Women's Basketball Opens Season On The Road

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Nov. 13, 2001

This Week
Friday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. EST
USC at Saint Joseph's

Sunday, Nov. 18, at 3 p.m. EST
USC at No. 2 Tennessee
Listen to the game live on www.utladyvols.com.

The Facts
USC women's basketball opens the 2001-02 season on the road with games against Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia, Pa., on Friday (Nov. 16) at 7 p.m. EST and second-ranked Tennessee on Sunday (Nov. 18) in Knoxville, Tenn., at 3 p.m. EST. The USC-Tennessee game can be heard live via the internet at www.utladyvols.com.

The USC women's basketball team, which ended the 2001 season on a four-game win streak, looks to carry its late-season momentum into 2002. Under fifth-year head coach Chris Gobrecht, the Women of Troy return nine letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad which posted a 13-15 overall record and 8-10 mark in the Pac-10 to finish tied for sixth place. In the final month of the 2001 season, USC managed to defeat Cal and Stanford on the road and Washington (which one week later would begin a run to the NCAA Elite Eight) and Washington State at home. This season, USC will look to All-American candidate Ebony Hoffman, fellow sophomores Aisha Hollans and Jessica Cheeks and senior three-year starter Tiffany Elmore to make the difference.

Exhibition Game Results
vs. 'Love & Basketball'
- Behind 22 points from freshman center Kim Gipson, USC easily defeated Love & Basketball, 86-61, in its first exhibition game on Nov. 7. USC had six players finish in double digits, including Gipson's 10-of-13 performance. Carmen Krause led on the boards with 10. After opening with a 6-5 lead, the Women of Troy never trailed. The Trojans went on a 15-7 run with five minutes remaining in the half, then increased their lead to 22 (54-32) before entering the break with a 54-35 advantage. By holding Love & Basketball to 32.0 percent (8-25) shooting in the second half, and hitting 52.0 percent (13-25) of its own shots, USC rolled to the 86-61 victory.

vs. Team Concept - Ebony Hoffman and Aisha Hollans combined for 47 points to lead USC to a 93-63 win over Team Concept in its final exhibition game on Nov. 10. Hoffman and Hollans accounted for 23 and 24 points, respectively. Hollans hit 10-of-19 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Hoffman also led with nine assists and three blocks, while senior Carmen Krause led with nine boards. Team Concept kept it close at the start, leading 29-25 with 6:50 remaining in the half. But the Women of Troy put together a 19-0 run by forcing a series of turnovers and dropping easy layups to gain a 44-29 advantage at the two-minute mark. USC entered the break with a 48-33 lead. With a slow start to the second half, Team Concept closed the gap to 50-42 (13:29) but would come no closer. Keeping the visiting team scoreless for nearly six minutes, the Trojans led by as many as 36 points (87-51) before posting the final 93-63 win.

USC In Season Openers
USC is 21-4 all-time in season openers ... 6-4 on the road, 10-0 at home and 5-0 at neutral sites.

Last Season's Highlights
* The Women of Troy finished their season strongly, going 4-0 in the month of March.
* A freshman led the team in scoring and/or rebounding in 27 of the 28 games.
* Four of USC's nine different starters were freshmen, seven of the nine are returning.
* Ebony Hoffman became the first freshman at USC since Lisa Leslie in 1991 to lead the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg).
* Freshman Jessica Cheeks led the team in assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.8 spg).
* USC posted its first sweep in the Bay Area since 1986, its first win over Stanford since 1994 (breaking a 14-game losing streak) and its first win at Maples Pavilion since 1987.
* The Women of Troy upset three of seven ranked opponents and fell just short of defeating eventual NCAA champion Notre Dame.
* Despite finishing sixth in the conference race, the Trojans defeated each team ranked ahead of them at least once, with the exception of Arizona State.

Pac-10 Coaches Pick USC To Finish 3rd, Media Picks USC 4th
With nine votes, Stanford has been tabbed by the Pac-10 women's basketball coaches as the team to beat in 2002. Washington was voted to finish second, with the Women of Troy receiving the remaining first-place vote and selected to finish third. The predicted finish of the remaining schools according to the coaches is: 4. Arizona State, 5(tie), Arizona and Oregon, 7. Oregon State, 8(tie), Cal and UCLA, 10. Washington State.

In the media poll, Stanford was again selected to win the conference title, with Arizona State second, Washington third, USC fourth, Oregon fifth, Arizona sixth, Oregon State seventh, UCLA eighth, Cal ninth and Washington State 10th.

Ebony Hoffman was tabbed a preseason All-Pac-10 selection by the women's basketball media.

