Women of Troy are ready to host midweek showdown
On Wednesday, the Women of Troy will look to follow up Friday’s season opening win over Hawai’i with another victory against UC Riverside. While most early non-conference play is against somewhat inferior competition, the Highlanders provide a solid test for USC. Last season they went 23-9, going undefeated in Big West play and making an appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The program has undergone a massive turnaround after going 6-23 just three seasons ago. “They run a motion with a lot of screens, both stagger screens, backdoors as well as shuffle cuts,” head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. “We’ve got to be really effective with defending the screens as well as putting pressure on the ball.” Last Friday, the familiar faces for the Trojans showed up to play. Junior forward Kristen Simon recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and snatching 10 rebounds, while redshirt senior guard Jordan Adams scored 11 points while shooting five-for-six from the field.“I just try to be the glue. I just try to hold everyone together,” Adams said. “I know that, consistently, your shots won’t always fall and you’re not always going to have the best games, but I just come in with energy and effort and leadership.”In addition to the veteran players, freshman guard Minyon Moore and forward Ja’Tavia Tapley performed admirably in their debut games. Moore had 8 points, while Tapley scored 10 along with five rebounds. Each played extended minutes, showing that they will be integral to this year’s success regardless of their experience. Even though USC played quite well in last week’s season opener, shooting 50 percent as a team and receiving 32 points from the bench, Cooper-Dyke knows there is a lot of room for improvement. “I want to play solid defense, aggressive defense, passing lane defense so that we don’t have to worry about teams playing in the half court defensively,” Cooper-Dyke said. “We can run our fast break and get out in transition. I want to improve defense. I want to improve our rebounding and then I want to be able to, in the half-court, attack more efficiently.” After playing UCR at home, the Trojans will embark on an extended road trip. First, they head to Las Vegas to play UNLV on Saturday and then travel to Anchorage for the Great Alaska Shootout on Tuesday. “We traveled a lot during Italy (this summer), and we got a really nice bonding experience,” Adams said. “I think everyone is excited to get back on the road and spend time together again and really just get back to finding out who each other are. That’s the one thing that’s beautiful about playing on the road.” Wednesday night’s game will tip off at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center. With the long road trip, the Women of Troy do not play at home again until Nov. 27 against Long Beach State.