Women of Troy Host No. 2 Stanford On Friday, California On Sunday

Feb. 16, 2005

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Friday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.
vs. No. 2 Stanford at the Sports Arena
Live Audio: KMPC-AM 1540 and www.usctrojans.com

Sunday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m.

vs. California at the Sports Arena
Live Audio: KMPC-AM 1540 and www.usctrojans.com

Despite falling twice in the desert last week, the USC women's basketball team (16-8, 10-5 Pac-10) returns home for the second-to-last weekend of the season alone in second place in the conference. But standing in the way this week is No. 2 and Pac-10 leader Stanford (22-2, 13-1) on Friday (Feb. 18) at 7 p.m. and California (9-14, 3-11 Pac-10) on Sunday (Feb. 20) at 2 p.m. The games can be followed with live on KMPC-AM 1540 and at www.usctrojans.com.

Though USC fell at Arizona State on Thursday (49-45) and at Arizona (87-74) on Saturday, the weekend was not without some highlights. Junior Meghan Gnekow led the team in scoring (13.5) and rebounding (8.0) on the trip while senior Kim Gipson averaged 10.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. Sophomore Jamie Funn also had a strong pair of games, averaging 9.0 points and 8.5 boards. The Trojans also showed some resiliency in their game in Tempe, erasing a 16-point second-half deficit to almost pull out an amazing comeback.

* USC's season-finale against crosstown rival UCLA on Feb. 26 will be televised by FOX Sports Net, the Pac-10 announced on Monday (Feb. 14). The game time remains at 3 p.m.

* 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 7.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

* The Women of Troy remain in second place in the Pac-10 standings, a half game ahead of Arizona State, Oregon and Arizona (all tied at 9-5) and one game ahead of UCLA (9-6).

* The Trojans' wrapped up a stint in which they played six games on the road in a four-week span. They now get to finish up at home with three games in a row.

* It's a new start for USC as it continues play in the 2004-05 season under first-year head coach Mark Trakh. Trakh, who was hired in April and boasts a history of success after spending 11 seasons at nearby Pepperdine and 13 years at the prep level, has high hopes for his young squad made up of nine returning letterwinners and four newcomers.

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.

USC is 10-1 when scoring first, 12-0 when leading at the half and 14-0 when leading with five minutes remaining.

Against Oregon, USC utilized its ninth starting lineup of the season. No lineup has played together for more than five games (see page 6), with the group of Kim Gipson, Jamie Funn, Meghan Gnekow, Brynn Cameron and Camille LeNoir enjoying the most success at 3-2.

According to NCAA rankings released on Feb. 13, freshman guard Brynn Cameron ranks 25th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (41.7).

Despite a 37.7 average field goal percentage, the Women of Troy have gotten this far thanks to pure hustle. USC has outrebounded opponents 40.2-to-38.7 (+1.5) and forced an average of 22.2 turnovers per game. The Trojans also lead the Pac-10 with an average of 17.13 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 3.04 offensive boards per game.

Eight players are averaging at least 5.9 points a game and six average at least 3.9 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.

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)

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 1994 when the Trojans finished 16-2 and captured the Pac-10 title.

At 16-8, this remains USC's best record through 24 games since going 17-7 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.

USC is re-writing its three-point records. The Women of Troy have already shattered the team season record of 118 (1996) and have made 140 with at least four games remaining. The Women of Troy are second in three-pointer per game in the Pac-10 and have spent all season among the top three teams. It's unfamiliar territory for USC, which finished no higher than fifth in the category over the last seven years. The Trojans are currently averaging 5.80 three-pointers per game. Oregon tops the list with a 6.29 average.

Consider that of USC's eight losses, four have been to ranked opponents (#20 DePaul, #6 Notre Dame, #23 UCLA, #5 Stanford), four have been by four points or less (56-60 vs. Notre Dame, 73-76 at BYU, 61-62 at UCLA, 45-49 at ASU) and seven have been on the road.

Sophomores Jamie Funn and Eshaya Murphy led a USC comeback that saw Troy erase a 16-point second-half deficit, but the Trojans didn't have quite enough to finish off the game, falling at Arizona State, 49-45, on Feb. 10. Funn tied her career high of 13 points and added a season-high 10 rebounds for her second career double-double while Murphy scored all eight of her points in the second half, including a three-pointer with 3:38 to play that tied the game at 43-43. The trey from Murphy capped a 19-3 run that saw USC turn a 40-24 game with 15:00 to go into a a knotted affair. Arizona State regained the lead and led 47-43 when junior Meghan Gnekow brought USC to within two on a short jumper with 1:44 to go. USC held on defense and sophomore Jamie Hagiya was fouled with 56 seconds to go, but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw attempt. ASU's Emily Westerberg made 1-of-2 foul shots on the other end to give the Sun Devils a 48-45 lead with 18 seconds left, but USC failed to get a shot off on the ensuing possession. Gnekow finished with 10 points and six boards while Chloe Kerr added nine rebounds in 18 minutes.

Junior Meghan Gnekow had 17 points and 10 rebounds while senior Kim Gipson added 14 points and seven rebounds, but USC fell victim to a hot-shooting Arizona team in an 87-74 loss at McKale Center on Feb. 12 in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona made 11-of-16 three-pointers (68.8%) and shot 50.8% percent from the field while USC connected on just 34.1%. The Wildcats also edged the Trojans 45 to 43 on the glass.Freshman Camille LeNoir added 10 points for USC while Chloe Kerr had nine. The Wildcats led by 11 early in the first half before the Trojans used a 7-0 run to make it a four-point game (34-30). Arizona responded with 12 straight points to close out the half and make it a 46-30 game. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led a group of five Wildcats in double-digit scoring with a game-high 25 points. A pair of Wildcat three-pointers early in the second half gave Arizona its biggest lead of the game (54-35). The Women of Troy used a 7-0 run midway through the second half to cut the Wildcat lead to 10 at 65-55, but it was as close as USC would get.

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 remaining games: Feb. 18 vs. Stanford, Feb. 20 vs. Cal and Feb. 26 vs. UCLA.

All of USC's home games can be followed with either Live Stats or Live Audio at www.usctrojans.com. The audio broadcasts can be accessed by purchasing a Team Pass at yahoo.com. For games not broadcast by KMPC 1540-AM, Jonathan Horowitz will provide the play-by-play and Alex Schnieders will provide color commentary.

• A 94-58 loss to then No. 5 Stanford on Jan. 22 made a couple of marks in the USC opponent recordbooks: Stanford's 36-point victory ties for ninth among all-time records and the Cardinal's 63.0 field goal percentage ranks 10th.• Between Jan. 2 and Jan. 20, the Women of Troy tallied seven consecutive victories for their longest win streak in 11 years (since 1994).• USC's win over No. 25 Arizona State on Jan. 16 marked its first win 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.


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