Women Of Troy Take Streak On The Road At Cal, Stanford

Jan. 18, 2005

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Thursday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.
at California (Berkeley, Calif.)
Live Audio: www.calbears.com
Live Stats: www.calbears.com

Saturday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m.

at No. 5 Stanford (Stanford, Calif.)
Live Audio: www.gostanford.com
Live Stats: www.gostanford.com

The Facts
Riding a six-game win streak, the longest since 1995, the USC women's basketball team (12-4, 6-1 Pac-10) looks to continue its success as it travels to the Bay Area to face California (8-8, 2-5 Pac-10) and No. 5 Stanford (15-2, 6-1 Pac-10) this week. The Women of Troy take on the Golden Bears on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. in Berkeley, then travel across the Bay to face the Cardinal on Saturday, Jan. 22. Co-Pac-10 leaders USC and Stanford hit the hardcourt at 7 p.m. at Maples Pavilion. Both games can be followed on the internet via live stats and audio at www.calbears.com and www.gostanford.com.

• USC is coming off key victories over Arizona, 67-54, and then-No. 25 Arizona State, 66-45, last week. The Women of Troy were led by Pac-10 Player of the Week Eshaya Murphy, who averaged 16.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.5 assists per game. The win over the Sun Devils marked the team's first victory over a ranked opponent this season.

• Following last week's wins, the Trojans moved into a first-place tie in the Pac-10 standings and garnered votes in both polls.

• Stanford, which is also riding a six-game win streak, and Cal are coming off rivalry week. The Cardinal beat the Bears, 88-53, on Jan. 13, then defeated Boston College, 76-66, in a nonconference game on Jan. 15. Cal played only rival Stanford last week and has lost its last three straight.

A Winning Start
At 12-4, this remains USC's best start (overall and in conference play) since the 1997 season. It is also the first time since 1997 that the team began the conference season with a winning record (6-3). Its current six-game win streak is the longest since 1995.

The Last Time...
• The last time USC won six-straight games was in the 1995 season. The last time the Trojans did so against conference opponents was in 1994.
• The last time USC won more than six consecutive games was in 1994. That season, the Women of Troy won 11-straight games en route to a final 26-4 overall record and 16-2 first-place finish in the Pac-10.
• Prior to its win over then-No. 25 Arizona State on Jan. 16, the last time USC beat a ranked opponent was on Jan. 25, 2004, when the Trojans upset then-No. 6 Stanford, 59-56, at home.
• The last time USC won at Maples Pavilion was on March 1, 2001 (62-59). It also marks the last time the Women of Troy beat both Stanford and Cal on the road.

Getting Votes
With its recent success, USC has begun to garner some votes. This week, the Women of Troy earned 20 votes in the WBCA/USA Today Coaches Poll and 38 in the Associated Press poll.

It's All About Hustle
Despite a 37.9 average field goal percentage, the Women of Troy have gotten this far thanks to pure hustle. USC has outrebounded opponents 40.6-to-38.1 (+2.5) and forced an average of 23.0 turnovers per game. The Trojans also lead the Pac-10 with an average of 16.94 offensive rebounds per game, a category which they also led last season (with a 15.93 average).

Junior guard/forward Meghan Gnekow leads the Pac-10 with an average of 3.07 offensive boards per game, while teammates Eshaya Murphy (2.5) and Kim Gipson (2.3) rank sixth and eighth.

A True Team Effort
Eight players are averaging more that 5.5 points a game and five average more than 4.5 rebounds per outing (Prior to the Washington game, USC and UW were the only Pac-10 teams without a double-figure scorer, but since then Brynn Cameron improved her average to 10.1 ppg). Eight players have taken turns leading the team in scoring through 14 games played this season, and six players have shared the lead in rebounding.

USC-Stanford Connections
• Stanford redshirt sophomore forward Eziamaka Okafor and USC sophomore guard/forward Allison Jaskowiak both hail from the state of Missouri. Okafor prepped at Rolla (Mo.) High, while Jaskowiak attended Parkway West High in Chesterfield. Rolla lies southwest of Chesterfield.

