Women Of Troy Set For Pac-10 Tournament

March 1, 2005

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THIS WEEK


SATURDAY, MARCH 5, AT 7:15 P.M.
VS. ARIZONA AT HP PAVILION IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.
LIVE AUDIO: WWW.USCTROJANS.COM

THE FACTS
The No. 4 seed USC women's basketball team (18-9, 12-6 Pac-10) opens Pac-10 Tournament play against No. 5 seed Arizona (19-10, 11-7) on Saturday (March 5) at 7:15 p.m. at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The game will be broadcast live at www.usctrojans.com. USC is in the midst of its best season since 1997, which is the last year that the Women of Troy played in the NCAA Tournament. Under first-year coach Mark Trakh, USC has reached 18 wins for the first time since the 1997 team won 20 games. USC's 12 Pac-10 wins are also the mist since the 1997 team won 13. The 12-6 finish was good for a three-way tie for second-place with Oregon and Arizona State, marking Troy's highest standing since winning the Pac-10 crown in 1994.

USC PAC-10 TOURNAMENT HISTORY
USC is seeded No. 4 for the second time in the four-year history of the Pac-10 Tournament. USC was a No. 4 seed when it fell to Oregon State in 2002. The Women of Troy were a No. 7 seed in 2003 when it defeated No. 10 Washington State before falling to No. 2 Washington. In 2004, USC was a No. 3 seed when it fell again to Washington, which was No. 6, in the first round. Despite being tied for second this year in the conference standings, USC fell to No. 4 because Oregon and Arizona State held tiebreaker advantages over the Trojans.

OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION
USC is coming off one off of its two highest scoring games of the season, a 103-69 win over California on Feb. 20 and an 80-77 decision over UCLA on Feb. 26. The Cal win marked the most points by a Trojan women's team since 1994 and the first time the Women of Troy topped the century mark since 1997. Freshman guard Brynn Cameron scored a game-high 19 points on five three-pointers while Rachel Woodward went a perfect 8-of-8 from the field for 16 points. USC's field goal percentage of 59.7 was its best since canning 63.2% against Oregon State on March 1, 2003. Point guards Jamie Hagiya (12) and Camille LeNoir (seven) both posted career highs in assists as five Trojans scored in double figures. The back-to-back 80-point-plus games marked the first time USC did it since 2003.

* 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 4.8 rebounds per game.

* 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 letter-winners and four newcomers.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Trojans are 11-2 this season when playing in Los Angeles (7-2 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.

EVERYONE GETS THEIR TURN
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, Rachel Woodward, Meghan Gnekow, Brynn Cameron and Camille LeNoir enjoying the most success at 4-0.

CAMERON AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
According to NCAA rankings released on Feb. 20, freshman guard Brynn Cameron ranks 19th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (42.7).

IT'S ALL ABOUT HUSTLE
Despite a 38.2 field goal percentage, the Women of Troy have gotten this far thanks to pure hustle. USC has outrebounded opponents 40.1-to-38.8 (+1.3) and forced an average of 22.0 turnovers per game. The Trojans also lead the Pac-10 with an average of 16.85 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 3.12 offensive boards per game.

A TRUE TEAM EFFORT
Seven players are averaging at least 6.9 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.

TURNING THE CORNER
The Women of Troy finished 7-2 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.

THE WIN COLUMN
At 18-9, this remains USC's best record through 27 games since going 19-8 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.

Brynn Cameron's RECORD PACE
USC freshman Brynn Cameron already broke the school season record for three-pointers with 66 and is in sight of the Pac-10's top 10 list for most treys in a season. She needs five more tie Stanford's Katy Steding (1999) for 10th at 71 (though UCLA junior Lisa Willis, who has 68 threes this year, may get there first). Cameron is also close to Erica Mashia's school record for three-point percentage in a season (43.7%). Cameron is at 42.0%, which would be good for second place. Cameron's 157 three-point attempts are also the second-most ever in a season at USC, behind only Kristin Clark's 169 in 1998.

THREE-POINT FACTS CONTINUED
In addition to Brynn Cameron's individual efforts, USC is re-writing its three-point records as a team. The Women of Troy have already shattered the team season record of 118 (1996) and have made 169 entering the Pac-10 Tournament. The Women of Troy lead the Pac-10 in three-pointers made (6.22) 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 TOUGHEST COMPETITION
Consider that of USC's nine losses, five have been to ranked opponents (#20 DePaul, #6 Notre Dame, #23 UCLA, #5 Stanford, #2 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.

UCLA GAME RECAP
Freshman Brynn Cameron posted her first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds as every USC starter scored in double figures in a nail-biting 80-77 win against crosstown rival UCLA in front of a season-high 5,222 fans at the Sports Arena on Feb. 26. UCLA led early at 15-5. But USC tied the game at 20-20 at 11:00 and ground out a 47-42 lead at the half. USC made nine of its school-record-tying 12 three-pointers in the first half, including four in the final 2:25, two each by Cameron and junior Meghan Gnekow. The Trojans maintained a small lead for most of the second half, but it was never more than six. That was the lead when Eshaya Murphy made two free throws to give USC a 72-66 edge with 5:11 to play. UCLA crawled back, though, and pulled to within 72-71 with 1:34 to play. USC responded with five free throws in row to go up 77-71 with 41 seconds to go, but Willis answered with a three-pointer. UCLA then had two chances to tie the game at the foul line, but Willis only made 2-of-3 free throws to pull UCLA within 77-76 with 12 ticks left. Murphy next made 1-of-2 at the line to give USC a two-point lead, but UCLA's Nikki Blue got fouled on the Bruins' next possession and was sent to the line. But she also only made 1-of-2. Trojan freshman point guard Camille LeNoir was fouled immediately and coolly hit both of her foul shots to give USC its 80-77 lead with four seconds to go. UCLA's final game-tying three-point attempt was off-base, sending the Women of Troy into a mid-court celebration. Playing in their final home games as seniors, Rachel Woodward and Kim Gipson scored 10 points apiece. LeNoir finished with 14 points and five assists and three steals. Gnekow ended up with 12 points and eight boards.

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