USC Basketball Programs Look Good So Far
December 17, 2015
By Myke Williams
The season is still early but the USC men and women basketball teams are a combined 18-3 to start the 2015-16 season.
The women are 9-0 and the men have a record of 9-3 but the biggest hurdle the Trojans face will be when Pac-12 play starts in a few weeks. All of the men and women teams in the Pac-12 are very competitive this season.
The women, who are coached by former USC star Cynthia Cooper, host their own holiday tournament this weekend starting tonight when they face Florida A&M at 6 p.m. at the Galen Center on the USC campus. The second game of the Women of Troy Classic will be Albany against UC Davis at 8 p.m. The loser of the first two games will play Sunday at 1 p.m. and the winners will face each other at 3 p.m.
Cooper brings the same intensity as a coach as she did when she played. Regardless of the score she is up instructing players and talking to the officials. “I don’t want our team to relax,” said Cooper last Sunday after the Trojans beat Long State 69-43. “I don’t ever want our team to leave anything on the table no matter what the score is. We have to be consistent if we expect to be ready for Pac-12 play.”
Last Sunday USC was led by guard Jordan Adams and center/forward Temi Fagbenle. Adams scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had four assists and three blocks and in the front court Fagbenle grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 13 points.
“The chemistry is good on this team,” said Fagbenle. “We need to buy into what coach Cooper is saying. We all need to take advantage of her experience. She brings energy every single game. If the team is down she is up.”
On Monday the Trojan men will host Southern Illinois University at 8 p.m. and Lafayette at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Galen Center. The Trojans have a deep roster this year but their best player is probably freshman Bennis Boatwright. The 6’10 freshman can play all five positions on the court and he is an excellent three-point shooter. Add 6’11 freshman Chimezie Metu from Lawndale High and you have a team that can play big and small ball.
“The players are better than last year, “ said USC head coach Andy Enfield last week. “We are young but we have experience. We are doing a better job of communicating and we know we can compete with any team but we just need to be more consistent. We are not a great team right now but we are a good team.”
The UCLA basketball programs are also off to a solid start. The men are 8-3 and the women have a record of 5-2. The men travel to North Carolina on Saturday to face the Tar Heels at 10 a.m. on CBS and return on Tuesday to play McNesse State at 8 p.m.
The Bruin women will be on the road their next two games when they face Sacramento State tonight at 7 p.m. and UCLA opens Pac-12 play on Monday against California at 6 p.m.
The USC and UCLA women’s volleyball teams were eliminated from the NCAA tournament last weekend.