Women's Hoops To Host Morgan State, Then Travel To Paradise Jam

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Nov. 20, 2001

This Week's Games
Wednesday, Nov. 21
vs. Morgan State at 6 p.m. (Sports Arena)
Listen to the game live on www.usctrojans.com.

Saturday, Nov. 24
at Paradise Jam
vs. No. 13 Florida at 4 p.m. AST (Noon PST)

Sunday, Nov. 25
at Paradise Jam
vs. Texas/Wisconsin at 6:30/9 p.m. AST (2:30/5 p.m. PST)

The Facts
The USC women's basketball team (0-2) is looking to bounce back from two difficult season-opening road losses with its first home game of the 2001-02 season on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. against Morgan State (0-2). The USC-Morgan State game can be heard live via the internet at www.usctrojans.com. Following the game, the Women of Troy hit the road again, traveling to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam, which features No. 13 Florida (1-0), Texas (0-0), Wisconsin (1-0) and USC. The two-day tournament begins with a USC-Florida match-up on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 4 p.m. AST (Atlantic Standard Time is one hour past Eastern Standard Time). On Sunday, Nov. 25, the Women of Troy face either the Longhorns or Badgers at 6:30 or 9 p.m. AST. USC opened the 2001-02 season with a 81-72 loss at Saint Joseph's on Friday (Nov. 16) and a 106-66 loss at second-ranked Tennessee on Sunday (Nov. 18).

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.

Previous Game Results
at No. 2 Tennessee
- Aisha Hollans tied a career high with 26 points and freshman Rachel Woodward contributed 16, but it wasn't enough as second-ranked Tennessee defeated the Women of Troy, 106-66, on Sunday (Nov. 18) in front of 8,105 at UT's Thompson-Boling Arena. The Trojans started three sophomores and two freshmen against the Lady Volunteers. Aside from the contributions of Hollans and Woodward, Portia Mitchell displayed a strong performance in the post by collecting a career-high three blocks. Tennessee jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the first four minutes, and USC got as close as 20-12 with 9:07 left in the first half after Hollans made a three-point play. Then the Lady Vols started to stretch their lead with quick offense and aggressive defense. After Hollans had one free throw to make it 33-19 with 5:55 remaining before halftime, Tennessee went on a 15-0 run. With a 55.7 percent shooting effort, the Lady Vols continued to build on their lead before securing the 106-66 final score. Tennessee's 106 points were the third-most an opponent has ever scored against the Women of Troy and the Vols were the first team to reach 100 points since USC fell to Stanford on Feb. 6, 1997, 103-69.

at Saint Joseph's - Despite a second-half comeback effort, USC fell to Saint Joseph's, 81-72, in the season-opener on Friday (Nov. 16). The Trojans were led by Aisha Hollans, who posted 21 points, and Ebony Hoffman, who added 16 of her final 17 points all in the second half. The Hawks accumulated a 17-point lead (42-25) in the first half due to a barrage of points in the paint by Susan Moran as USC went without a field goal for nearly six minutes. Hollans' three pointer with seconds left on the clock put an end to the USC scoring drought and the Women of Troy entered the break down 42-28. Four minutes into the second half, USC turned the table on the Hawks. The Women of Troy went on a 22-0 run that would see them take their first and largest lead of the game (57-51). USC kept Saint Joseph's from scoring for six minutes and forced six consecutive Hawk turnovers, while hitting an array of three-pointers for a dramatic change in momentum. But, the Hawks slowly crept back into the lead, 67-66 (4:52), after a few missed USC shots. The game remained close but with just 0:45 left on the clock, and up by four (74-70), SJU's Moran drove the length of the court and hit a layup that seemed to seal to win for the Hawks.

Injury Report
Senior Tiffany Elmore did not play against Tennessee (Nov. 18) due to a mild neck sprained she sustained against Saint Joseph's (Nov. 16) with 15:31 remaining in the second half. She is listed as day-to-day.

USC In Openers
USC is 23-2 all-time in home openers... its only two losses have been to San Diego State (67-66) on Dec. 6, 1995, and UNLV (82-78) on Dec. 23, 1988.