USC-Cal Connections
• Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer and USC head coach Mark Trakh are both alums of the West Coast Conference. Horstmeyer coached at Santa Clara for 12 seasons before taking the Cal position in 2000. While Trakh was at Pepperdine, the two coached against each other for seven seasons (1994-2000), during which Horstmeyer earned a 10-6 advantage in the series.
• Cal's roster boasts two players from Southern California, including Renee Wright (Antelope Valley) and Khadijah Coakley (San Diego).
• Common Opponents: USC and Cal both faced TCU this season. The Bears fell to the Horned Frogs 96-89 in the first round game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic on Nov. 26. USC got past TCU, 71-70, on Dec. 21 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Arizona Game Recap
Eshaya Murphy finished with a career-high 18 points and nine rebounds to lead USC to a 67-54 victory over Arizona on Jan. 14. The Women of Troy used an 8-2 run to start the second half and take the lead for good. Meghan Gnekow sparked USC's efforts out of the lockerroom by scoring six of the eight points. USC continued pushing, increasing its lead to as much as 10 (50-40) by the five-minute mark. USC, which shot 75 percent from the line, hit seven-straight free throws in the final minutes to seal the 13-point victory. Conversely, the Wildcats converted only 9-of-20 free throw attempts (45%) on the night. After staying close for most of the first half, a 6-0 Arizona run (25-19) with 1:15 left seemed to give the Wildcats momentum. But Rachel Woodward responded by hitting consecutive jumpers and Jamie Hagiya hit 2-of-3 at the line after being fouled from three-point range to put the Women of Troy within one, 26-25, at the half.

Arizona State Game Recap
Eshaya Murphy and Meghan Gnekow led with 15 points apiece as USC upset No. 25 Arizona State, 66-45, on Jan. 16. The Trojans won the game by holding on to the ball, forcing 21 ASU turnovers and collecting 11 steals. Again, USC relied on a team effort with four players finishing in double figures. In addition to Murphy and Gnekow, Jamie Funn posted with 12 points and Brynn Cameron added 11. Gnekow also led with nine rebounds. After trading baskets to start, Gnekow's three-pointer eight minutes into the first half gave the Trojans an 8-6 lead they never relinquished. Trailing by as much as 10 points, the Sun Devils used a 7-0 run (23-20) to get back into the game, 23-20, with 3:40 on the clock. The Women of Troy answered with a 9-1 run of their own, including a last-second jumper by Funn to enter halftime ahead, 32-21. The Trojans continued to build on their lead throughout the second half. At the six-minute mark, USC hit eight-consecutive free throws to go ahead by 24 points (64-40) for its largest lead of the game.

Team News N' Notes
• USC's win over No. 25 Arizona State on Jan. 16 marked its first over a ranked opponent since defeated then-No. 6 Stanford last season on Jan. 25.
• By defeating Washington and Washington State on Jan. 7 and 9, the Women of Troy completed their first conference road sweep since 2001.
• USC defeated Washington in Seattle on Jan. 7 for the first time since 2000, and won on the UW campus for the first time since 1998 (USC played the 2000 game at Key Arena which Hec Ed/Bank of American Arena was under renovation).
• The Women of Troy hit 13-of-14 free throws at Washington (Jan. 7) for a 92.9 percent effort, which ranks third among USC program records.
• 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
• Eshaya Murphy was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Jan. 16 after leading USC to wins over Arizona and Arizona State.
• Eshaya Murphy (10 pts., 11 reb.) and Kim Gipson (12 pts., 10 reb.) notched their first career double-doubles and the team's second and third of the year at Washington State on Jan. 9.
• Brynn Cameron hit five three-pointers at Washington (Jan. 7) to tie for sixth among program records.
• 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.


