SDSU to take on USC at home

by Logan Burns

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Backcourt
Aztecs: Led by Mountain West Conference Player of the Week Courtney Clements, the Aztec backcourt has proven to be the driving force behind the Aztecs’ early success this season. Clements averages 17.6 points a game, while senior point guard Chelsea Hopkins averages 10 points per game. But Hopkins’ specialty is getting the ball to teammates. She averages five assists per game. The two lead the team in scoring.
Trojans: USC also has a solid pair of scorers at the guard positions. Sophomore guard Ariya Crook leads all guards in scoring with 14.3 points per game and freshman guard Jordan Adams, who is averaging eight points per game. USC builds its offensive game plans mostly around its centers and forwards, resulting in both Crook and Adams averaging around three assists per game.

Edge: Aztecs

Frontcourt
Aztecs: Sophomore forward Erimma Amarikwa is tied for second on the team in scoring with 10 points per game and creates balance between the presence of Clements and Hopkins. She provides a dominant inside force, averaging 6.8 rebounds per game. The Aztecs have a strong presence in senior forward Malia Nahinu, who averages 5.6 points per game. These two provide an even perimeter and paint attack for the Aztec offense.
Trojans: The leading scorer of the team is junior forward Cassie Harberts, who averages 17.4 points per game. Harberts matches up nicely against the Aztecs’ Amarikwa.

Edge: Even

Intangibles
Aztecs: The Aztecs are playing at home against USC following a loss to the University of Colorado, Boulder on Friday. The way the Aztecs respond will show their mental toughness and ability to come back against a premier Pacific-12 school. Look for Clements to provide spacing around the floor. If Clements plays a good game, the Aztecs could win this game handily.
Trojans: The edge the Trojans could have against the Aztecs is their presence down low in the paint. Harberts has been dominant thus far in the season. If she outduels Amarikwa, this game could be close, depending on the Trojans guard play.

Edge: Aztecs

Coaching
Aztecs: Head coach Beth Burns has taken the Aztecs to new heights in her eighth season, accumulating three trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2012. She also reached one Sweet 16 in the 2009-10 season and groomed superstars such as Clements and former center Paris Johnson.
Trojans: USC’s head coach Michael Cooper, spent time as the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Cooper collected a .622 winning percentage in four seasons at USC.

Edge: Aztecs

Prediction
Aztecs 60, Trojans 51

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