Women Of Troy Face Rival Bruins, Tuesday
Dec. 27, 2004
Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m.
at UCLA (Pauley Pavilion)
Live Audio: www.usctrojans.com
Radio: XTRA Sports 690/1150
The USC women's basketball team (6-3) -- winners of the last five-of-six games -- begins the 2005 Pac-10 season this week against crosstown rival and 20th-ranked UCLA (6-3). The Women of Troy, under the leadership of first-year head coach Mark Trakh, travel to Pauley Pavilion for a 7 p.m. match-up with the Bruins on Tuesday, Dec. 28. Fans can follow the game with live audio at www.usctrojans.com or on UCLA's XTRA Sports 690/1150.
UCLA, the Trojans' third ranked opponent of the season, is coming off two road losses to Illinois and then-No. 7 Ohio State last week.
USC completed the nonconference schedule with a narrow loss at BYU, 76-73, and an upset victory, 71-70, at TCU, which had been ranked among the top 15 earlier this season. Junior guard/forward Meghan Gnekow led the Women of Troy in both outings with 19 points and eight rebounds against the Cougars (Dec. 18) and her first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against the Frogs (Dec. 21).
Winners Enter Pac-10 Play
At 6-3, this is USC's best start since the 1998 season and it is the first time since then that the team will begin the conference season with a winning record.
USC In Pac-10 Openers
USC is 12-7 all-time in Pac-10 openers - 5-3 on the road, 7-3 at home and 0-1 at a neutral site.
The Women of Troy are 9-9 in the first road game of each Pac-10 season, and 14-5 in the first home game.
This is the fourth time the Trojans will open the Pac-10 season against rival UCLA (1990-91, 1989-90, 2003-04).
Last year, the Women of Troy defeated the Bruins, 64-51, at home to begin the conference schedule. USC made its first road trip of the season the following week and split with a victory at Oregon, 69-55, and a loss at Oregon State, 72-67.
Battle For Fourth-Annual Lexus Gauntlet
The Women of Troy are looking to garner the first 5-of-10 women's basketball points for the 2004-05 Lexus Gauntlet this Tuesday. The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. Points are awarded to the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. USC captured the inaugural trophy in 2001-02 and reclaimed the trophy last season. So far this season, USC owns a 20-15 lead after beating the Bruins in football and sweeping both volleyball match-ups. The Bruins collected their points by winning both men's water polo matches, both women's soccer meetings and posting a better finish at the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships.
TCU Game Recap
Jamie Hagiya hit a jumper with seconds remaining to give USC its first and only lead as the Women of Troy defeated TCU, 71-70, on Dec. 21 in Fort Worth, Texas. Thanks to the defensive efforts of Meghan Gnekow, USC held the Frogs scoreless for the final three minutes of the game en route to the victory. Gnekow led with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Down by seven at the five-minute mark, the Women of Troy managed to knot the score at 68-68 thanks to a layup by Chloé Kerr and Gnekow's two free throw shots and a three-pointer with 3:40 left. TCU's Sandora Irvin answered with a layup to go ahead 70-68, but it marked the last shot the Frogs would hit. The Trojans had their share of opportunities in the final minutes thanks to four TCU turnovers and two fouls, but missed four shots at the line. Hagiya's jumper left four seconds on the clock, but Irvin missed a layup and Gnekow grabbed the defensive board to secure the win. USC capitalized by scoring 34 points off of 31 TCU turnovers. The Women of Troy shot 40.0 percent from the field and 50.0 from three-point range, hitting 10-of-20 three pointers. The 10 three-pointers ties for third among USC game records. TCU, which fell out of the AP Top 25 on Dec. 13, led by as many as 12 points in the first half and entered halftime with a 33-26 lead.
BYU Game Recap
BYU's Ambrosia Anderson hit a key three-pointer with two minutes remaining to lift the Cougars to a 76-73 victory against USC at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Dec. 18. Meghan Gnekow led the Women of Troy with 19 points and added eight rebounds. BYU held a 39-36 lead at halftime, shooting 58 percent from the floor. In the second half, USC used a 10-2 run to build a seven-point lead at the 14:30 mark before the Cougars' Lauren Riley tied the game at 56-56 with a layup. Down by four with 20 seconds left, Brynn Cameron hit a three-pointer for the Women of Troy to make it a one-point deficit. Melinda Johnsen made two free throws for the Cougars and Camille LeNoir's game-tying attempt at the buzzer fell short for the Trojans.
USC And Rafu Shimpo Present Downtown Showdown
USC, the Little Tokyo Recreation Center and the Rafu Shimpo, the nation's largest Japanese bilingual daily based in Los Angeles, will join to sponsor the 'The Downtown Showdown' at the USC-Oregon game on Sunday, Jan. 2 in order to raise funds for the LTRC. Tickets for the game are specially priced at $5 each and for each ticket sold, USC will donate 40 percent of the proceeds to the Little Tokyo Recreation Center building fund. Downtown Showdown tickets can only be purchased by calling (213) 821-0782.
Cameron Ties School Record
It did not take long for freshman Brynn Cameron to make her mark. Against South Dakota State (Dec. 11), the 5-10 guard tied a USC record with six three-pointers. Three games before the record-setting performance, Cameron notched four three-pointers against Harvard (Nov. 28), tying for 10th place among Trojan records.
Thanks to her recent performances, Cameron currently leads the Women of Troy with a 10.7 points per game scoring average.