California (8-8, 2-5 Pac-10) -- The Golden Bears have suffered three consecutive losses despite a successful start to the season. Cal opened the year with a 6-3 nonconference record then began the Pac-10 season by splitting against the Oregon and Washington schools. Since then, the team has fallen at Arizona, 69-80, at Arizona State, 57-66, and at crosstown rival Stanford, 53-88. Three players are averaging double figures, including forward Leigh Gregory (12.4 ppg), center Jessica Lawson (10.7 ppg) and guard Kristin Iwanaga (10.1). Lawson leads the team with 5.1 boards per game and guard Sarah Pool leads with 4.3 assists per outing.

Under fifth-year head coach Caren Horstmeyer, Cal returned three starters and nine total letterwinners from last year's squad. The Bears went 12-17 overall in 2004 and 4-14 in the Pac-10 to finish in ninth place.

USC-Cal Series Record -- Cal and USC will meet for the 43rd time in program history on Thursday. The Trojans own a 29-13 (.690) record in the series and a 10-10 mark when playing in Berkeley. Last season, the Women of Troy beat the Bears 67-47 in Los Angeles, but fell 59-68 at Haas Pavilion.

Team ComparisonsTeam		Ppg	Margin	FG%	3-FG%	FT%	Rpg	Apg	TOpg	Spg	BpgUSC		68.0	+6.4	37.9	33.3	67.2	40.6	13.1	19.6	11.7	3.8California	67.2	-1.2	44.4	42.9	73.4	33.0	14.5	21.0	8.4	2.5

California Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg22 Leigh Gregory Forward 6-0 12.4 3.6 1.4 1.330 Kiki Williams Forward 6-1 9.4 3.1 1.6 0.823 Jessica Lawson Center 6-3 10.7 5.1 0.2 1.13 Sarah Pool Guard 5-7 4.4 2.8 4.3 1.65 Kristin Iwanaga Guard 5-6 10.1 3.4 2.4 1.1

No. 5 Stanford (15-2, 6-1 Pac-10) -- Stanford has maintained a top 10 ranking since the start of the season. The Cardinal's only two losses have come at Tennessee, 67-70, on Dec. 21, and at Oregon, 58-62, in the first week of conference play on Dec. 29. Since then, Stanford has compiled a six-game win streak and a seven-game win streak when playing at The Farm this season. The Cardinal has three players in double figures, including guard Candace Wiggins (17.0 ppg), center Brook Smith (13.2 ppg) and guard Kelley Suminski (11.4 ppg). Forward T'Nae Thiel leads the team with 5.7 rebounds per game and Wiggins averages a team-best 2.6 assists per outing.

Under 19th-year head coach Tara VanDerveer, the Cardinal returned three starters and 11 total letterwinners from last year's Elite Eight squad. Stanford posted a 27-7 record in 2004, finished in a first-place tie with Arizona in the Pac-10 with a 14-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight before being upset by Tennessee. Stanford was ranked No. 7 in the final polls.

USC-Stanford Series Record -- Saturday's game marks the 49th meeting between these two squads. Stanford owns a 30-18 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1979. What first started with a 13-game USC win streak was reversed in the 90s. Since 1990, the Cardinal have won 26-of-31 games (83.9%). USC split with Stanford last season, upsetting the then-No. 6 Cardinal 59-56 in Los Angeles, then falling 57-75 on the road. The Women of Troy are 7-16 when playing at Maples Pavilion.

Team ComparisonsTeam		Ppg	Margin	FG%	3-FG%	FT%	Rpg	Apg	TOpg	Spg	BpgUSC		68.0	+6.4	37.9	33.3	67.2	40.6	13.1	19.6	11.7	3.8Stanford	74.4	+20.7	45.3	33.1	73.2	40.9	15.4	14.0	10.9	4.1

Stanford Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg33 Sebnem Kimyacioglu Forward 5-11 4.0 3.3 2.3 1.234 T'Nae Thiel Forward 6-1 5.1 5.7 2.0 0.830 Brooke Smith Center 6-3 13.2 5.3 1.7 0.95 Kelley Suminski Guard 5-9 11.4 2.6 2.4 0.811 Candice Wiggins Guard 5-11 17.0 4.1 2.6 2.9

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