USC Enters Last Stand At The Sports Arena
Feb. 7, 2006
HERE AND NOW
USC returns home to take up its final stand at the Sports Arena this week. The Women of Troy host third-place Washington at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 9), and then face Washington State at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Live audio and stats of both games will be available online at www. usctrojans.com.
RANK AND FILE
USC (14-8, 8-5) is not ranked this week. Washington (15-6, 8-4) and Washington State (7-14, 1-11) also are unranked. The Trojans currently sit just behind the Huskies in the Pac-10 standings, putting the third-place slot in the Pac-10 up for grabs this Thursday.
INJURY REPORTJunior 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. Sophomore guard Brynn Cameron is out indefinitely with a hip injury. Her last game for USC was Jan. 21 against UCLA.
USC got its 14th win of the season last week after pulling out a tight 73-72 victory at Arizona, then had a tough loss at Arizona State when the Sun Devils took a late lead and held onto it from the free-throw line for a 79-72 USC loss. Against Arizona, Meghan Gnekow had her second double-double after tearing down a key defensive rebound for the Trojans with less than 20 seconds to go in the game. The senior captain finished with a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. USC led by as much as 11 in the second half, but that lead was eaten up by a 13-0 Arizona run that brought the Wildcats into the lead at 72-68 with 1:20 on the clock. Chloé Kerr nailed two free throws with 46 secs to go to grab back the lead for USC at 73-72. A missed Wildcat try was snagged by Gnekow, and although Jamie Hagiya was unable to convert the front end of her one-and-one free-throw opportunity, Eshaya Murphy ripped down one last Arizona miss and got the ball into the hands of teammate Allison Jaskowiak, who slipped the ball to Hagiya to wind down the clock and sidestep any chances of a last-second Arizona shot attempt. Gnekow was joined in double figures by Murphy with 16 points. Murphy also added nine rebounds, and Jaskowiak pulled down a career-high eight boards. USC had four players finish in double figures and had two players with double-doubles in the loss at ASU. Murphy led the Women of Troy with 20 points and 12 rebounds -- her 16th consecutive game with double digits -- and Kerr had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The loss broke the second-place tie between USC and ASU in the Pac-10 standings. In the first half, USC had to dig itself out of a 10-point hole. The Trojans trailed the entire half until five minutes to go. From there, the teams traded leads until Kerr tied it up at 27-27 with a layup. Murphy then sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around another Kerr basket to get USC to a 35-31 lead. ASU held a 10-point lead going into the final two minutes of play until Gnekow nailed a 3-pointer. Forced to foul, USC went back to trail 69-60, but Gnekow drilled another three with a minute left to make it 69-63 ASU. In the final minute, Camille LeNoir got the Trojans within four at 74-70 with 30 seconds left, but ASU made good on its next five free throws to ward off any hopes of a USC comeback. In addition to Murphy's 20-point, 12-rebound effort, Meghan Gnekow and Camille LeNoir each scored 14 points for the Trojans.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON -- The Huskies (15-6, 8-4) sit in third place in the Pac-10 after beating Washington State 83-57 last week. Washington is not ranked, but is receiving votes in the AP poll. Last season, the Huskies went 14-6 and finished seventh in the Pac-10 at 9-9. Head coach June Daugherty is in her 10th season at Washington. The Huskies are led in scoring by Cameo Hicks with 14.5 points per game.
USC-UW Series Record -- USC is 17-25 all-time against UW and 11-8 at home. USC has won the past three meetings with UW. When the Trojans and the Huskies last met, USC handed Washington its first home loss in 12 games with a 64-61 victory on Jan. 14.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE -- The Cougars (7-14, 1-11) are in last place in the Pac-10, recently getting their first win in an 84-77 victory over Arizona before falling 83-57 to Washington last week. Last season, WSU went 6-22 overall and finished ninth in the Pac-10 at 2-16. Head coach Sherri Murrell is in her fourth season at WSU. The Cougars are led in scoring by Keisha Moore, who averages 10.8 points per game.
