While the men's hoops team has struggled greatly and has most likely lost their chance at an NCAA tournament spot outside of winning the Pac-12 Tournament, the women's team, lead by Coach Michael Cooper, has gone on a recent hot streak to start off conference play. Today, the Women of Troy earned their fourth consecutive victory with a 47-43 win over UCLA, improving their record to 9-6 overall and 4-1 in the conference. USC is currently placed second in the conference, one game behind the current leader Stanford.
Despite losing their top player, Jacki Gemelos, to an ACL injury last month, USC has not lost its confidence and remains a conference contender. A great deal of credit for this belongs to seniors Ashley Corral and Briana Gilbreath, whose skill and leadership have helped SC come back from a losing record entering conference play. Corral has just passed Cheryl Miller for fourth on the USC career assists list, and Gilbreath is approaching the 1,500 career point mark.
USC was ranked #23 in the AP poll at the start of the season, but fell out after the second week. But despite their early season struggles, they are still ranked #18 in the latest RPI thanks to their extremely difficult schedule. Five of USC's six losses so far have come against teams that are currently ranked or receiving votes in the national polls, and three of those losses were against top-10 teams. If USC can maintain the recent hot streak they have created through the second half of the season, they should easily find a spot in the Big Dance, and a strong performance in the Pac-12 tournament could help them find a higher seeding.
The Women of Troy will return to the Galen Center on Thursday to play the 10-8 Oregon Ducks.