The Women of Troy started their season on a high note with an 85-55 win over the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Lions. USC shot at 46.3 percent and capitalized off of 20 LMU turnovers.
Redshirt freshman guard Madison Campbell led USC with 19 points and freshman Amaya Oliver scored her first collegiate double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
For Campbell, this is her first time competing since she sustained a back injury last season.
“I was grinding, pushing to heal fast,” Campbell said. “Then as soon as the quarantine hit, that gave me the opportunity to get extra work in, get extra workouts.”
The USC players choose to stay in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem. Due to COVID-19 protocols, there was no fans in attendance. However, this did not affect the Women of Troy. Head coach Mark Trakh told the team to focus on their love for the game.
“Coming into my first game, I think not having fans relieved a little pressure, so I wasn’t too mad about that,” Oliver said. “It’s like playing a pick-up and I just was dialed into the game.”
After the first timeout, the Women of Troy found their scoring rhythm. Campbell hit a fast break layup to put USC on the scoreboard. LMU sophomore guard Ciera Ellington responded with a driving layup of her own. USC executed a series of consecutive three-point shots, their frontcourt kept possessions alive and cleaned up plays.
The Women of Troy went into the second quarter with an eight point lead, they continued to best the Lions box defense. Junior guard Desiree Caldwell landed free throws and Oliver went on a six-point run to create a double-digit lead.
“I was nervous coming in,” Oliver said. “But soon as tip off went off, my adrenaline started rushing and I just started playing the game.”
LMU found a six-point run when the Women of Troy went cold for the last two minutes of the first half, but USC still had the upper hand with a 41-28 lead going into halftime.
Oliver was one point away from a double-double at this point and the team had 10 assists. Trakh noted that USC did not force many shots during the matchup.
“We emphasized moving the ball, extra pass, one more pass,” he said. “We want that fine line between running out our screen and roll and moving the ball.”
LMU scored the most points out of any quarter during the third with 18 points. Ellington battled against the Women of Troy with a variety of shots, ultimately scoring 13 points during the contest.
Forwards Khari Clark and Meghan Mandel also found ways to challenge USC while making rebounds.
“We’ve had a lot of shorter guards try to handle their bigs and they did a nice job,” Trakh said. “But I was really happy the way [USC] fought.”
The Lions got within 12 points of the Women of Troy, but USC scored a seven-point run. By the end of the third quarter, USC was ahead by 16 points.
To close out the game, the Women of Troy held LMU to nine points while scoring 23 during the fourth. Sophomore center Angel Jackson scored 10 points in the timeframe, ending the afternoon with 13 points. Sophomore guard Endyia Rogers racked up eight fourth-quarter points, scoring 15 points during the game.
The Women of Troy will travel to clash against the Arizona State Sun Devils on December 4 at 1:00P.M.