Women of Troy Receiving Votes
USC women's basketball is receiving votes in numerous preseason polls. The Trojans have been recognized by the Associated Press (23 votes for 39th place), the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 (1 vote for 61st place) and WOMENSCOLLEGEHOOPS.com (rank No. 38).

USC Readies For Difficult Schedule
USC is about to face its toughest schedule in recent years. The Trojans open the season on Nov. 16 playing Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia, Pa., then two days later face the second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers on Nov. 18 in Knoxville, Tenn. After a stop in the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam (which includes No. 13 Florida, Texas and Wisconsin) and then a couple games at home, the Women of Troy will take on another tough opponent when they face 2001 NCAA champion Notre Dame on Dec. 9 in South Bend, Ind.

Gipson Predicted To Make Big Impact
Freshman Kim Gipson was rated one of the nation's Top 21 players of impact for the upcoming season according to WOMENSCOLLEGEHOOPS.com. '...Gipson could have a major impact as she can take pressure off sophomore Ebony Hoffman and make USC nearly unstoppable down low,' states the publication.

Recruiting Class Among Top 10
The 2001-02 freshman class was ranked No. 6 among the nation's Top 10 recruiting classes according to the Women's Basketball Journal. The rank is due in large part to the expectations many have of Kim Gipson, a 6-5 center who was ranked as high as 39th by the All-Star Girl's Report as a high school senior. Rachel Woodward, a 6-foot-1 forward, is also considered to be among the nation's top 50 prep players by various recruiting publications. The WBJ Top 10 recruiting classes are: 1. Tennessee, 2. Rutgers, 3. Duke, 4. Stanford, 5. North Carolina, 6. USC, 7. Georgia, 8. LSU, 9. Arizona, 10. Florida.

Returning Honorees
Sophomore Ebony Hoffman returns as the Trojans' most decorated player of 2001. The 6-2 forward was named to the Women's Basketball Journal All-Freshman second team, All-Pac-10 honorable mention team and Pac-10 All-Freshman team. She was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Jan. 29, 2001. Sophomore guard Aisha Hollans also received Pac-10 accolades as an All-Freshman honorable mention selection.

Gone From Last Year's Team
Gone from last year's team are forward Tashara Carter (graduation), center Denise Woods (graduation), forward Tennille Grant (chose not to return to pursue her religious ministry) and guard Camille Norwood (declined final year of eligibility due to recurring injuries).

Roster Addition
As of Oct. 22, the Women of Troy have added a new player to the 2002 roster. Ashley Conrad, a 5-9 redshirt freshman walk-on from Santa Catalina High in Carmel Valley, Calif., will add greater depth to the guard position. Conrad was a four-year letterwinner at Santa Catalina and averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and five assists as a senior. She was a three-time All-Mission Trail Athletic League (CCS) selection (as a sophomore, junior and senior) and was named to the all-county team as a junior and senior. Conrad will wear the No. 5.

Head Coach Chris Gobrecht
Chris Gobrecht enters her fifth season at the helm of the USC women's basketball program. Replacing former head coach Fred Williams on May 8, 1997, Gobrecht returned to her alma mater to help guide the Women of Troy back to national prominence. Throughout 22 years of head coaching experience, Gobrecht has amassed a 380-267 (.587) career record with her programs at Cal State Fullerton (six years), Washington (11), Florida State (one) and USC. During her 11-year tenure at Washington, she was twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1987 and 1988). Gobrecht remains the second-winningest coach in conference history with a 160-92 (.635) mark and she ranks 34th among active Division I coaches with 380 career victories.

Opponent Notes

Saint Joseph's -- Saint Joseph's returns 12 letterwinners and four starters from last year's squad which posted a 15-13 overall record and 9-7 mark in the Atlantic 10 conference to finish fifth in the East Division. Head Coach Cindy Anderson enters her first season at the helm of the Hawks program. The team is expected to be led by top returning starter Susan Moran, who averaged 22.6 points and 7.4 boards per game last season. In exhibition play, Saint Joseph's defeated the New York Gazelles, 115-46, and USA Select, 120-67. Moran and guard Colleen McGahan led the team in scoring in each of the games with 20 points apiece against the Gazelles and 20 and 29 points against USA Select, respectively.

USC-Saint Joseph's Series Record -- USC and Saint Joseph's have only met twice in program history. The Trojans have won both meetings, including a 66-55 victory over the Hawks last season at the Sports Arena on Nov. 26.

