Women's Basketball Hosts San Diego, Saturday

Dec. 9, 2003

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THIS WEEK
Saturday, Dec. 13 - San Diego at USC
4 p.m. at Los Angeles Sports Arena



INTERNET:

Listen to the game at www.usctrojans.com



The Facts
The USC women's basketball team (1-3), coming off a near-upset of No.1-ranked Connecticut, continues its four-game homestand this week when it hosts San Diego (1-5) on Saturday, Dec. 13. The Women of Troy take on the visiting Toreros at 4 p.m. at the Sports Arena. The game can be heard on the internet at www.usctrojans.com. USC dropped to 1-3 this season following a 72-69 loss to defending national champion UConn on Dec. 7.

Featuring a roster of seven returners and seven newcomers, the Women of Troy look to draw on both experience and youth this season in search of their first NCAA berth since 1996. Leading the way for the Trojans is preseason Wooden Award candidate, Wade Trophy Award candidate, Naismith Award candidate and preseason All-Pac-10 pick Ebony Hoffman. Hoffman earned her third-straight All-Pac-10 honor last season and was named to the WBCA Region VIII All-America team after leading the team in points (16.3 ppg), rebounds (9.8 rpg), blocks (1.1 bpg) and steals (2.5 spg).

Under the leadership of seventh-year head coach Chris Gobrecht, USC is looking to improve on last season's 14-17 overall finish and 8-10 record in the Pac-10 (tied for fifth place).

USC To Play 800th Contest This Saturday
The USC women's basketball program will reach a milestone this week when it plays its 800th game on Dec. 13. USC currently boasts a 503-296 (.603) all-time program record.

Record Crowd Witnesses Outstanding Match-Up
A total of 6,172 fans were in attendance to watch USC take on Connecticut on Dec. 7, marking the largest Trojan crowd since 1985 and the seventh-highest in program history. It also marked USC's largest women's-only crowd, due to the fact that the top six attended games listed were played as double headers with men's basketball.

Against Ranked Opponents
Connecticut marked USC's second ranked opponent of this young season. Minnesota, which the Women of Troy faced in the championship game of the Junkanoo Jam on Nov. 29, and Connecticut are the first two of a likely seven ranked opponents on the 2003-04 schedule, including No. 6/6 Stanford (Jan. 25 and Feb. 19), No. 17/15 Colorado (Dec. 20), No. 16/19 UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 26), RV/No. 25 Arizona (Jan. 15 and Feb. 15) and No. 20/20 Oregon (Jan. 2 and Jan. 31).

USC's strength of schedule is currently ranked No. 4 according to the Dec. 8 WBCA/Summerville RPI report, which also lists the Trojans as 64th in the RPI.

Game Recap
vs. No. 1 UConn
-- UConn overcame a 15-point first half deficit to defeat USC, 72-69, in front of 6,172 on Dec. 7. The Women of Troy came out strong in the first half, heading into the locker room with a 38-33 halftime lead. After trading baskets in the first minutes of play, the Huskies had a 13-9 lead until USC went on a 15-0 run in a six-minute time-span to pull ahead. Ebony Hoffman sparked the run at the 9:25 mark with a free-throw, then notched eight of her 13 first-half points for the USC advantage. The only mistake the Women of Troy did make was allowing UConn to hit a three-point and a jumper in the final six seconds of the half. The two teams alternated shots at the start of the second half before the Huskies took their first lead at 16:14. Despite the setback, USC never allowed UConn to break away. A three-pointer by Eshaya Murphy and free throws by Jamie Hagiya brought the Trojans as close as 72-69 with 35-seconds left on the clock. Down by three, USC had the last possession, but a last-second three-point attempt to tie the score bounced off the rim as the top-ranked Huskies managed to escape with the narrow victory.

USC Drops Unusual Home Opener
The loss to UConn marked only the third time in program history the Women of Troy have dropped a home opener. USC fell to UNLV in 1989 and to San Diego State in 1996.

Trojans Make Habit of Taking On Champs
This is the third-straight year the Women of Troy have had to face the defending national champion. In addition to its match-up against UConn on Dec. 7, USC also faced the Huskies last season, a season after the they captured the 2002 national title. The Trojans also faced Notre Dame in 2001-02 after the Fighting Irish won the 2001 championship.

Long Distance Shot-Stoppers
Opponents have had no luck from three-point range against the Women of Troy. USC has managed to hold teams to a conference-low 26.1 percent from three-point range. Even UConn, who averaged 40.7 percent from beyond the arch before Sunday's game, shot 28.6 percent against the Trojans.

Gnekow Makes Presence Known
As a first-year starter, sophomore Meghan Gnekow has stood out in the Women of Troy's first four games. With top rebounding and defensive performances in the four outings, Gnekow ranks among Pac-10 leaders in multiple categories. This week she leads the conference in offensive boards (3.50 orpg), ranks second in total rebounding average (9.0 rpg) and fourth in defensive rebounds (5.50 drpg).

Stop Thief!
Ebony Hoffman has already established herself as the team thief. Hoffman is averaging a team-best 3.0 steals per game and ranks second in the Pac-10. She had six steals against Minnesota on Nov. 29 (just one short of her career high).

Player News N' Notes
* Meghan Gnekow tied her career-high with 10 rebounds against UConn (12/7) and set a new career-high with five assists.
* Meghan Gnekow surpassed her career high with 10 rebounds and tied her career high with two blocks at New Mexico (11/21).
* Tiffany Hicks collected a career-high five rebounds at New Mexico (11/21).

