USC Women Host UCLA Bruins on Saturday
Jan. 17, 2006
HERE AND NOW
The USC women's basketball team returns home to face crosstown rival UCLA at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 21) at the Sports Arena. Live stats will be available online at www.usctrojans.com, and the game also will be broadcast live by FoxSports and on KMPC 1540-AM.
RANK AND FILE
USC (12-5, 6-2) is unranked but is receiving votes in both polls. UCLA (10-7, 5-3) is unranked.
Sophomore guard Símone Jelks is sidelined for 2-6 weeks with a sprained left knee suffered against Oregon State on Dec. 20. Junior forward Jamie Funn will be out the remainder of the 2005-06 season after having hip surgery on Jan. 18. Her final game was against No. 25 Washington on Jan. 14.
GRAB THE GAUNTLET
This Saturday's clash between the Women of Troy and the Bruins offers a chance for USC to extend its lead over UCLA in the year-long Lexus Gauntlet competition. USC currently leads UCLA 25-10 after the fall sports season. The Gauntlet challenge incorporates all 18 sports in which USC and UCLA teams face off.
USC tacked up its first Pac-10 road wins of the season with an 81-60 win over WSU and a tight 64-61 win over No. 25 Washington. Against WSU, Jamie Hagiya finished with a career-high 16 points and Eshaya Murphy led all scorers with 18 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Hagiya also dished up a game-high seven assists. Both teams nailed 11 3-pointers in the game, but the Women of Troy stayed ahead of the Cougars with a balanced attack that saw 10 different players score by halftime. Center Chloé Kerr finished as the Trojans' third double-digit scorer with 14 points. With a 41-29 lead at halftime, Hagiya stepped up and got hot from 3-point range. She pumped in three 3-pointers and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to help USC shoot 50 percent from the floor in the half. She and Murphy finished with four 3-pointers apiece in the win. Against Washington, Murphy matched that 3-point performance to help USC to its second win over a ranked team in two weeks, ending the Huskies' 12-game home win streak. USC had a tag-team scoring effort from Murphy and Camille LeNoir, as Murphy had 13 points, eight rebounds and six steals in the first half. Washington held a 31-28 lead at halftime, but Murphy nailed a 3-pointer to open the second half and get closer to her game-high 19 points. LeNoir then drilled 14 of her final 18 points during the second half. Meanwhile, Gnekow controlled the boards in the second half with seven, including one huge offensive rebound followed by two free throws on the ensuing foul to take a 62-61 lead with 1:30 to go. Washington then missed its next four free-throw attempts in the final 27 seconds of play. One last Gnekow rebound and quick timeout as she held onto the ball and hit the ground was all it took for USC to hold the lead. LeNoir finished things off with one last pair of perfect free throws to get USC up 64-61 with just a couple ticks left on the clock.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS
The Bruins are 10-7 overall and 5-3 in Pac-10 play after falling 96-75 at Washington and then beating Washington State 73-63 last week. UCLA went 16-12 overall last season and finished sixth in the Pac-10 at 10-8. Kathy Olivier is in her 13th season as head coach of the Bruins, who return five starters and 12 letterwinners. UCLA has four players averaging in double figures, led by Lisa Willis with 18.6 points per game. Noelle Quinn is next with 16.2, and Nikki Blue and Lindsey Pluimer average 12.5 and 10.5, respectively.
USC-UCLA Series Record -- USC is 35-31 all-time against the Bruins and 19-12 against them at home. The teams splits games last season, with the last meeting an 80-77 USC home win.
MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAW
Junior guard Eshaya Murphy has led the Women of Troy in scoring 10 times so far this season and has hit double figures in 11 straight games now -- 16 total. She's now topped out with a career-high 22 points three times -- first against TCU on Dec. 4, again vs. Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 16, and then once more against No. 9 Arizona State on Jan. 6. Against Washington State, she pinned up her first double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Sophomore point guard Camille LeNoir has been a key part of the balanced attack for the Women of Troy. She's been one of USC's top distributors with 3.6 assists per game and has scored in double digits in every game but three. In her first start for USC on Dec. 20, she finished with just four points, but dished up a season-high six assists. Since then, she had a career-high 24 against California on Jan. 1 that came along with a career-best five 3-pointers, and hit a pair of jumpers to get USC into the lead against No. 9 Arizona State on Jan. 6 in a 13-point outing.
