Women’s basketball travels to Arizona for two-game trip

first_imgThe USC women’s basketball team is headed to the Grand Canyon State to face off against No. 19 Arizona State Friday and No. 16 Arizona Sunday. The Trojans are looking to avenge earlier losses to both rival Pac-12 South teams on the road after winning their last three games at home. On Sunday the Trojans will head to Tucson for their matchup with the Wildcats. Besides the offensive threat McDonald poses, USC will have to handle sophomore center Semaj Smith who posted a career-high 12 rebounds in Arizona’s last game against the Trojans. Rogers now joins forward Alissa Pili as the second USC player to receive the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award for women’s basketball this year. Their home performances have cemented their leadership roles for the young team and show the level of competition they are capable of. Senior forward and captain Kayla Overbeck will look to lead her talented freshmen to two road wins. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) Since these two games in the middle of the Trojans’ early five-game losing streak, USC has turned around its defense and adjusted offensively. Against Washington State, USC never allowed a lead change and logged 44 rebounds. In last Sunday’s overtime win over Washington, the Trojans shot 43.3% from the field with freshman guard Endyia Rogers tallying a career-high 29 points. Look out for senior guard Robbi Ryan, who shot a career-high 25 points against Arizona and is now averaging 42% from the field. Pili and senior forward Kayla Overbeck will also have to stop senior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley, who transferred from USC in April and is now averaging seven rebounds per game.  “[We] just gotta compete,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “Since we’ve got a really young team, we’re like, we just gotta go play, we got nothing to lose.” Arizona State converted 27 points off of turnovers for a 63-54 win two days later. To prepare for ASU, USC should anticipate a Sun Devil team hungry for another conference win. Their five-game winning streak that propelled them to the No. 16 spot in the national rankings was snapped by Arizona in a 59-53 loss last week.  Washington ran out to an early 19-point lead on the Wildcats on Jan. 19 that took Arizona three quarters to erase. The Trojans took on a similar deficit and took over the lead in the third in their first Arizona game this season. Maintaining consistency for all 40 minutes could help solidify a win for USC. The Trojans will have to maintain a competitive fire if they want to finish this revenge trip with wins under their belt. “It’s pretty exciting because we’re very young, to win three big wins back-to-back — UCLA, Washington State, Washington — that’s a pretty big accomplishment,” Rogers said. “But we have to keep on working to get more wins.” The Sun Devils and Wildcats have experience on their upperclassmen-heavy rosters that powered over the young Trojan team at the beginning of conference play. Led by junior guard Aari McDonald’s 24-point performance, Arizona delivered a 65-57 win at Galen Center Jan. 3. Currently 11-8 on the season, USC did not have much success on the road in its early matchups, going 2-4 away from Galen Center. This weekend the Trojans will have the chance to reverse those struggles and further improve their No. 8 conference standing. Freshman guard Endyia Rogers will match up against top guards during USC’s road trip to Arizona. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) The Trojans will tip off against ASU Friday at 10 a.m. and against Arizona Sunday at 11 a.m.last_img

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