Team News N' Notes
* UConn's 15-point deficit (37-22) to USC during the first half was the largest disadvantage Connecticut has been in this season.
* USC's five assists against Minnesota tie for seventh among program records for fewest assists in a game, and its 28 personal fouls tie for seventh-most. Minnesota's 29 fouls tie for 10th among opponent game records and its 38 free throws attempted rank 10th.
* Multiple marks were set in the USC record books against New Mexico (11/21): USC's 33 personal fouls tie for second-most and New Mexico's 33 free throws made and 43 free throw attempts rank fourth and second among opponent game records.

USC Women's Basketball On LA Airwaves
KMPC-AM 1540 - USC's flagship station - will air six Women of Troy basketball games this season. Pete Arbogast, the voice of Trojan football, will provide play-by-play, and former Trojan women's basketball standout Denise Woods ('00) will provide color commentary for the following games: Dec. 7 vs. UConn, Dec. 20 vs. Colorado, Jan. 25 vs. Stanford, Jan. 31 vs. Oregon, Feb. 26 vs. UC Santa Barbara and Feb. 29 vs. UCLA.

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 411-301 (.577) 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 411 career victories.



Opponent Notes

San Diego (1-5) -- San Diego is riding a four-game losing streak as it starts the week. That could change prior to Saturday's match-up, as USD will face San Diego State on Wednesday, Dec. 10, prior to coming to Los Angeles. The Toreros opened their season with a 82-44 loss at UC Santa Barbara, then bounced back to defeat Nevada, 96-74, only to drop the last three games at UNLV, 78-64, and at home against New Mexico State in double overtime, 79-75, and Long Beach State, 65-57. The team is being led by senior forward/center Marta Menuez, who is averaging 16.5 points per game, in addition to 7.0 rebounds per outing. Senior forward Melissa Padgett leads on the boards with 8.3 rebounds per contest.

Head coach Kathy Marpe is in her 24th season at San Diego. Last season's squad finished 13-17 overall and 5-9 in the West Coast Conference to tie for fifth place. The team returned eight letterwinners, including three starters from the 2003 squad. San Diego welcomed five newcomers this season.

USC-San Diego Series Record -- USC and San Diego have only faced each other once in program history. USC defeated the Toreros, 70-56, in the first women's basketball game played at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion on Dec. 2, 2000.

Team Comparisons
Team Ppg Margin FG% 3-FG% FT% Rpg Apg TOpg Spg Bpg

USC 68.8 -4.2 37.6 31.1 56.3 40.2 13.3 17.8 12.3 2.5
San Diego 65.2 -9.7 40.8 27.9 69.9 36.0 16.7 25.0 6.7 2.7


San Diego Probable Starters
No. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg

24 Jamie Corwin Forward 5-11 8.5 2.3 1.3 0.8
33 Melissa Padgett Forward 6-1 8.0 8.3 2.3 1.5
34 Marta Menuez Center 6-1 16.5 7.0 1.0 0.8
12 Polly Dong Guard 5-6 4.2 2.2 5.7 3.3
22 Lindsay Helvey Guard 5-10 9.0 2.8 2.0 0.7


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 (4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 5 points (2-4), 1 rebound, 2 steals... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 3 points (1-1), 3 assists... vs. Minn. (11/29): 12 points (4-18), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 3 steals, hit halfcourt shot as clock ran down in the first half... vs. UConn (12/7): 7 points (2-5), 4 assists, 1 steal...

#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 (4 games started, 4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 11 points (3-13), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 18 points (7-13), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 11 points (4-11), 1 rebound, 3 steals, 1 block... Named to Junkanoo Jam All-Tournament team... vs. UConn (12/7): started, 8 points (4-11), 1 steal...

#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 (4 games started, 4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 14 points (1-5), career-high 10 rebounds, 3 assists, tied career high 2 blocks... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 7 points (2-7), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 5 points (2-6), 7 rebounds, 2 steals.. vs. UConn (12/7): started, 7 points (3-7), tied career-high 10 rebounds, career-high 5 assists, 2 steals...

#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.
This Season:
Will not join team until Dec. 19.

#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 (4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 5 points (2-6), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 8 points (2-5), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Minn. (11/29): 5 points (1-5), 1 rebound, 1 steal... vs. UConn (12/7): 13 points (5-10), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 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... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): DNP... vs. Minn. (11/29): DNP... vs. UConn (12/7): 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... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): DNP... vs. Minn. (11/29): DNP... vs. UConn (12/7): 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 (4 games started, 4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 4 points (1-4), career-high 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 4 points (1-1), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 2 points (1-1), 1 rebound, 1 assist... vs. UConn (12/7): started, 3 points (1-2), 1 assist, 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... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): DNP... vs. Minn. (11/29): DNP... vs. UConn (12/7): 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 (4 games started, 4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 19 points (8-14), 3 rebounds, 1 block... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 20 points (5-12), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 4 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 10 points (4-15), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 6 steals... vs. UConn (12/7): DNP... vs. UConn (12/7): started, 15 points (5-13), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals...

#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 started, 4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 9 points (4-9), 2 rebounds, 2 assists... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 2 points (0-3), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): 1 point (0-3, 1-2 FT), 2 rebounds... vs. UConn (12/7): started, 8 points (4-7), 3 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 (4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 2 points (1-5), 6 rebounds, 1 assist... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 4 points (2-5), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): 6 points (0-0, 6-8 FT), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. UConn (12/7): 2 points (1-3), 2 rebounds...

#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 (4 games started, 4 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 6 points (3-9), 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 1 assist... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 7 points (3-6), 5 rebounds... vs. UConn (12/7): 3 points (1-2), 1 rebound, 1 assist...

#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 (4 games played):

at New Mexico (11/21): 10 points (4-10), 9 rebounds, 1 block... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 4 points (1-5), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): 2 points (1-3), 1 rebound, 1 steal... vs. UConn (12/7): 3 points (1-6), 3 rebounds...

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