Saint Joseph's Probable Starters
No. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg

10 Susan Moran Forward 6-1 --- --- --- ---
12 Amra Mehmedic Forward 5-8 --- --- --- ---
23 Jane Meade Guard 5-8 --- --- --- ---
31 Colleen McGahan Guard 6-0 --- --- --- ---
50 Stephanie Graff Center 6-2 --- --- --- ---

No. 2 Tennessee -- Under 28th-year head coach Pat Summitt, the Tennessee Lady Vols are prepared for another run at a national title, ranked a preseason No. 2 by the AP and the ESPN/USA Today polls. The team returns 10 letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad which advanced to the NCAA Mideast Regional Final and posted a 31-3 overall record and 15-1 mark in the Southeastern Conference for the conference title. The Volunteers feature returning All-American Michelle Snow (11.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg), plus Gwen Jackson (11.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Kara Lawson (11.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg). In its only exhibition game, Tennessee defeated Remus Austria Power, 108-69. Snow led the team in scoring with 22 points, while freshman Shyra Ely led on the boards with eight rebounds. The Lady Vols will face Tennessee-Chattanooga on Friday (Nov. 16) before Sunday's game.

USC-Tennessee Series Record -- USC owns a 7-6 all-time record against the Lady Vols. The last time the two teams met was Dec. 22, 1989. Playing in Los Angeles, Tennessee defeated USC 87-53.

Tennessee Probable Starters
No. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg

00 Michelle Snow Center 6-5 --- --- --- ---
3 Tasha Butts Forward 5-11 --- --- --- ---
10 April McDivitt Guard 5-7 --- --- --- ---
20 Kara Lawson Guard 5-9 --- --- --- ---
43 Shyra Ely Forward 6-2 --- --- --- ---

Player Profiles

#3 Tiffany Elmore (Guard * Senior)
This Season:
Tiffany Elmore begins her senior season with the Women of Troy... A player who brings life to the team both on and off the court... A talented and athletic player who will be looked upon to make great contributions in her final season... A returning starter on the perimeter and two-time All-Pac-10 selection (honorable mention 1999 and 2000).

#5 Ashley Conrad (Guard * Freshman)
This Season:

Ashley Conrad begins her first season with the Women of Troy as a redshirt freshman... Enrolled at USC in the spring of 2001 and was named to the Dean's List ... A walk-on who will add depth at the guard position.

#10 Jessica Cheeks (Guard * Sophomore)
This Season:

Jessica Cheeks begins her second season with the Women of Troy... Was moved into the point guard position last season... Became a great asset for the team to have her size and agility at the point... A returning starter.

#14 Carmen Krause (Forward * Senior)
This Season:

Carmen Krause returns for her senior season with the Women of Troy... An important inspirational leader who motivates the team with the same heart she plays with... An outstanding defender who will be relied upon for her toughness in the post.

#15 Lauren Smith-Hams (Guard * Junior)
This Season:

Lauren Smith-Hams begins her junior season with the Women of Troy... Was quieter off the bench as a sophomore, but maintained a strong level of defense... A significant scoring threat who will fight for her position on the court.

#21 Erin Young (Guard/Forward * Junior)
This Season:

Erin Young enters her junior season with the Women of Troy as a walk-on guard... Her shooting abilities are crucial to the team... Looks to become more explosive after a quiet sophomore campaign.

#23 Aisha Hollans (Guard * Sophomore)
This Season:

Aisha Hollans begins her second season with the Women of Troy... One of the most gifted guards in the conference who had a difficult time last season while recovering from an early season injury... An important player to have on the court at all times... A returning starter on the perimeter and returning All-Pac-10 selection (freshman honorable mention).

#24 Ryane Alexander (Guard * Sophomore)
This Season:

Ryane Alexander begins her second season with the Women of Troy... Proven to be a hard-nosed player with great intensity and toughness... Possesses a great sense of commitment to running the offense... Looks to develop consistency with experience.

#32 Ebony Hoffman (Forward * Sophomore)
This Season:

Ebony Hoffman enters her second season with the Women of Troy... One of the most dominating post players in the conference who had an outstanding freshman campaign... Underwent shoulder surgery this March and looks to be a healthier and more experienced player this season... A returning starter in the post who earned All-Pac-10 (honorable mention) and a Freshman All-American (WBJ and Basketball Times) honors last season.

#33 Rachel Woodward (Forward * Freshman)
This Season:

Rachel Woodward enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A talented passer who runs the floor well... She can catch, pass and finish on the move... Will work well in transition without having to compromise her strong rebounding skills... Brings great size to the forward position.

#35 Portia Mitchell (Center * RS Sophomore)
This Season:

Portia Mitchell begins her redshirt sophomore year at USC... Her continued development will make a strong impact on the team... A player with good skills and great size... Continues to mature as a hard-working, responsible player.

#44 Kim Gipson (Center * Freshman)
This Season:

Kim Gipson begins her first season with the Women of Troy... A terrific, big-time physical player who will excel as her skills and understanding of the game improve... An exceptional and bright athlete whose natural skills will bring her much success... She possesses the type of demeanor a coach always wants on the floor.

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