Women’s basketball goes on the road to face Oregon State

Freshman Alyson Miura dribbles the ball during USC’s game against UCLA Sunday.
Freshman Alyson Miura dribbles the ball during USC’s game against UCLA Sunday. Miura had 15 points in the Trojans’ upset of No. 4 Arizona. (Patrick Hannan | Daily Trojan)

USC is hoping to bounce back against Oregon State this Friday after consecutive losses to a UCLA team riding a four-game win streak. Although losing by 23 and 10 points, respectively, the Trojans improved their shooting percentage from 28% to 41% after an abysmal 2-17 from behind the arc the first time facing the Bruins. 

As the penultimate month of the season approaches, assistant coach Wendale Farrow has his players focusing on what’s right in front of them each week. 

“Our focus coming into this week is just take it game by game, day by day,” said Farrow in an interview with the Daily Trojan Wednesday. “If you can win two games in a weekend, you were the champion of that weekend. If you guys split, it’s OK, and if you lose two, it is very challenging. So, game by game, day by day, we’re looking for that focus to just play those 40 minutes.”

The Beavers won seven of their last ten contests against the Trojans, the most recent coming last February, resulting in a 25-point loss. 

Oregon State has a 9-4 record and is coming off four close games against conference opponents, losing by a bucket to No. 8 Arizona, followed by three and six-point wins against Colorado and Washington, the former went into overtime. Most recently, the Beavers suffered a 7-point loss to Washington State.

Leading USC, sophomore forward Jordyn Jenkins averages 13.3 points per game and in her seventh-straight game scoring double figures. Her ability to attack the hoop and finish, as well as score in traffic, has proved essential to the team’s success. 

In key wins, like such as timely upset of the Wildcats Jan. 9, Jenkins sees defensive success as a way to create more opportunities on offense.

“When we are really smooth on defense is when it starts to turn into offense,”  Jenkins said. “We can do really well in transition and we can get better at it [to have] easy transition buckets, so having the defense turn into offense is major.”

Stopping players such as Oregon State’s leading-scorer, freshman guard Talia von Oelhoffen, from catching fire will be a challenge, but Farrow is confident in USC’s strategy on Friday. 

“We’ve really been preparing our scout team to imitate what Oregon State will do this week … We have a really good day of prep, [working on] our ball screen coverages, how we want to defend them, the ways we want to attack them on offense,” Farrow said. “I think our energy and enthusiasm will be there heading into our game.”

The Trojans are led by first-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, whose coaching pedigree includes NBA experience as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers and a Final Four appearance with UC Berkeley. 

Jenkins had high-praise for the first-year coach. 

“[Gottlieb] just preaches a lot about having a good team and just having good chemistry,” Jenkins  said. “She’s a really intelligent woman, and just her having a high basketball IQ really helps us out on the court and we listen to her. She’s a smart lady.”

The Trojans will begin their two-game road trip Friday against the Beavers. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.