Women's Hoops Travels To Arizona State, Arizona

Feb. 7, 2005

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THIS WEEK


Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. MT
at Arizona State (Tempe, Ariz.)
Live Audio: www.thesundevils.com



Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. MT

at Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)
TV: Fox Sports Net
Live Audio: www.arizonaathletics.com



The Facts
Following a successful two-game homestand, the USC women's basketball team (16-6, 10-3 Pac-10) hits the road again this week. The Women of Troy travel to the desert to face Arizona State (15-7, 7-5 Pac-10) on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in Tempe, then take on Arizona (7-5, 15-8 Pac-10) on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. MT in Tucson. The games can be followed with live audio at www.thesundevils.com and www.arizonathletics.com. Saturday's USC-Arizona game will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net.

• USC completed a season sweep of the Washington schools last week with a 69-62 victory over Washington State on Feb. 3, and a 73-68 win over Washington on Feb. 5. Freshman Brynn Cameron and senior Kim Gipson led the Women of Troy with 14.0 points per game apiece.

• Kim Gipson, who averaged 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in her first three seasons, continues to shine this year. Gipson is currently averaging 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

• The Women of Troy remain in second place in the Pac-10 standings, one game ahead of UCLA and two games behind conference-leading Stanford.

• The Trojans' brief stay at home is over as they prepare to play their fifth and sixth road games in a four-week span.

• Arizona State is coming off a split against the Bay Area schools, defeating California 76-59, but falling to Stanford, 53-67. Arizona suffered two losses in the Bay Area with a 91-74 defeat at Stanford and 70-61 loss at Cal.

The Last Time...
• The last time the Women of Troy completed a season sweep against Arizona State and Arizona was in 1995 (this was also the last time USC won back-to-back games against the Wildcats).
• The last time the Trojans won at the McKale Center was in 2002.

Home Sweet Home
The Trojans are 9-1 this season when playing in Los Angeles (5-1 at Sports Arena, 4-0 at Lyon Center). It marks the best home record since 1994 when USC finished the year with a 15-1 record at home, including wins in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Numbers You Can Count On
USC is 10-0 when scoring first, 12-0 when leading at the half and 14-0 when leading with five minutes remaining.

Everyone Gets Their Turn
Against Oregon, USC utilized its ninth starting lineup of the season. No lineup has played together for more than four games (see page 6), with the group of Kim Gipson, Jamie Funn, Meghan Gnekow, Brynn Cameron and Camille LeNoir enjoying the most success at 4-1.

Cameron And USC Among National Leaders
According to NCAA rankings released on Feb. 1, freshman guard Brynn Cameron ranks eighth nationally in three-point field goal percentage (43.6). As a team, USC ranks 24th in steals per game with an 11.4 per game average.

It's All About Hustle
Despite a 37.7 average field goal percentage, the Women of Troy have gotten this far thanks to pure hustle. USC has outrebounded opponents 39.7-to-38.3 (+1.4) and forced an average of 22.3 turnovers per game. The Trojans also lead the Pac-10 with an average of 16.59 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 2.86 offensive boards per game.

A True Team Effort
Eight players are averaging more that 6.0 points a game and six average more than 4.0 rebounds per outing. Eight players have taken turns leading the team in scoring through 22 games played this season, and six players have shared the lead in rebounding.

Team Effort vs. The Nation
How does USC's team effort stack-up against other Division I schools? The Trojans' eight different leading scorers ties for second, falling behind Morehead State who has had 10 players lead the team in scoring. 66.7 percent of USC's active roster (8-of-12) has led in scoring, ranking third behind Morehead State (83.3, 10-12) and Wright State (80.0, 8-10)

Turning the Corner
The Women of Troy collected a 7-2 record in the first half of the Pac-10 season, matching last season's start. It's the programs best league start since 1997 when the Trojans finished 16-2 and captured the Pac-10 title.

The Win Column
At 16-6, this remains USC's best record 22 games into the season since also going 16-6 during the 1997 season. It is also the first time since 1997 that the team began the conference season with a winning record (6-3). Before the loss to Stanford, its seven-game win streak was the longest since 1994.

