Winners of the women’s Pac-12 basketball tournament, the USC Trojans earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament and will face No. 8 St. John’s at 3:30 p.m. PT in Knoxville, Tenn.
Under first-year coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, the Trojans finished 22-12 and won their first Pac-12 title.
It will be the 16th trip to the tournament for the Women of Troy, who have momentum, riding a six-game winning streak, which includes an upset win over conference power Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.
Ariya Crook and Cassie Harberts are each averaging over 15 points per game and one of them has led the Trojans in scoring in four of the last five games.
The Red Storm finished the regular season 1-4 in their final five games and reached the Big East championship game, which they lost to DePaul.
Aliyyah Handord averages 16.2 points per game for the Red Storm, who are looking to improve on their first-round exit in 2013 tournament.
For the Trojans, it’s their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006, when they advanced to the second round.
Though they’ve been largely absent from the tournament, the Women of Troy do hold the edge over the Red Storm with respect to their career record in the big dance, boasting 29 wins to just six from the Red Storm.
Should the Trojans advance to the second round, it could mean a matchup with powerhouse Tennessee, who will have the added benefit of playing on their home court.