvarez’s 17. Freshman Brianna Barrett led all USC newcomers with nine points in 29 minutes.

“You’re not gonna win any games with 24 turnovers,” said  USC coach Michael Cooper about last week’s loss.

The Women of Troy did manage to outscore Gonzaga 30-26 in the second half, but the double-digit deficit they faced, which got to as high as 22 points in the first half, was too vast to overcome.

“It’s a work in progress still,” Cooper said about the new players adjusting to college basketball, “You just have to learn to live through it. Hopefully we can win some games while we’re trying to make this happen, and as long as we can do that and keep moving forward, I will feel successful.”

Pepperdine is coming off a 79-71 loss against UC Riverside Monday, after beating UC Davis 83-68 in their season opener. Forward Robie Mayberry leads the Waves with 20 points and seven rebounds per game, and forward Kelsey Patrick is the only returning starter from last season’s squad, which finished 14-15 on the season and 8-8 in West Coast Conference play.

USC is undefeated against Pepperdine all-time at 18-0 since the first match in 1977.