HAGIYA HEATS UP
USC junior point guard Jamie Hagiya had a hot night against Washington State, matching her career high of 16 points on four 3-pointers and a percent effort from the free-throw line. With seven assists in the game, Hagiya moved up as USC's leader with 3.8 assists per game. She began the season by going from season highs to career highs in a span of two games when she first nailed a season-best 13 points and three 3-pointers against LMU, and then upped the ante with four 3-pointers on her way to a career-high 16 points and grabbed a career-best seven steals against Cal State Northridge.
CAMERON IN CONTROL
Sophomore guard Brynn Cameron hit her stride in USC's Dec. 20 win over Oregon State, getting back to her dangerous ways from the 3-point arc with a career-high six 3-pointers. Cameron nailed three straight in USC's comeback rally in the second half. Her six threes tied her own school record for 3-pointers in a single game and helped her match her career high of 20 points. With 11 3-pointers in the game, USC finished one shy of a program best for team threes in a game.
JASKOWIAK OFF THE PINE AND ON THE RADAR
Allison Jaskowiak is a bench-warmer no more. Stifling defensive pressure and tenacious rebounding have earned the junior guard/forward a starting job in USC's past three Pac-10 games, giving her six starts on the season. She's gone from averaging just 7.7 minutes a game as a sophomore to 23.3 mpg as a junior, doubled her career high scoring to 12 points, scored in nine games and doubled her previous career total rebounds and 3-pointers with 57 boards and six threes so far this season.
PARKER IN THE PAINT
Freshman center Nadia Parker has made a home for herself in the key. She's scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the past three games, setting career marks in rebounds with seven against Cal on Jan. 1 and then topping out with 10 points and a pair of steals against Arizona on Jan. 8.
The home courts at Troy (Sports Arena and Lyon Center) largely have been a secure place for the Women of Troy. Only two teams got the best of the Trojans at home 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). The final conference game on USC hardwood is set for Feb. 11 at the Sports Arena. The Trojans are 7-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming to then-No. 4 Ohio State.
The USC women's basketball team has had at least three players score in double figures in 10 games so far this year after the Jan. 12 win over Washington State. Not only that, the Trojans had 10 players score for the second time this season. In an earlier dominating win over Cal State Northridge, six players nailed double digits and all 10 players who hit the court scored in the game. At the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic, four players hit double digits in both games. Chloé Kerr, Eshaya Murphy and Camille LeNoir all hit double digits twice, as the Trojans had eight and seven different scorers, respectively, emerge against Hawai'i and Eastern Illinois. Against Notre Dame, Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State, the Women of Troy produced another balanced attack with four double-digit scorers.
USC's .526 shooting percentage in its 94-54 win over Cal State Fullerton was the Trojans' first time shooting over the .500 mark this season and the first such effort since Feb. 2, 2005 when they posted a .597 effort against California. Chloé Kerr had a big role in the .526 output with a .900 effort on 9-of-10 shooting. No Trojan had hit such a high mark since 1987, leaving Kerr tied at No. 5 all-time for her single-game shooting percentage against the Titans.
BACK ON THE BOARDS
USC's 27 offensive rebounds in its season opener against Eastern Illinois bettered last season's top offensive boards mark of 26, set on Feb. 12, 2005 against Arizona. USC had 52 total rebounds in that game, but bettered that mark once more against Cal State Fullerton with 55 rebounds. USC hadn't hit such a high mark on the boards since tearing down 58 against New Mexico on Nov. 21, 2003.
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 had the 2005-06 Trojans at No. 21.
COUNTDOWN TO GALEN
This season marks the final stint for the USC women and men in the Lyon Center and Sports Arena, as the Trojans eagerly await the completion of the highly anticipated Galen Center. The Galen is set to be the new home for basketball and volleyball for the 2006-07 season. All systems are go over at the new site, with construction in its final stages for the impressive facility. The structure is located on the corner of Jefferson and Figueroa, and will contain a 255,000 square-foot arena capable of seating 10,258 fans. Locker rooms, practice courts, offices and more will also find shelter within the Galen Center walls.
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, Chloé 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. 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.
Women's Basketball On LA Airwaves
KMPC-AM 1540 -- USC's flagship station -- is airing 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.
All of USC's home games can be followed with Gametracker and Live Audio at www.usctrojans.com. The audio broadcasts can be accessed by purchasing a Trojan All-Access Pass through the multimedia link at usctrojans.com. For games not broadcast by KMPC-AM 1540, Jonathan Horowitz will provide the play-by-play and Alex Schneiders will provide color commentary.