Unfamiliar Territory
Currently ranked second, the Women of Troy have spent the season among the Pac-10's top three teams in three-point field goals made. It's unfamiliar territory for USC, which has finished no higher than fifth in the category over the last seven years. The Trojans are currently averaging 5.90 three-pointers per game. Oregon tops the list with a 6.29 average.

The Toughest Competition
Consider that of USC's six losses, four have been to ranked opponents (#20 DePaul, #6 Notre Dame, #23 UCLA, #5 Stanford), three of the five have been by four points or less (56-60 vs. Notre Dame, 73-76 at BYU, 61-62 at UCLA) and five have been on the road (11/20 at DePaul, 12/18 at BYU, 12/28 at UCLA, 1/22 at Stanford, 1/29 at Oregon).

USC-Arizona Connections
• The Wildcats have five California players on their roster, including center Danielle Adefeso (Los Angeles), forward/center Shannon Hobson (Perris), guard Linda Pace (San Diego) center Shawntinice Polk (Hanford) and forward Chari Smith (Los Angeles).
• Wildcat senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler and Trojan sophomore Chloé Kerr both hail from the Chicago area. Wheeler prepped at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in Chicago, while Kerr prepped at Bolingbrook (Ill.) High. Both played club basketball for Chicago Hoops Express.
• Common Opponents: Ironically, USC and Arizona both faced BYU in nonconference play this season and both posted the same final score. The difference is that the Wildcats beat the Cougars at BYU, 76-73, on Nov. 27, while USC lost 76-73 in Provo Dec. 18.

USC-Arizona State Connections
• Second-year Arizona State assistant coach Meg Sanders prepped at Poly High in Riverside, Calif., where she was a teammate of Hall of Famer and USC standout Cheryl Miller.
• Junior forward Jenny Thigpen is the only Arizona State player that hails from California. Thigpen prepped at Hanford (Calif.) High.
• Common Opponents: Arizona State and USC both defeated San Diego during nonconference play. The Sun Devils won 70-45 at home on Nov. 20 and the Women of Troy posted a 68-47 road victory on Dec. 17.

Washington Game Recap
USC hung on to its second-place Pac-10 Conference standing thanks to a 73-68 victory over Washington in front of 3,092 at the Sports Arena on Feb. 5. Thanks to a career-high 16 points, Kim Gipson led the Trojans to their first season sweep over the Washington schools in five years. Rachel Woodward also finished in double digits with 12 points. USC, which led by as much as 24 points in the second half, nearly let the game slip away. Ahead 65-41 with 12:49 remaining, the Women of Troy allowed Washington to take control of the game for nearly 11 minutes. USC made only one field goal and committed six fouls and four turnovers during this time. Meanwhile, the Huskies used a 24-5 run to come within five, 70-65, at the two-minute mark. Time eventually ran out for Washington as it was forced to foul the Trojans down the stretch. Jamie Hagiya hit a shot at the line and Camille LeNoir dropped in a layup as the clock ran down for a final 73-68 win. The Women of Troy led 43-24 at the half.

Washington State Game Recap
With the help of a 11-3 run to close-out the game, USC defeated Washington State, 69-62, on Jan. 3 at the Sports Arena. The Trojans, who led by as much as 13 points in the second half, allowed the Cougars to climb back in the game and take their first and only lead, 59-58, with 2:55 remaining. At that point, Camille LeNoir sparked USC on its final run by scoring eight of the Trojans final 11 points. LeNoir hit two jumpers and made four-of-four shots at the line to seal the win. The Cougars were held without a field goal during the three-minute span, collecting their final three points at the free throw line. Turnovers plagued the Women of Troy in the first half. After leading by 10 points (21-11) at 10:27, USC was held scoreless for nearly nine minutes and committed five turnovers during the span. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Washington State managed to tie the score at 23-23 with a 12-2 run of its own. Brynn Cameron ended the drought with a three-pointer and Jamie Funn buried a layup to give USC a 28-23 lead at the half. Cameron led the Women of Troy with 19 points, while LeNoir and Kim Gipson finished with 12 points apiece. Gipson and Meghan Gnekow each posted seven rebounds.