USC-WSU Series Record -- USC is 30-11 all-time against WSU and is 16-4 at home. USC is on an 11-game win streak against the Cougars. USC won the last meeting in an 81-60 victory in Pullman on Jan. 12.
Senior captain Meghan Gnekow has worked her way into and upwards on the USC career 3-point shooting charts and now sits at No. 6 all-time with 90 threes. That puts Gnekow just one 3-pointer away from injured sophomore Brynn Cameron's 91, who was just recently passed up by Eshaya Murphy with 93 career threes. The threesome have a stronghold on the 4-5-6 slots on the career list.
MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAW
Junior guard Eshaya Murphy has led USC in scoring 14 times so far this season and has hit double figures in 16 straight games now -- 21 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 once more against No. 9 ASU on Jan. 6. Against WSU, she pinned up her first double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and got a second one vs. UCLA with 20 points, 12 rebounds. Now with 49 three-pointers on the season, Murphy has more than matched her previous career total and now ranks No. 4 all-time with 93 threes.
Sophomore point guard Camille LeNoir has been a key part of the balanced attack for the Women of Troy. She's USC's top distributor with 3.9 assists per game and has scored in double digits in every game but five. 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 hit a new career-high 24 points 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. Against UCLA, LeNoir knocked in a career night with 27 points (22 in the second half and 12-of-14 from the free-throw line) and seven assists, earning her Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.
HAGIYA HEATS UP
USC junior point guard Jamie Hagiya had a hot night against Washington State on Jan. 12, matching her career high of 16 points on four 3-pointers and a 100 percent effort from the free-throw line. 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. She's second on the team in assists with 3.5 per game and third in steals with 1.6 per 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 eight Pac-10 games, giving her 14 starts on the season. She's gone from averaging just 7.7 minutes a game as a sophomore to 25.2 mpg as a junior, doubled her career high scoring to 12 points, scored in 15 games and more than doubled her previous career total rebounds and 3-pointers with 80 boards and seven threes so far this season. Against Arizona on Feb. 2, she pulled down a career-high eight rebounds.
PARKER IN THE PAINT
Freshman center Nadia Parker has made a home for herself in the key. She's scored in the past 10 games, and set career marks in rebounds with seven against Cal on Jan. 1 and then topped out with 10 points and a pair of steals against Arizona on Jan. 8.
LOSS IN THE DESERT
USC's 79-72 loss at ASU marked the most points scored against USC and the first time the Trojans had scored over 70 points and lost this season. It also marked the third time this season that USC has lost after leading at halftime, and the second time losing with four players in double figures. It also was the first time two Trojans had double-doubles.
TAGTEAM, BACK AGAIN
Guards Eshaya Murphy and Camille LeNoir created a dangerous scoring tandem in USC's biggest wins this season. As the trend goes, Murphy was the hot-handed one in the first half, followed by LeNoir's cool and collected second-half spikes. In the Jan. 6 win over then-No. 9 ASU, Murphy scored 11 points -- all from the field -- in the second half and finished with a career-best 22. LeNoir then stepped in and drilled eight of her final 13 in the second. The following weekend at No. 25 Washington, Murphy poured in 13 first-half points (finished with 19), and LeNoir pumped in 14 second-half points on the way to an 18-point night. In a tight win over UCLA, Murphy nailed four 3-pointers and had 16 points by halftime before giving way to LeNoir's sharpshooting from the field and the free-throw line. Murphy finished with 20 points on 67 percent shooting, and LeNoir added a career-high 27 -- 22 of which came in the second half (11 in second-half free throws).
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 8-3 at home this season.
The USC women's basketball team has had at least three players score in double figures in 12 games so far this year, suffering their first loss with three double-digit scorers on Jan. 29 vs. Stanford. 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, Oregon State and at ASU, 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 is the Trojans' only time shooting over the .500 mark so far 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 hasn'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.
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.
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.