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My notes on the USC vs. UCI women's game

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  • My notes on the USC vs. UCI women's game

    This was my first time seeing this team live since the Western Michigan game, another lop-sided victory that moved them to 3-0 to start the season. Since then they were humbled by Missouri State, got a win over The Hall and had a disasterous 4th quarter to lose to UCF in Cancun. Their record was 4-2 going into the game against UC Irvine, but the losses were to the only good teams they played. I was anxious to see how they have adjusted and improved since the last loss.

    Galen Center was very quiet when we arrived after the national anthem of piped-in music, not a live rendition from the Trojan Basketball band. For the second time, there was no band there. The first was due to the Conquest concert / rivalry week pep rally on campus. This time, the band's absence could not be explained. My curiousity (my wife says OCD) got the best of me and I sought out Mike Bohn at halftime to first congratulate him on the Lincoln Riley hire, then to ask him about the missing band, because inquiring minds wanted to know. He answered me with "they got covid!" Mystery solved, wasted brain energy can now move on to other things.

    As the starting lineup is being introduced, I noted the absence of Desi Caldwell and Amaya Oliver from the bench. Hmm, my mind starts wondering again, no I didn't seek out a basketball staffer to find out why - haha, I was just curious. I looked forward to seeing how the WOT would do w/o their Sr PG.

    Starters: Jordyn Jenkins, Jordan Sanders, Alissa Pili, Tera Reed and Kyra White at the point.

    The Anteaters came into the game 3rd in the Big West with a record of 4-2 (wins over So Utah, Westcliff, Illiniois St, Sac St and losses to SDSU, Cal Baptist).

    From the get-go, reigning BW Coach of the Year Tamara Inoue had UCI swarming on defense, pressing and trapping all over the court and it gave the Trojans fits. They had trouble advancing the ball up the court against the pressure, and the PG issues were again on display. Kyra White was not the answer and had several turnovers, finishing with 4 TOs, 2 assists and 1 steal in a career-high 24 minutes. She scored 6 pts (2-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-2 FT), but didn't really settle down until the second half. This went for the entire WOT team, who though more talented on paper, went into the half down 40-36 to an aggressive UCI squad. Coach Inoue was masterful in having her team keep up the pressure throughout, by continuously running in fresh bodies, who went all out until they were subbed. They used their depth to fatigue the Trojans.

    In the second half, the Trojans took the lead and put the game away down the stretch, winning 78-69 to move to 5-2 on the season.

    The WOT were outshot from the field by UCI 43% to 39%, but were better at the line 22-26 (85%) to 10-13 (77%) - maybe they can show the men's team how they do it? They outrebounded UCI 42-33, had more steals 13-7 and less TOs 13-18.

    The star of the game was Jordyn Jenkins with a career high 24 pts on 8-12 FG, 8-10 FT. She had 7 rebs, 4 blocks, 3 steals, 2 assists and no fouls or TOs - Impressive performance.

    Rayah Marshall off the bench scored 15 pts (6-16 FG, 3-4 FT), but left a lot of points out there by failing to finish at the rim. She added 6 rebs, 2 blocks, 2 steals. She needs to be more consistent, both in her shooting and her effort. She can be so much better than she is showing by playing with more energy.

    Jordan Sanders was her steady self, the most athletic player on the court and had 13 pts (5-14 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-2 FT), 6 rebs and 5 steals but she turned the ball over twice and had 4 PFs. She is a reliable scorer and defender who always brings the energy.

    Tera Reed was pretty much a non-factor in the first half, she was so passive that I wondered why she was even on the court. This was not the player I saw vs. WMU, nor in highlights from VCU. She stepped it up in the second half and ended with 9 pts, 5 rebs, 4 assists and a steal. She needs to turn it up as well.

    Pili was MIA, I 'm not sure why, is she playing injured? She seemed slow in her moves around the basket and scored only 7 pts, shooting 1-7 FG, 1-2 3FG, 4-4 FT). She did get 6 boards. She is just a shadow of her former self and the team needs her to pick up her game.

    Alyson Miura played PG in relief of White, but also could not handle the UCI pressure, turning the ball over 3 times. She scored only 1 3-pt basket in 20 minutes, but had 5 assists. She is at her best when able to catch and shoot the 3, which she was prevented from doing today.

    Our bigs Jackson and Akunwafo played minimal minutes, with Angel getting 3 rebs and 1 pt in 8 minutes and Clarice scoreless in 5 minutes. Madison Campbell played a token 2 minutes.

    The WOT have 4 winnable games upcoming (USF, CSUN, Texas Southern, LBSU), before Pac-12 play starts with ucla and Arizona. There are really no easy conference wins and the WOT will be hardpressed to better their preseason rank of 9th in the PAC-12. Coach Gottlieb has to step up as well.