The USC women's basketball team went to Anchorage, Alaska and came away from last week's Great Alaska Shootout with a championship after defeating Missouri State, 89-67, and Portland by 13 points in the title game.
The Trojans beat Portland, 67-54, on Wednesday but lost something much, much more valuable when redshirt senior Jordan Adams went down with a knee injury early in the first quarter.
Adams apparently was injured after being hit on each side by a defender. The normally resilient Adams did not immediately get up, signaling to the bench that something was wrong. Adams came out of the game after playing just four minutes and did not return. An MRI later revealed that she tore her anterior cruciate ligament and will be out the rest of the season.
Heading into the Portland game, Adams was averaging 11 points per game while shooting an outstanding 55.2 percent from the field, including knocking down three of her five 3-pointers. She also is the Trojans' leading free throw shooter, making nine of her 11 attempts (81.8 percent).
But the Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei product isn't just a scorer. She was averaging 6.8 rebounds per game and had six blocks and five steals in the first four games. A 6-foot-1 ball handler, Adams had the ability to play anywhere on the floor, bringing the ball up the court and initiating the offense on one possession and working with her back to the basket in the post on the next.
"Jordan plays the 1, 2, 3, 4. She's our glue. She's our leader," USC head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. "She can shoot. She can penetrate, pass, so it's a huge loss for us. We lost her last year and you see kind of how it affected us. I mean I think we're going to be able to bounce back, but it's definitely a huge loss."
Adams started 12 games for the Women of Troy last season. She was averaging 12.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and more than a block and steal per game. The team was a perfect 12-0 with her in the lineup, but she missed four games with injury and later was deemed academically ineligible, along with fellow guard Briana Barrett, for the final 16 games of the season. USC was 7-13 without her.
Her freshman season, Adams received a medical hardship waiver due to a less severe knee injury. She played in eight games before being shut down and being unable to return. Having already used her redshirt season, Adams could petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility due to medical hardship and would have a good case to return next year.
With Adams out, USC will need to get more production from veterans Sadie Edwards and Alexis Lloyd and must rely more heavily on young guards Valerie Higgins and Minyon Moore.
"Someone is definitely going to have to step up and fill in the void that was left when Jordan was injured," Cooper-Dyke said. "Someone is going to have to step up their game. It can be a combination of players and I think we have the talent to do it. We're just young in those areas."
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