No. 21 USC Women Stay On The Road
Nov. 22, 2005
HERE AND NOW
The USC women's basketball team has returned to the mainland, but remains on the road for a pair of games this week. The Women of Troy head to Long Beach to face head coach Mark Trakh's alma mater Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 23), and then travel to South Bend, Ind., to play Notre Dame at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 27).
RANK AND FILE
USC (2-0) is ranked No. 21 in this week's USA Today/ESPN Poll and is No. 24 according to the Associated Press. Long Beach State (0-2) is unranked, and Notre Dame (2-0) is ranked No. 13 by AP and is No. 15 according to USA Today/ESPN. Notre Dame is USC's first ranked opponent of the season.
The Trojans traveled to Hawai'i last week to play in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic. There, USC opened its season against host Hawai'i on Nov. 19, and the Women of Troy outlasted the Rainbow Wahine for an 80-71 victory. Four different Trojans scored in double figures in the win, led by 15-point performances by Chloé Kerr and Eshaya Murphy. Camille LeNoir scored 14 points, and Allison Jaskowiak scored a career-high 12 points in teh win. Kerr also picked up a double-double with 13 rebounds for USC. The following day, USC dominated the boards and overpowered Eastern Illinois in a 68-53 win to improve to 2-0 on the season. Murphy led the Trojans with 17 points, as four different players hit double figures once more for USC. Kerr had another career-high 15 points, LeNoir had 10, and Jamie Hagiya added 12.
Three Women of Troy were named to the All-Tournament Team at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic. For her dominating presense on the boards and in the key, junior center Chloé Kerr was named Tournament MVP after hitting career highs with 15 points and 13 rebounds against Hawai'i. She finished the tourney with 30 points and tore down 21 rebounds. She was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammates Eshaya Murphy and Camille LeNoir. Junior guard Murphy scored 32 points and 15 rebounds in USC's two games, and freshman guard LeNoir had 24 points and 10 assists.
TWO FOR THE ROAD
For the first time since the 2002-03 season, USC has jumped out to a 2-0 start with a pair of wins at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic. The Trojans had split in their first two games for the previous two seasons. After their opening win against Hawai'i, the Women of Troy now improve to 24-5 all-time in their season openers and 17-10 in opening road games.
The USC women's basketball team had four players score in double figures in both games at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic. Chloé Kerr, Eshaya Murphy and Camille LeNoir all hit double digits in both games, as the Trojans had eight and seven different scorers, respectively, emerge against Hawai'i and Eastern Illinois.
USC rang up a hefty number of rebounds on Nov. 20 against Eastern Illinois. The Women of Troy hit the boards and ripped down 52 total rebounds, including 27 offensive rebounds. That mark bettered last season's top offensive boards mark of 26, set on Feb. 12, 2005 against Arizona. The Trojans last tallied 52 total rebounds also against Arizona last season on March 5.
PRESEASON PICK 'EM
Last season's 20-11 overall record, second-place finish in the Pac-10 and second-round NCAA Tournament appearance -- coupled with a daunting 10 returners back -- translated into several preseason rankings for the Women of Troy. In 2004-05, the Trojans were one of five Pac-10 teams to reach the NCAA Tournament and win at least one game. This season, USC has been picked to finish No. 2 behind No. 1 Stanford in the Pac-10 Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the Pac-10 Media Poll behind UCLA. In the larger 2005-06 scene, USC also was chosen among the elite top 25 teams in the nation, selected at No. 22 standing in the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Poll and a No. 24 slot in the Associated Press Top 25 Women's Basketball Poll. The Women of Troy join five other Pac-10 schools in the national preseason polls. In the Athlon preseason poll, USC picked up its highest ranking at No. 16, while Lindy's has the 2005-06 Trojans at No. 21.
BACK IN ACTION
USC returns 10 players from last season to this year's roster, and has added to it one highly regarded recruit, one walk-on player and a complete coaching staff with their first season at Troy tucked solidly under their belts. All told, almost 80 percent of the Trojans' scoring production returns to the court for the 2005-06 campaign. Leading the way are a pair of sophomore guards -- Camille LeNoir and Brynn Cameron -- who started as freshmen and emerged as the Trojans' top two scorers. The pair accounted for 18.5 points per game last season. Even mightier as a group is this year's junior class of six -- comprised of Jamie Hagiya, Jamie Funn, Eshaya Murphy, Chloe Kerr, Allison Jaskowiak and Markisha Lea. That group averaged a combined 27.1 ppg, 17.2 rpg, 6.16 apg and 5.0 spg last season as sophomores, and all six are set to hit the court in 2005-06 as well. Now the lone senior on the squad, Meghan Gnekow brings back her experience and adept skills on the boards as the team's leading rebounder (5.8 rpg last season) and defensive stopper.
Of USC's 11 losses in 2004-05, six were against Top-25 teams, six were by four points or fewer and nine came on the road.
The home courts at Troy (Sports Arena and Lyon Center) largely has been a secure place for the Women of Troy. Only two teams got the best of the Trojans on their home floor last season, and the 2005-06 ride will mark the final season before the opening of the new, highly anticipated 10,258-seat Galen Center (set to open for the 2006-07 season). This season's Pac-10 schedule opens up at the Lyon Center and the final 2005-06 conference game on USC hardwood is set for Feb. 11 at the Sports Arena.
Four Opponents Ranked In Top 25
USC's schedule features four opponents ranked in the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 preseason polls, including No. 4 Ohio State (Dec. 11), No. 11/10 Stanford (Dec. 30 and Jan. 29), No. 15 Notre Dame (Nov. 27), and No. 20/18 Arizona State (Jan. 6 and Feb. 2). UCLA, TCU, Oregon and Arizona also all received votes in the polls.
Long Beach Connections
USC head coach Mark Trakh is a Long Beach State alum, having graduated from LBSU in 1981. Long Beach State freshman Amanda Foster is the only 49er from Los Angeles, having played at Marshall HS.
Notre Dame Connections
USC has no players from Indiana, although junior center Chloe Kerr hails from just outside Chicago -- about two hours from South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame senior captain Courtney LaVere is the only Fighting Irish player from California. LeVere is from Ventura, and attended Buena HS.
Women's Basketball On LA Airwaves
KMPC-AM 1540 -- USC's flagship station -- will air six Women of Troy basketball games this season, beginning with USC's home opener against TCU on Dec. 4. 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 following games: Dec. 4 vs. TCU; Jan. 6 vs. Arizona State; Jan. 21 vs. UCLA; Jan. 27 vs. California, Jan. 29 vs. Stanford; and Feb. 18 vs. UCLA.