Short-handed USC rolls past LMU; UCLA’s game against Cal State Fullerton postponed
With All-Pac-12 performer Alissa Pili sidelined because of an undisclosed injury, freshman Amaya Oliver led the USC women’s basketball team to an 85-55 win over Loyola Marymount in the season opener for both teams Wednesday at Galen Center.
Oliver, a 6-foot-2 forward from Stockton, had 17 points and 16 rebounds. She made six of 10 shots and five of eight free throws with two steals and one block.
“She plays so freaking hard all the time,” Trojans coach Mark Trakh said. “That’s her special skill. Playing hard is a skill and she plays really, really hard.”
Redshirt freshman Madison Campbell had 19 points after missing last season because of an injury. Junior guard Desiree Caldwell had a career-high seven assists with 13 points and sophomore Endiya Rogers had 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. The balanced effort helped USC’s seven-player rotation outlast an LMU team that had just six players.
Along with Pili, who was last year’s Pac-12 freshman of the year, USC was without graduate transfer Jordan Sanders and guard Shalexxus Aaron. Trakh did not elaborate on the status of Sanders and Aaron, but said both were expected to return in the coming weeks.
Pili’s injury could hold her out “for a while,” Trakh said. Sophomore guard Alyson Miura and freshmen Zayla Tinner and Jordyn Jenkins were also not active for the Trojans.
The Lions were so desperate for depth that they suited up Morgan DeBord, a freshman on the school’s softball team. Six LMU players stepped on the court and every starter played at least 35 minutes.
Guard Nicole Rodriguez (six points, nine rebounds) and center Khari Clark (12 points, eight rebounds) went the full 40. Meghan Mandel and Ciera Ellington led the Lions with 13 points each.
The Trojans go from an outnumbered LMU team straight into Pac-12 play. Their next game is at Arizona State on Dec. 4. “Regardless of what happened today, reality hits us in another two weeks,” Trakh said.
UCLA’s opener against Cal State Fullerton at Pauley Pavilion was postponed because of delays in receiving COVID-19 test results for the Titans, according to UCLA. The game has been rescheduled for Friday.
There was an 80-minute delay before the game was called Wednesday. Fullerton was awaiting results from tests conducted last Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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