Basketball Heads To Islands For Holiday Tourney

Nov. 26, 2003

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Junkanoo Jam Grand Bahama Tournament - Freeport, Bahamas

Nov. 28
#13/11 Minnesota vs. Texas A&M - 2 p.m. EST
USC vs. Seton Hall - 4:20 p.m. EST

Nov. 29
Consolation Game - 6:40 p.m. EST
Championship Game - 8:50 p.m. EST

AUDIO:
If USC faces Minnesota in the second round, the game can be heard on www.gophersports.com.
If USC faces Texas A&M in the second round, the game can be heard onsports.tamu.edu.



The Facts
The USC women's basketball team (0-1), coming off a heartbreaking 77-75 season-opening loss at New Mexico, looks to bounce back this week with two games at the Junkanoo Jam Grand Bahama Tournament on the island of Freeport, Bahamas. The Women of Troy face Seton Hall (2-0) in the first round on Friday, Nov. 28, at 4:20 p.m. EST, following a first-round match-up between Texas A&M and No. 13/11 Minnesota (3-0) at 2 p.m. EST. A consolation and championship game will be played on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 6:40 and 8:50 p.m. EST, respectively.

Against Ranked Opponents
USC may face its first ranked opponent of the season if it meets No. 13/11 Minnesota in the consolation or championship game of the Junkanoo Jam. Minnesota would be the first of eight ranked opponents on the 2003-04 USC schedule, including No. 1/1 Connecticut (Dec. 7), No. 6/7 Stanford (Jan. 25 and Feb. 19), No. 16/16 Colorado (Dec. 20), No. 18/18 UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 26), No. 20/20 Notre Dame (Dec. 22), No. 22/21 Arizona (Jan. 15 and Feb. 15) and No. 24/RV Oregon (Jan. 2 and Jan. 31).

USC's nonconference strength of schedule is ranked No. 6 according to the Preseason WBCA/Summerville RPI report.

Return To The Islands
This is not the first time the Women of Troy have enjoyed an island holiday. USC began the 2001-02 season at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands during the Thanksgiving break. The Trojans opened with a 71-68 upset-victory over Florida and suffered a narrow 66-64 loss to Texas in the tournament championship.

Nonconference Schedule Presents Top Competition
As is typically the case, the Women of Troy will not back down from tough competition this season (last year's schedule was rated the nation's toughest). USC already opened the season in front of nearly 12,000 fans against New Mexico at 'The Pit' on Nov. 21. This week, the team heads to the Junkanoo Jam Grand Bahama Tournament, where USC will celebrate Thanksgiving in a four-team tournament featuring Minnesota, Texas A&M and Seton Hall. USC will host four of its five final nonconference games at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, including match-ups with defending national champion Connecticut on Dec. 7, San Diego on Dec. 13, SMU on Dec. 17 and Colorado on Dec. 20, before traveling to Notre Dame on Dec. 22.

Home Opener to Feature Defending National Champions
Don't miss USC when it opens the home season against defending NCAA Champion and No. 1-ranked UConn at the Sports Arena on Dec. 7. The Women of Troy, boasting player-of-the-year candidate Ebony Hoffman, will take on the Huskies and fellow player-of-the-year candidate Diana Taurasi at 2 p.m. Prime location reserved seats are available for $5 each. Call the USC Ticket Office at (213) 740-GO SC to purchase tickets. (Group tickets are also available for groups of 20 or more at $3 apiece. Call the Women's Basketball Group Ticket Line at (213) 821-0782 for further information.

This is the third-straight year the Women of Troy face the defending national champions. USC faced UConn last season, the season after the Huskies captured the 2002 national title. The Trojans also faced Notre Dame in 2001-02 after the Fighting Irish won the 2001 championship.

USC Fielding One of Youngest Lineups
USC is fielding one of its youngest lineups in program history, including the most freshmen (seven) to ever compete on one squad (the Trojans had six freshmen listed on the rosters in 1996 and 1985). The average age on the 2004 roster is 19.4 years old.

Hoffman Earns Preseason Honors
In her final season at USC, three-year starter Ebony Hoffman has been named to the first-ever John R. Wooden Women's Award Preseason All-America team. As one of 30 honorees, Hoffman will be in the running for the John R. Wooden Award, which will be presented annually to the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player. She has also been chosen among the list of preseason candidates for the 2003-04 State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Player of the Year and NCAA Division I Player of the Year honors, as well as earning her third-straight All-Pac-10 preseason selection.

New Additions Among Nation's Best
This season, there's an entirely new version of Women of Troy basketball. With great success on the recruiting front last year, Gobrecht and her staff welcome the ninth-ranked incoming recruiting class of 2003 according to USA Today and Mike Flynn's Blue Star Report. In addition to four seniors, two juniors and one sophomore, newcomers Jamie Funn (Los Angeles), Markisha Lea (Riverside, Calif.), Eshaya Murphy (Van Nuys, Calif.), Chlo� Kerr (Bolingbrook, Ill.), Allison Jaskowiak (Chesterfield, Mo.), Katie Henderson (Redmond, Wash.) and Jamie Hagiya (Torrance, Calif.) round out the 2003-04 Women of Troy lineup.