The Trojans' loss to Saint Joseph's was only their fifth ever defeat in a season opener... USC also lost last season's opener at Creighton, 69-58 (Nov. 17, 2000)... USC is now 21-5 all-time in season openers ... 6-5 on the road, 10-0 at home and 5-0 at neutral sites.

Youth Takes The Court For USC
Against Tennessee (Nov. 18), the Women of Troy started two freshmen and three sophomores. That starting lineup had an average age of 19 (18.8 to be specific).

Players Already Surpassing Career Highs
In only the first two games of the season, USC players have already started outdoing their personal career records:
Against Saint Joseph's:
Jessica Cheeks surpassed a career high by collecting seven assists (previous record - 6) against SJU and tied a career high by grabbing seven rebounds and hitting 1-of-1 three pointers (1.000)... Ebony Hoffman set a career high with three, 3-pointers (previous record - 1) and tied a personal best with 16 field goal attempts and three, 3-point field goal attempts... Aisha Hollans set new career records with 18 field goal attempts (previous record - 17) and 10, 3-point field goal attempts (previous record - 7), while tying her record with three, 3-pointers made.
Against No. 2 Tennessee:
Aisha Hollans tied her career high with 26 points, broke the record she set for field goal attempts against Saint Joseph's with 24 against the Vols and set new personal records with eight free throws made (previous record - 6) and free throw attempts with nine (previous record - 7) ... Portia Mitchell surpassed her career-best mark with three blocks (previous record - 1), played a career-high 16 minutes (previous record - 8) and equaled her personal record with four points.

Pac-10 Coaches Pick USC To Finish 3rd, Media Picks USC Fourth
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.

USC Faces Difficult Schedule
USC is facing its toughest schedule in recent years. The Trojans opened the season at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia, Pa., then two days later faced 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 380-269 (.585) 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

Morgan State (0-2) -- Under third-year head coach Gerard Garlic, the Morgan State Lady Bears are coming off a 10-18 season and sixth-place finish in the MidEastern Athletic Conference with a 10-9 record. The team returns six letterwinners, including one starter, and welcomes three newcomers to the program. Last year's scoring leader and only returning starter is Sherie Cornish, who averaged 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in 2001. Morgan State began the 2002 season with an 0-2 record after falling to New Hampshire, 67-39, on Nov. 16 and Binghampton, 72-47, on Nov. 17.

USC-Morgan State Series Record -- This will be the first meeting between these two teams.

Morgan State Probable Starters
No. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg

00 Calibra Alston C 6-3 6.0 5.5 0.0 2.5
21 Sherie Cornish G 5-7 10.5 3.0 2.0 1.5
22 Zakiya Gardner F 5-10 4.0 2.0 2.5 0.0
25 Courtney Cox G 5-8 5.5 3.0 3.0 2.5
41 Chanelle Scott F 6-1 7.0 7.0 0.5 0.5

No. 13 Florida (1-0) -- 13th-ranked Florida returns only six letterwinners, including two starters from last year's squad which advanced to the second round of the NCAAs and finished the season ranked No. 14. In 2001, the Gators posted a 24-6 overall record and 11-3 conference mark to finish tied for second in the Southeastern Conference. Head coach Carol Ross enters her 12th season at the helm of the Gator program. Among the top returners are guard Brandi McCain (19.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg in 2001) and center Vanessa Hayden (10.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg). In its only game this season, Florida defeated Oakland, 84-65, on Nov. 16. Hayden led with 36 points and McCain posted 27.

USC-Florida Series Record -- USC and Florida have only faced each other once in program history. On March 17, 1997, the Gators defeated the Trojans, 92-78, in the NCAA Mideast Regional in Gainesville, Fla.

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

11 Brandi McCain G 5-3 27.0 4.0 0.0 4.0
23 Tamia Williams G 6-0 0.0 2.0 4.0 1.0
24 Courtney Cooper F 5-9 8.0 13.0 2.0 0.0
25 Monique Cardenas F 6-0 3.0 2.0 2.0 1.0
55 Vanessa Hayden C 6-4 36.0 17.0 3.0 1.0

Wisconsin (1-0) -- Wisconsin advanced to the first round of the NCAAs in 2001 after an 18-10 season and second-place finish in the Big Ten with a 12-4 conference record. The Badgers are led by eighth-year head coach Jane Albright, whose team returns three starters and seven other letterwinners and welcomes five newcomers. Returning leaders include forward Jessie Stomski (16.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg in 2001) and guards Tamara Moore (12.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Kyle Black (9.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg). In its first game of the 2002 season, Wisconsin defeated 19th-ranked Washington, 87-67. Stomski (22 points, 13 rebounds), Moore (18 points, eight assists, six steals) and Black (21 points) all finished in double figures.

