Women’s basketball prepares to face the Pac-12’s best

first_imgOregon State and Oregon make for some of the toughest Pac-12 competition USC has faced this season. The Trojans lost to No. 22 Arizona State, No. 12 Arizona and No. 8 Stanford in the past two weeks, dropping their conference record to 4-8.  “We just practice our sets, make sure we get out on shooters, make sure we are defending off the line,” Jackson said. “I guess it’s trusting each other — that’s big for [our] defense.” Oregon has put up a staggering 85.9 points per game this season — the most in Division I.  “We [need] to work on urgency to the shooter,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “Containing the ball, we [need] to contain the post and we [need to] guard all their sets.” The Trojans have only six games left before the Pac-12 tournament begins. Oregon State and Oregon are two of the toughest teams in the country and could provide a gauge of how USC can expect to fare come tournament time.   Aside from the offensive threat posed by Jones, senior guard Mikayla Pivec presents a serious challenge in the paint with an average of 9.7 rebounds per game. Pivec will be matched up with a USC lineup led by senior forward Kayla Overbeck and freshman forward Alissa Pili. However, last weekend’s Bay Area tour also proved that freshman forward Angel Jackson has plenty of potential. Oregon’s offensive production is currently operating at an impressive .503 efficiency rate with the help of Herbard and arguably the best player in women’s college basketball, likely No. 1 WNBA Draft pick senior guard Sabrina Ionescu.  “The chemistry is good, the kids are really good, our culture is good,” Trakh said. “They’re excited [and] they want to play so think our program right now is in a really good position moving forward.” The Ducks are currently 7-1 on the road and have repeatedly held opponents off with over 30-point wins — don’t expect them to be intimidated by a hostile environment at Galen.  Jackson went 9-11 from the field with 19 points and nine rebounds in USC’s 75-67 win over Cal. In Sunday’s game against Stanford, Jackson added to her stat sheet with seven rebounds and 9 points. The trio of her, Pili and Overbeck can put up the defensive effort necessary to frustrate OSU. The USC women’s basketball team returns to Galen Center to face off against No. 11 Oregon State Friday and No. 3 Oregon Sunday. Friday’s game is USC’s first home game of the month after going 2-2 during its last four road games. During this week’s practices, Trakh’s team ran through all of Oregon’s offensive sets to set the pacing for the defense. According to Jackson, awareness of each teammate’s responsibility on the opponent’s side of the court is key to stopping shots. Freshman center Angel Jackson put up a career-high 19 points on an extremely efficient 82% shooting against Cal last Friday. (James Wolfe / Daily Trojan) USC tips off against Oregon State Friday at 7 p.m. and against Oregon Sunday at 1 p.m. During last weekend’s 79-59 loss against Stanford, USC fell to a 28-point deficit by halftime after going only 21% from the field. Given the sharp shooters coming to Galen Center this weekend, the Trojans are going to need to improve if they hope to keep up. OSU’s freshman forward Taylor Jones and Oregon’s senior forward Ruthy Hebard rank No. 13 and No. 3 in the country in field goal percentage. last_img read more