Competitive Siblings
Three USC players have siblings that are also currently playing collegiate basketball. Jamie Funn's sister, Nicole, is a senior guard at Pepperdine, Markisha Lea's brother, Marvin, is a redshirt freshman guard at Pepperdine and Allison Jaskowiak's sister, Emily, is a junior forward at Tulsa.

Freshmen Are Born Leaders
All seven freshman were equally successful as preps - especially off the court. Of the seven, five served as student body officers, including three presidents (Jamie Hagiya, Allison Jaskowiak, Markisha Lea), one vice president (Eshaya Murphy) and one treasurer (Chlo� Kerr). Also excelling in the classroom, six of the seven were either prep honor roll students or scholar-athlete award winners.

Head Coach Chris Gobrecht
Chris Gobrecht enters her seventh 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 24 years of head coaching experience, Gobrecht has amassed a 410-299 (.578) 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 179-109 (.622) mark and she ranks among the top 50 active Division I coaches with 410 career victories.



Opponent Notes

Seton Hall -- Seton Hall is 2-0 as it heads into this week's tournament. The Pirates defeated Rider, 83-58, and Charlotte, 77-67, at home for their first two games. Leading the team thus far is forward/center LaNedra Brown with a team-best 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, in addition to shooting 63.6 percent from the field. Under the leadership of 19th-year head coach Phyllis Mangina, the Pirates returned 10 letterwinners and two starters from last year's squad. Last season, Seton Hall posted a 14-15 overall record and 7-9 conference mark to finish eighth in the Big East.

USC-Seton Hall Series Record -- USC and Seton Hall have met only once. On Dec. 27, 1997, the Trojans defeated the Pirates, 78-66, at the Pac-10/Big East Challenge played at UCLA.

Team Comparisons
Team Ppg Margin FG% 3-FG% FT% Rpg Apg TOpg Spg Bpg
USC 75.0 -2.0 36.7 27.3 48.3 58.0 16.0 13.0 7.0 4.0
Seton Hall 80.0 +17.5 50.4 28.6 53.3 49.0 15.0 19.5 9.0 3.5

Texas A&M -- The Aggies split the first two games of the season with a 67-62 loss to La Salle and a 61-53 win over Boston at the Boston Invitational last week. So far, the team is led by guard Erica Roy, who is averaging 12.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 73.3 percent from the field. Guards Mindy Garrison and Toccara Williams are also averaging double digits with 12.0 and 11.5 points per game, respectively. Under first-year head coach Gary Blair, Texas A&M returned all five starters and eight total letterwinners. Last year's team finished 10-18 overall and 3-13 in the Big 12 in a tie for ninth place.

USC-Texas A&M Series Record -- USC is 2-0 against the Aggies, but the two teams have not faced each other in nearly 23 years. The Women of Troy first beat the Aggies, 71-42, on Feb. 12, 1980, in College Station, Texas. The last meeting was a 112-42 USC victory in Los Angeles on Dec. 6, 1980.

Team Comparisons
Team Ppg Margin FG% 3-FG% FT% Rpg Apg TOpg Spg Bpg
USC 75.0 -2.0 36.7 27.3 48.3 58.0 16.0 13.0 7.0 4.0
Texas A&M 61.5 +1.5 48.0 36.0 66.7 26.0 12.5 21.0 13.0 3.5

#13/11 Minnesota -- The Golden Gophers have won three straight to start the 2003-04 season, including an important victory over a ranked Colorado squad at the Subway Basketball Classic, that moved them up in the polls. All three of Minnesota's wins have been by significant margins, including a 93-41 win over Southern, a 95-61 victory over Colorado and a 73-50 win over Drake. Three players are currently averaging double digits in scoring. Guard Lindsey Whalen leads the Gophers, averaging 21.7 points per game and shooting 72.2 percent from the field. Center Janel McCarville averages a team-best 12.3 rebounds per game. Head coach Pam Borton is in her second season with the Golden Gophers. She led last year's squad to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and a No. 17 final national ranking. The team went 25-6 overall and 12-4 in the Big Ten to finish in a tie for second place. Minnesota returned seven letterwinners, including four starters, from the 2002-03 season.

USC-Minnesota Series Record -- USC and Minnesota have met only once before. On Dec. 23, 1981, the Women of Troy defeated the Gophers, 91-52, in Los Angeles.