USC-Wisconsin Series Record -- If USC and Wisconsin face each other at the Paradise Jam, it will mark the first-ever meeting between these two teams.

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

01 Candace Smith G 5-6 5.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
30 Tamara Moore F 5-11 18.0 1.0 8.0 6.0
32 Kyle Black G 5-11 21.0 4.0 5.0 1.0
41 Jessie Stomski F 6-3 22.0 13.0 1.0 1.0
44 Emily Ashbaugh C 6-5 4.0 6.0 1.0 1.0

Texas (0-0) -- Under 27th-year head coach Jody Conradt, the Texas Longhorns return 11 letterwinners, including four starters, from last year's squad which posted a 20-13 overall record and 7-9 conference mark. The Longhorns finished seventh in the Big 12 and did not advance into postseason play. Texas' top returners include guard Tai Dillard (10.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg in 2001) and forwards Tracy Cook (9.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Stacy Stephens (10.9 ppg, 10.3 rpg). Texas plays its first game of the 2002 season at home on Tuesday, Nov. 20, against BYU.

USC-Texas Series Record -- USC and Texas faced each other consistently through the 80s, but have not met since the Trojans defeated the Longhorns, 88-77, in the season opener in Los Angeles on Nov. 25, 1990. Since the first meeting on Feb. 11, 1980, Texas has compiled a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series.

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

3 Kaira White G 5-7 -- -- -- --
13 Kenya Larkin G 5-9 -- -- -- --
21 Heather Schreiber F 6-2 -- -- -- --
23 Tracy Cook F 6-2 -- -- -- --
41 Stacy Stephens F 6-1 -- -- -- --

Player Profiles

#3 Tiffany Elmore (Guard * Senior)
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).
This Season:
at Tenn (11/18): DNP (mild neck sprain)... at St. Joe's (11/16): started, 11 points (4-8), 2 rebounds, suffered a neck sprain at 15:31 in the second half and was forced to leave the game.

#5 Ashley Conrad (Guard * Freshman)
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.
This Season:
at Tenn (11/18): DNP... at St. Joe's (11/16): DNP.

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

at Tenn (11/18): started, 5 points (2-9), 1 rebound, 3 steals, led with 4 assists... vs. St. Joe's (11/16): started, 12 points (3-7), collected a career high 7 rebounds and 7 assists, 3 steals.

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

at Tenn (11/18): 5 points (1-6), 5 rebounds, 2 steals... at St. Joe's (11/16): started, fouled out with 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal.

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

at Tenn (11/18): 1 assist... at St. Joe's (11/16): 2 points (1-3), 2 assists.

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

at Tenn (11/18): 3 points (1-4), 1 steal... at St. Joe's (11/16): played 1 minute.

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

at Tenn (11/18): started, tied a career-high with 26 points (9-24) and surpassed career-highs with 8 free throws made, 9 free throw attempts and 24 field goal attempts, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals... at St. Joe's (11/16): started, led with 21 points (8-18), hit 3-of-10 three-pointers, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block.

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

at St. Joe's (11/16): 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 rebound.

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

at Tenn (11/18): started, 2 points (0-5), 3 rebounds, 3 steals, fouled out... at St. Joe's (11/16): collected 16 of 17 total points (6-16) in second half, hit career-high 3 (3-5) three-pointers, led with 10 rebounds, 2 steals.

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

at Tenn (11/18): started, 16 points (7-14), led with 7 rebounds and 5 steals... at St. Joe's (11/16): started, 5 points (2-6), 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal.

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

at Tenn (11/18): set a career-high with 3 blocks and 16 minutes played, tied a career-high with 4 points (1-5), also had 3 rebounds, 1 assist, fouled out... at St. Joe's (11/16): played 2 minutes.

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

at Tenn (11/18): started, 2 points (1-1), 5 rebounds... at St. Joe's (11/16): 4 points (1-6), 3 rebounds.

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