The Women of Troy won their first road game of the season on Tuesday against UC Santa Barbara 62-51, after splitting four home games to start the regular season. They will now travel to San Diego to take on the Aztecs Friday night.
Junior forward Cassie Harberts led USC (3-2) against the Gauchos with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds, scoring double digits for the first five games of the season, and freshman guard Jordan Adams finished with 12 points on 4 3-pointers. Harberts is averaging 17.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, leading USC in both categories.
“I thought they were great,” associate head coach Daron Park said. “Anytime you go on the road and get a win, you gotta feel good about it. There’s still things we’re continuing to work on every day and there are things we definitely want to identify and get better, but what’s really encouraging about this group is that every game we’re making progress.”
USC has outrebounded all five of its opponents this season, and has turned the ball over 12, 15 and 18 times in their last three games, respectively, after committing 24 turnovers in their first two games. The Aztecs present a different challenge for USC.
“San Diego’s a little bit different than Santa Barbara,” said senior forward Christina Marinacci. “They’re a little more athletic, they have a 6’6” post … We have to really focus in on that and play up to their intensity. They’re gonna be super athletic so we just need to make sure that we do the little things, we box out, we talk on defense and it should handle the athleticism in itself.”
The Aztecs (3-2) played a pair of games last week, beating Auburn 78-57 and losing to Colorado 67-53. They are led in scoring by Courtney Clements with 17.6 points per game, and led in rebounding by Erimma Amarikwa with 6.8 rebounds per game. They won the Mountain West Conference last season, finishing 26-7 and reaching the first round of the NCAA Championships.
“San Diego State’s a really good ball club,” Park said, “They’re tremendously well-coached, they’re very physical, they’re aggressive, they love to try and disrupt you defensively with what they do. We’re working on still running our stuff, being strong with the basketball, being physical when we set screens, all of those tiny things just to ensure that we’re still gonna get good shots tomorrow night.”
The last contest between the two teams was at the Women of Troy Basketball Classic at the Galen Center in 2010, which USC won 74-64 to win the tournament. Ashley Corral led the Women of Troy with 23 points in that game. USC is 28-7 against San Diego State all-time, including winning the past four meetings. The last Aztec win over USC was a 67-66 win in the 1995-96 season.
USC finishes its stretch of road games on Wednesday, Dec. 5 against Fresno State before returning home to take on Texas A&M on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Galen Center.