Women Of Troy Share Online Diary
This season, the Women of Troy will share their thoughts on the year through their online diary - The Trojan Chronicles. Each week a different student-athlete will contribute to the diary so check it out at www.usctrojans.com and find out more about the Women of Troy.
USC Coaching Comparisons
Among former USC women's basketball head coaches, only Mark Trakh and Cheryl Miller (1994-95) have begun their first season at 6-3 or better. Miller, who coached two seasons (1994-95), won her first 17-of-18 games that season en route to a final 26-4 record.
Five Opponents Ranked In Top 25
USC's schedule features five opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including current No. 2 Stanford (Jan. 22 and Feb. 18), No. 7 Notre Dame (L, 60-56, Nov. 26), No. 20 UCLA (Dec. 28 and Feb. 26), No. 21 DePaul (L, 77-99, on Nov. 20), and No. 23 Arizona State (Jan. 16 and Feb. 10).
USC In The RPI
Following are USC's RPI overall and strength of schedule ratings as of Dec. 19, 2004.
Overall S.O.S.WBCA/Summerville 37 39Jerry Palms' CollegeRPI.com 35 19Mike Greenfield's TeamRankings.com 51 80
Team News N' Notes
USC hit 10 three-pointers at TCU (Dec. 21) to tie for third among program game records.
The Women of Troy will begin the Pac-10 season with a winning record for the first time since 1998.
The Women of Troy entered the record books twice in back-to-back games. USC hit eight three-pointers on Dec. 7 at San Diego State and nine against South Dakota State on Dec. 11. Nine treys ties for fourth among most three-pointers made in a single game and eight ties for eighth.
With a win over UMass on Nov. 19, head coach Mark Trakh notched his 200th career victory.
Player News N' Notes
Meghan Gnekow notched her first career double-double at TCU (Dec. 21) with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Brynn Cameron topped her previous performance by sinking six three-pointer against South Dakota State on Dec. 11, tying the USC single game record.
Brynn Cameron hit four three-pointers against Harvard on Nov. 28 - a mark which ties for 10th among USC game records.
Rachel Woodward notched the team's first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 5.
No. 20 UCLA (6-3) -- After falling 65-60 to TCU in the season opener, UCLA reeled off six-straight victories, including upsets over No. 4 Texas (Nov. 28) and No. 14 Purdue (Dec. 5) to enter the top 25 in both polls. Since then, UCLA dropped its last two contests, falling 78-63 at Illinois on Dec. 19 and 83-60 at No. 7 Ohio State on Dec. 21. The team has four players averaging double figures, including sophomore guard Noelle Quinn (19.2 ppg), junior guard Lisa Willis (14.8 ppg), freshman forward Lindsey Pluimer (10.6 ppg) and junior guard Nikki Blue (10.4 ppg). Quinn also leads the team on the boards with 6.9 rebounds per game.
Under 12th-year head coach Kathy Olivier, UCLA returned three starters and 11 total letterwinners from last season's squad. The 2004 Bruins finished the season at 17-13 and posted an 11-7 record in Pac-10 play to tie for third place. The team advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
USC-UCLA Series Record -- This crosstown rivalry remains the longest standing and most evenly matched series in USC program history. Tuesday's game will mark the 65th meeting between the Women of Troy and Bruins (according to USC records). USC owns a 34-30 advantage in the series and a 15-13 record when playing at Pauley Pavilion. USC has won the last six-of-eight match-ups, and split last season, beating the Bruins 64-51 at home and falling 68-64 at home.
UCLA ConnectionsIn addition to the fact that the two teams share the city, the local recruits, the fans and the media, USC and UCLA women's basketball have their share of common connections.
Bruin junior guard Lisa Willis and USC sophomore Jamie Funn and freshman Camille LeNoir all attended Los Angeles' Narbonne High.
UCLA freshman guard Lauren Pederson prepped at Brea Olinda (Calif.) High - the former stomping grounds of USC head coach Mark Trakh and assistant coach Jody Wynn. Trakh coached Brea Olinda for 13 seasons and Wynn played for Trakh as a prep from 1989-1992.
Fifth-year USC director of operations and marketing Patrick Auerbach graduated from UCLA in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in sociology and business.
UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier served as an assistant coach at USC for three years (1984-86) and helped lead the Women of Troy to the NCAA Championship in 1984 and a runner-up finish in 1986.
Six USC coaches and assistant coaches either attended or coached at UCLA, including football linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. (played), men's basketball interim head coach Jim Saia (asst. coach), water polo head coach Jovan Vavic (asst. coach), rowing head coaches Zenon and Kelly Babraj (both coached, Kelly also rowed for the Bruins) and assistant coach Craig Webster (rowed), golf assistant coach Ted Gleason (played) and assistant track coach John Henry Johnson (decathlete).
Team ComparisonsTeam Ppg Margin FG% 3-FG% FT% Rpg Apg TOpg Spg BpgUSC 68.4 +4.7 38.3 31.7 65.0 39.0 13.4 20.9 13.1 3.2UCLA 72.7 +7.4 41.8 32.9 67.8 37.4 15.6 14.4 12.7 2.3
UCLA Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg14 Lindsey Pluimer Forward 6-3 10.6 6.1 1.0 1.331 Amanda Livingston Forward 6-1 6.8 3.9 2.0 1.132 Nikki Blue Guard 5-8 10.4 3.9 4.3 2.340 Lisa Willis Guard 5-11 14.8 5.9 2.6 3.745 Noelle Quinn Guard 6-0 19.2 6.9 3.6 2.9