USC returns home in search of a win

The USC women’s basketball team will look to get back on the right track, as they return to the Galen Center to take on Utah on Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. and Colorado on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 12 p.m.

The Women of Troy (11-10, 3-7 Pac-12) are currently on a five-game losing streak, their longest streak since an eight-game one in the 2012-2013 season.

They suffered a 68-35 loss to No. 7 Oregon State (20-1, 10-0 Pac-12), and then a 63-57 loss to Oregon (10-11, 3-7 Pac-12) last weekend.

USC held a 25-23 lead at halftime against the Ducks, but a strong shooting effort by Oregon allowed the Ducks to pull ahead.

Senior forward Kaneisha Horn led USC with a total of 21 points, including a team-leading 10 against the Beavers, and 13 rebounds over the weekend.  Sophomore guard Courtney Jaco scored 14 points against the Ducks, while senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama finished with 10 points.

“We don’t come out with enough intensity to compete,” head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said.

Senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama leads the Women of Troy with 12.2 points to go along with 6.7 rebounds per game.

Freshman guard McKenzie Calvert is scoring 10.4 points per game, while junior guard Brianna Barrett is adding 10.2 points. She leads the team with just under four assists per game.

“We just need to work harder, everybody needs to take a step back, look themselves in the mirror and see what they can do to contribute to this team’s success,” sophomore guard Courtney Jaco said.

Taryn Wicijowski leads Utah (7-14, 1-9 Pac-12) with 14.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Tanaeya Boclair has 9.7 points per game.

The Utes have lost nine of their last 10 games, with their only win coming last Friday, beating Arizona 62-48.

Colorado (10-11, 3-7 Pac-12) has four players averaging double-digits in scoring, led by Jen Reese’s 13.7 points per game and Jamee Swan’s 13.5 points per game. Swan and Reese also lead the Buffaloes in rebounding, with 7.8 and 7.3 rebounds per game respectively. Colorado is coming off a 68-60 loss to Arizona State and an 81-69 win over the Wildcats. The Buffaloes are 3-8 in their last 11 games after starting the season 7-3.

“I think we have to believe that we can win,” sophomore guard Jordan Adams said. “It’s kind of defeating when you’re losing all the time, and you feel like you’re not good, you have doubts about yourself.

USC has beaten both the Buffaloes and Utes this season, picking up an 81-61 win over Colorado behind 20 points apiece from Barrett and Vaioletama and a 46-43 win over Utah. Barrett was the only double-digit scorer against the Utes, picking up 13 points.

“I think the team needs to believe that we are good and we have the capability of winning,” Adams said. “We just have to come into practice like we want to win, and we have to come into practice like we want to get better.”

The Women of Troy are 8-5 all-time against Utah and 7-4 against Colorado, and they swept both squads last season.

“They did a really good job of playing defense on us,” Jaco said about the last match against the Utes. “They [play] a sagging type, and we’re not the most frequent shooting team, but I think if we get out in transition, play our game, play fast, we’ll be okay and we’ll score a couple more baskets.”

USC will head up to Northern California to take on Stanford (17-5, 9-1 Pac-12) on Friday,      Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. in Palo Alto, followed by a match against California (16-5, 8-2 Pac-12) on Sunday,    Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in Berkeley.

They will then return to the Galen Center for their final two home games of the season: Arizona (8-13, 1-9 Pac-12) on Friday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. and Arizona State (20-2, 9-1 Pac-12) on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m.