Women’s basketball looks to keep the ball rolling Sunday

Senior guard Mariya Moore prepares to shoot against UC Riverside. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

Following a victory in its home opener against UC Riverside on Tuesday, the women’s basketball team will play Long Beach State on Sunday.

The Trojans have won their last eight games against Long Beach State, which leads the all-time series record, 28-24.

Against UC Riverside, junior guard Minyon Moore led the team with 16 points, 12 points and seven assists, and will be a contributing factor against the 49ers.

Moore emphasized key parts of her game that — with practice — will improve the team throughout the season.

“Less turnovers and being a good passer to my shooters,” she said after Tuesday’s victory.

Transfers Cydnee Kinslow, Sydney Boronaro and Justina King that will be making their debut for Long Beach State against the Trojans, after a home opener on Friday against Cal Baptist.

First-year head coach Jeff Cammon leads the 49ers. Cammon has taken over a program that was 8-23 overall and 6-10 in the Big West, having lost in the first round of the Big West Tournament to UC Riverside.

This is head coach Mark Trakh’s second year leading the Women of Troy. The Trojans were 20-11 and 9-9 in Pac-12 play, but the team’s season ended in the first round of the 2018 Pac-12 tournament after a loss to Cal.

After the win against the Highlanders, Trakh applauded his players’ effort, but cautioned that the team needs to continue building chemistry.

“We’ve got to get better,” Trakh said.  “We’re trying to fit new pieces together. It will be a process, and the kids have to stay patient through the process.”

One of the essential components of building chemistry is improving defense, Moore said after the win on Tuesday.

“It’s a new group so sometimes you try to help too much [on defense],” Moore said. “We just have to keep our man in front of us. That’s what we’re taught in practice.”

With a number of new transfers coming into the season, Trakh continued to embrace experimentation with lineups to allow the players to grow together.

“You’ve got to experiment and see who can do what and [which] combinations fit together,” Trakh said. “Experience is big in this. We have to get them where we get them experience and get them playing together.”

After losing leading scorer Kristen Simon to graduation, the Trojans will rely on upperclassman Aliyah Mazyck and transfers Cheyanne Wallace, Kayla Overbeck and Mariya Moore.

Though Mazyck did not play the home opener for undisclosed reasons, Trakh praised the senior guard as one of the “best players in the Pac-12.” Mazyck is USC’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made in a season, a feat she accomplished last season with 86 in 31 games.

Mariya Moore, a senior and the older sister of sophomore Minyon Moore, was the Trojans’ second leading scorer against UC Riverside with 11 points, five assists and two rebounds.

“It’s good,” Minyon Moore said about playing her first collegiate game with her sister Mariya, who transferred from the University of Louisville at the end of the 2016-17 season. “It’s not really anything different; we’ve always played with each other.”

Mariya Moore averaged 12 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists in her final season with the Cardinals, helping them advance to the Sweet Sixteen in 2017.

“These two are going to have a good year,” Trakh said.

The 49ers’ leading scorer is guard Shanaijah Davison, who led LBSU with 13.8 points a game and was a member of the Big West All-Freshman team.

The two unranked teams will face off in Walter Pyramid at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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