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Women of Troy Start 2-0 Under Cooper-Dyke

Ariya Crook led USC to a pair of nine-point wins at UC Davis and Fresno State in new head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke's first weekend.

Ariya Crook averaged 19 ppg.
Ariya Crook averaged 19 ppg.
USA TODAY Sports

New USC head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke has an unblemished 2-0 record after the opening weekend of college hoops action.

The Women of Troy took a pair of nine-point victories on the road in Northern California at UC Davis and Fresno State.

USC 64, UC Davis 55

The Good:

  • After giving up a nine-point first half lead, the Trojans had to battle the Aggies as the game featured seven lead changes in the second half. But USC kept fighting and pulled off the win in Cooper-Dyke's USC coaching debut.
  • The Women of Troy won the rebounding battle 39-31 led by guard Briana Barrett, who grabbed nine boards off the bench. Cassie Harberts had eight.

The Bad:

  • Harberts, whose name popped up on several preseason watch lists, went ahead and got her one bad game out of the way for this year. Harberts did not have a field goal (0-for-8) as she finished with only three points after averaging 18 last season.
  • USC missed 10 free throws, finishing only 57 percent (13-for-23) from the freebie line.
  • Starters Alexyz Vaioletama and Kiki Alofaituli spent the majority of the game on the bench in foul trouble with Vaioletama fouling out after only six points and three rebounds in 19 minutes.

The Great:

  • Ariya Crook carried the team, finishing with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including a 4-for-7 mark from deep.
  • Barrett filled in nicely in the backcourt with Alofaituli saddled with foul trouble and Jordan Adams not producing. Barrett played 29 minutes and came one rebound shy of a double-double.

USC 63, Fresno State 54

The Good:

  • After sluggish opening performances, Adams and Harberts both battled back in Game 2. It took Harberts until nearly halftime to get her first field goal (and she still only shot 3-of-12), but she forced Fresno State to double and triple team her -- sometimes drawing multiple defenders before she even had the ball. This opened up things for her teammates, one of which was Adams, who was 6-for-10 from the floor, knocking down multiple midrange jumpers.
  • Fresno State only shot 22 percent from the floor in the first half.

The Bad:

  • The Trojans committed 19 turnovers and there were several that were unforced.
  • Fresno State was able to put together several runs (most of which were answered by USC runs), including a 19-6 run to end the first half and begin the second half. Long, unanswered runs killed the Trojans last season. When the opponent puts together a short run, Harberts and Crook have to step up and be able to get a bucket to keep the momentum from building.
  • USC had 16 offensive rebounds, but also allowed 15 defensive rebounds.
  • The Trojans turned the ball over 19 times, including five from Crook, four from Adams and four from Barrett -- USC's three primary ballhandlers.
  • Three-point shooting: 1 for 9. (Though two of Adams' jumpers were with a foot on the three-point line.)

The Great:

  • USC got to the line 30 times led by Crook and Harberts, who were a combined 16-for-22. The Trojans knocked down 20 free throws; Fresno State was 10-of-16, giving USC a 10-point advantage thanks to its aggressiveness in the paint.
  • Getting a pair of wins on the road is always a great way to start the season. The Women of Troy will try to keep their record unblemished on Wednesday when they host San Diego State at 4 p.m. for Cooper-Dyke's home debut as coach.