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Duke Knocks Off BYU, 69-54
Player by Player
 
Duke Dominates USC, 75-50
The Nutshell
Previewing USC at Duke
By Rob Clough
November 14, 2010

Michael Cooper and the Trojans Return to Cameron


University of Southern California -- Monday November 15, 7:00 PM, Cameron Indoor Stadium

2010 Snapshot: 19-12, 12-6 PAC 10

Last Meeting: 12/6/09 Duke Escapes USC (Again), 78-72

Current Records: Duke 1-0; USC 1-0

DWHoops File Photo by Orin Day
USC Head Coach Michael Cooper compared senior Ashley Corral to Magic Johnson after last year's game in Cameron.
USC Head Coach Michael Cooper compared senior Ashley Corral to Magic Johnson after last year's game in Cameron.

Significant Losses: The Women of Troy lost three important seniors. Forward Aarika Huges averaged 7 ppg, 5 rpg and 34% from three. Guard Heather Oliver was a long-range specialist, putting up 7 ppg and shooting 38% from three. She hit 4 threes against Duke last year. Hailey Dunham didn't play well against Duke but did average 5 ppg and 5 rpg.

Who's Coming Back: USC returns their top three scorers, led by sharpshooting guard Ashley Corral. She burned Duke with 7 treys on her way to 26 points in Cameron last season, where she averaged 15 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 5 apg. Corral averaged 36% from long range, and she will once again be a difficult cover. Guards Briana Gilbreath and Jacki Gemelos also return. Gemelos wasn't healthy when USC played Duke (this former top-ranked recruit has a long, unfortunate history with injuries), but she's healthy now and managed to play in 11 games last year, averaging 8 ppg and 4 rpg. Kari LaPlante returns to the pivot after averaging 7 ppg and 5 rpg. Forward Christina Marinacci will likely step into a starter's role after putting up 6 ppg and 4 rpg.

The Skinny: USC has been hit hard by injuries over the past couple of years, a fact that's prevented them from making the NCAA tournament. That said, there is plenty of talent here, including a couple of talented freshmen. USC played one of the country's toughest schedules last year, losing to Xavier, Gonzaga, Rutgers and NC State while beating Texas and Mississippi State. A five game slide in early February essentially killed their postseason chances. The Women of Troy were mostly a perimeter shooting club that mixed it up with attacking the basket. Utilizing three guards, a wing and a center, they penetrated and forced defenses to collapse on penetration, allowing wide-open shots off of passes. The key to beating them is to rotate as quickly as possible to the open shooter, because USC so seldom looked inside for scores that it became more important to jam shooters.

USC likes a slow tempo, halfcourt game. They don't have a lot of players who can run, but they will score quickly on their secondary break if you're not careful. With their lack of size, they're not a great rebounding team nor very good at defense. The key to beating them is patience. Pound the ball inside, go after offensive rebounds, force tempo when possible but beware of trapping too much, and be careful with the ball. Two days after playing a team filled with great shooters in BYU, playing another sweet-shooting squad will be a challenge for Duke.

USC played an exhibition game wherein frosh Cassie Harberts started ahead of Gilbreath and played well, scoring 14 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Frosh guard Len'Nique Brown scored 11 points and had 6 rebounds. Marinacci played well as a starter with 17 points, while Gemelos, LaPlante and Corral were their usual solid selves. The Women of Troy scored an upset against #22 Gonzaga in their home opener, as Harberts scored 16, Gilbreath had 21 & 10 rebounds (starting alongside Harberts), Gemelos 11 and Marinacci had 16 & 10 rebounds. Of note, Stephanie Gilbreath played after dealing with her own injury problems, albeit for just five minutes. USC gave the lion's share of minutes to just six players as coach Michael Cooper massaged foul trouble. USC held big advantages in rebounding and shooting; the game was only close because they committed 24 turnovers and missed 11 free throws. Duke has to apply selective pressure and keep them off the line. Their forwards will have much more trouble scoring on Duke than they did Gonzaga, so Duke can't give them easy shots.

   
  • Corral getting any open shots.
 




Fun Fact: In last year's postgame press conference USC Head Coach Michael Cooper chastised a local reporter for not having any questions for him.

We will see Monday night if his creativity in opening statements has improved since his subsequent visit to UCLA.
 




Duke Knocks Off BYU, 69-54
Player by Player
 
Duke Dominates USC, 75-50
The Nutshell

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