Team Comparisons	
Team Ppg Margin FG% 3-FG% FT% Rpg Apg TOpg Spg Bpg
USC 75.0 -2.0 36.7 27.3 48.3 58.0 16.0 13.0 7.0 4.0
Minnesota 94.0 +43.0 58.1 37.9 78.8 40.5 22.5 12.0 11.5 4.5



Player Profiles

#2 Jamie Hagiya (Point Guard * Freshman)
Jamie Hagiya enters her first season at USC... A much-needed player at the point guard position whose leadership capabilities and work ethic may give her an active role in the lineup this season... As a senior at South Torrance (Calif.) High, she led all Southern California prepsters with an 87.7 free throw percentage... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003.
This Season (1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 5 points (2-4), 1 rebound, 2 steals...

#3 Rometra Craig (Guard * Senior)
Rometra Craig begins her second season with the Women of Troy... A 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention pick... Averaged 13.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.4 steals last season, while leading the team with 34 three-pointers... A returning starter.
This Season (1 game started, 1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 11 points (3-13), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals...

#5 Meghan Gnekow (Guard * Sophomore)
Meghan Gnekow enters her second season at USC... Played mainly at off the bench last season at the shooting guard and small forward positions... Averaged 6.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.4 blocks per game in 2002-03.
This Season (1 game started, 1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 14 points (1-5), career-high 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks...

#10 Jessica Cheeks (Guard * Junior)
Jessica Cheeks enters her fourth season with the Women of Troy, but will not join the team until the conclusion of the fall semester as an extension of her 10-game hiatus from the 2003 season... Played 22 games last season and averaged 8.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game... A returning starter.

#14 Eshaya Murphy (Guard * Freshman)
Eshaya Murphy enters her first season with the Women of Troy... Also goes by 'Shay'... As a senior at Montclair Prep in Van Nuys, she finished among the CIF Southern Section's top 25 in scoring, rebounding and steals... She was a two-time Street & Smith All-American honorable mention and the 2003 CIF Southern Section Player of the Year... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003.
This Season (1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 5 points (2-6), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal...

#15 Markisha Lea (Center * Freshman)
Markisha Lea enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A Street & Smith honorable mention pick... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003... Her brother, Marvin, is currently a redshirt freshman on the Pepperdine men's basketball team.
This Season:
at New Mexico (11/21): DNP...

#22 Allison Jaskowiak (Guard/Forward * Freshman)
Allison Jaskowiak begins her first season at USC... A player capable of playing at the 2, 3 and 4 positions... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003... Comes from a long-line of athletes: her grandfather played 10 years in the NBA, father played football at Missouri, brother played football at Navy and sister, Emily, is currently a junior forward at Tulsa.
This Season:
at New Mexico (11/21): DNP...

#24 Tiffany Hicks (Point Guard * Senior)
Tiffany Hicks begins her fourth season at USC... A 2002 junior college transfer... The only true returning point guard... Made 15 starts last season and averaged 2.0 points, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
This Season (1 game started, 1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 4 points (1-4), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal...

#30 Katie Henderson (Forward * Freshman)
Katie Henderson begins her first season at USC... A multi-sport athlete with good size and shooting ability... Will have the opportunity to contribute off the bench for the Women of Troy this season.
This Season:
at New Mexico (11/21): DNP...

#32 Ebony Hoffman (Forward * Senior)
Ebony Hoffman enters her fourth season with the Women of Troy... One of the most dominating post players in the conference who has already enjoyed three outstanding seasons at USC... Named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 First Team and a WBCA All-District 8 selection after leading the team with 16.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks per game last season... Already selected to three Preseason All-America lists for 2004... A returning starter in the post.
This Season (1 game started, 1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 19 points (8-14), 3 rebounds, 1 block...

#33 Rachel Woodward (Forward * Junior)
Rachel Woodward enters her third season with the Women of Troy... A 2002 Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection... Made 29 starts and averaged 10.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game last season... A talented passer who works well in transition and possesses strong rebounding skills... A returning starter.
This Season (1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 9 points (4-9), 2 rebounds, 2 assists...

#41 Jamie Funn (Center * Freshman)
Jamie Funn enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A three-time Street & Smith honorable mention selection... A fellow Narbonne High standout, along with current teammates Ebony Hoffman and Jessica Cheeks... Her sister, Nicole, is currently a senior guard on the Pepperdine women's basketball team... A versatile forward with great reach.
This Season (1 game played):

at New Mexico (11/21): 2 points (1-5), 6 rebounds, 1 assist...

#44 Kim Gipson (Center * Junior)
Kim Gipson begins her third season with the Women of Troy... At 6-foot-5, she is the tallest player on the USC roster... A fast and mobile player, who can run the court well... She played in all 31 games last season and averaged 3.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.2 blocks per game.
This Season (1 game started, 1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 6 points (3-9), 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal...

#50 Chlo� Kerr (Center * Freshman)
Chlo� Kerr enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A three-time Street & Smith honorable mention pick, who was ranked 33rd among prep recruits in 2003... Will be looked to for much-needed depth in the post... Her father and uncle both played basketball at Colorado State, one brother played football at Tennessee and another brother played basketball at Loyola-Chicago.
This Season (1 game played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 10 points (4-10), 9 rebounds, 1 block...

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