Women of Troy head north for tournament

first_imgThe Women of Troy are set in Seattle for the beginning of the Pac-12 tournament. USC is the eighth seed in the tournament and will be facing the ninth-seeded Washington State on Thursday night.The Trojans (18-12, 6-12) and the Cougars (14-15, 5-13) split their season series during the regular season with each team protecting its home court. In Pullman, the Women of Troy fell 61-73 but pulled off a two-point win 64-62 at home in the middle of February.The win was USC’s last having gone 0-4 since defeating WSU. The Trojans fell on the road to both Oregon schools and were defeated at home by both Arizona schools to finish the season. USC matched its best start in program history after going 12-0, even earning the NCAA’s award for Team of the Week when they hit the 9-0 mark in December.If the Women of Troy beat WSU in the first round, they will play top-seed Oregon State. The Beavers, who were awarded a first-round bye, are the No. 8 team in the country and have a 25-4 record.If the Trojans are to have a successful run in the tournament, they will need to channel its mentality from two years ago. In 2014, USC brought home their first ever conference title in coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke’s first season. The Women of Troy were the No. 5 seed that season and became the first team in tournament history to have to play four games during the four-day event as well as the first team to win all four.Last season the Trojans came into the tournament as a No. 8 seed and were upset in the first round by No. 9-seeded Colorado.This year, the Women of Troy are No. 58 in the country in RPI. The high point of the season was a 71-68 win over then-No. 15 UCLA in early January. The Trojans broke into the national rankings at No. 25 after the win but fell out again by the end of January.Two key players heading into the tournament are senior forward Temi Fagbenle and junior guard Courtney Jaco. Earlier in the week Fagbenle was named first-team All Pac-12 and Jaco earned Honorable Mention honors.Fagbenle is shooting 52 percent from the field and is averaging 14 points per game to go along with nine rebounds per game.  Fagbenle ranks No. 50 in the country in field goal percentage and No. 55 in total rebounds after grabbing 254 over the course of the season.Jaco is the Trojans 3-point specialist and she is averaging just under 10 points a game scoring. She leads the team in threes made this season with 66, a new career-high for her. The number is also good enough to land her at fifth on the list of most threes made in a season by a USC player.Defense is something that the Women of Troy have been strong in over the course of the season, and it will need to continue as long as they hope to keep their postseason hopes alive. USC gives up just 58 points a game and is 14th in the country in steals averaging over 10 a game. The Trojans are also forcing their opponents into nearly 20 turnovers a game.The first round matchup is slated for tipoff at 6 p.m. from Key Arena in Seattle. The Pac-12 Network will broadcast the first three rounds of the tournament and the championship game on Sunday will be televised on ESPN.last_img