OPPONENT NOTES

Arizona State (15-7, 7-5 Pac-10) -- After winning six-straight nonconference games and notching an upset victory over UConn, 61-50, on Dec. 21, the Sun Devils garnered recognition in the polls early in the season. Since them the Sun Devils have fallen out of the rankings and are currently 7-5 in conference play. The team is coming off a win over California, 76-59, and loss at Stanford, 53-67. The team is currently led by sophomore forward Emily Westerberg, who is averaging 11.8 points per game. Forward Kristen Kovesdy and guard Kylan Loney are next on the list with 11.1 and 10.4 points per game, respectively. Rebounding duties are spread evenly, led by Westerberg and Aubrey Johnson, who average 4.8 and 4.6 boards per game, respectively.

Under ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne, Arizona State returned all five starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's squad. Last season, the Sun Devils went 17-12 overall and 11-7 in the Pac-10 to finish tied for third place, along with USC and UCLA. The team advanced to the first round of the WNIT.

USC-Arizona State Series Record -- The Women of Troy will face the Sun Devils for the 55th time in program history on Thursday and own a 46-8 (.852) advantage in the all-time series. USC has won the last five-straight match-ups, including a 66-45 win in Los Angeles on Jan. 16. Last season, the Women of Troy swept the Sun Devils - 68-65 in Tempe and 65-50 in Los Angeles.

Team ComparisonsTeam		Ppg	Margin	FG%	3-FG%	FT%	Rpg	Apg	TOpg	Spg	BpgUSC		67.8	+3.3	38.0	32.5	65.9	39.7	13.3	18.4	11.4	3.5Arizona State	63.0	+9.0	41.8	33.1	67.4	35.7	16.3	19.6	10.8	2.5

Arizona State Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg4 Emily Westerberg Forward 6-0 11.8 4.8 2.1 1.332 Aubree Johnson Forward 6-2 4.6 4.6 1.6 0.754 Kristen Kovesdy Forward 6-3 11.1 3.7 0.7 0.610 Kylan Loney Guard 5-7 10.4 1.7 2.4 1.030 Carrie Buckner Guard 5-9 4.7 4.4 2.2 2.3

Arizona (15-8, 7-5 Pac-10) -- The Wildcats are coming off a surprising sweep against the Bay Area school, falling to Stanford, 74-91, then suffering an upset at Cal, 61-70. The two losses extended Arizona's current three-game losing streak. Up until that point, the Wildcats were competing for second place in the Pac-10 after having begun the conference season with a 7-2 record. The Wildcats went 8-2 against nonconference opponents, including key wins over Saint Mary's, BYU, UTEP and UC Santa Barbara. The team is led by senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler who is averaging 17.5 points per game. Wheeler also averages a team-best 4.6 assists and 3.0 steals per game. Center Shawntinice Polk is the only other player in double figures with 13.6 points per game, while leading the team with 8.0 boards per outing.

Under 14th-year head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona returned four starters and nine total letterwinners from last year's squad. The Wildcats went 24-9 overall in 2004, posted a 14-4 mark in the Pac-10 to finish first and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

USC-Arizona Series Record -- Saturday's game will be the 54th all-time meeting between these two schools. USC owns a 38-15 (.717) advantage over Arizona after beating the Wildcats in the first meeting of the season, 67-54 in Los Angeles on Jan. 14. Last year, the Trojans and Wildcats each won on their home court. USC fell 64-75 in Tucson and won 68-66 in Los Angeles.

Team ComparisonsTeam	Ppg	Margin	FG%	3-FG%	FT%	Rpg	Apg	TOpg	Spg	BpgUSC	67.8	+3.3	38.0	32.5	65.9	39.7	13.3	18.4	11.4	3.5Arizona	71.1	+5.8	43.9	32.4	64.4	37.9	14.7	17.7	9.0	4.2

Arizona Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg44 Danielle Adefeso Forward 6-2 5.6 4.2 0.4 0.300 Shawntinice Polk Center 6-5 13.6 8.0 2.1 1.111 Dee-Dee Wheeler Guard 5-6 17.5 5.0 4.6 3.020 Jessica Arnold Guard 5-4 9.4 2.6 1.2 0.823 Natalie Jones Guard 5-10 8.7 5.1 2.3 1.2

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