MINNEAPOLIS -- Southern California is trying to re-establish
itself as a perennial women's basketball power, and this was a
Playing in their first NCAA tournament in eight years, the
eighth-seeded Women of Troy showed off their balance, depth and
quickness on Saturday in a 65-49 victory over ninth-seeded
Louisville in the first round of the Kansas City Regional.
Chloe Kerr scored 14 points, Camille LeNoir contributed 13, Kim
Gipson added 12 and Jamie Funn had 10 for Southern Cal (20-10),
which reached 20 wins for the first time since 1997 -- the last time
they won a tournament game.
The Trojans move to the second round and will face either
top-seeded Michigan State or No. 16 seed Alcorn State on Monday.
Louisville's first tournament appearance in four years ended
quickly. Sophomore center Jazz Covington, who averaged nearly 18
points per game, had a frustrating afternoon and finished with 13
points after some late layups once the game was out of reach.
Missy Taylor scored 11 points and Connie Neal made three
3-pointers for the Cardinals (22-9), who were outrebounded 45-32
and shot 34.6 percent (18-for-52) from the floor.
After winning two national titles, in 1983 and 1984 with Cheryl
Miller, and reaching the final eight in 1994 with Lisa Leslie, USC
hasn't been the same. But first-year coach Mark Trakh, after
arriving from Pepperdine, put up a sign in the gym that read,
"Bring it back." With two freshmen and a sophomore in the
starting lineup, the program looks like it's on the right track.
Eight different players led Southern Cal in scoring this season,
and seven of them averaged 6.9 points or more per game. Rachel
Woodward, one of USC's two seniors, sank back-to-back jumpers
during an 8-0 run that put the Trojans in front, 24-20 with 2½
minutes left before halftime.
Then Southern Cal ran away with it in the second half. Kerr's
turnaround in the lane made it 53-31 and capped an 18-0 spurt, a
scoring drought that the Cardinals didn't end for 7½ minutes.
The Trojans consistently anticipated crosscourt passes on
defense and came up with 12 steals. Had they shot from long range
like they normally do, it would've been much more of a rout.
USC, whose 186 3-pointers (more than six per game) this season
is a school record, went just 3-for-18 from beyond the arc.