USC Earns No. 22 Preseason Ranking In USA Today/ESPN Poll

Nov. 1, 2006

The expectations of the USC women's basketball team are coming out similar to last year's start, as the Women of Troy have received a No. 22 preseason ranking in the WBCA's USA Today/ESPN poll, released today. The Trojans were a No. 22 pick last season as well in the poll, and ended up with a 19-12 overall record after making a trip to the NCAA Second Round.

This year, the Women of Troy are joined by five other Pac-10 teams in the USA Today/ESPN preseason Top 25. USC earned an even 100 points in the poll, coming in just 14 points behind No. 21 California, with defending conference champ Stanford leading all the Pac-10 squads at No. 4 with 655 points. The 2006-07 Trojans return 11 players to the roster this season and have added four freshmen and two walk-ons. Headlining the load of returning talent to Troy this year is senior Wade Trophy Candidate Shay Murphy, who was the Trojans' leading scorer and earned Kodak All-America honorable mention as a junior. Murphy is one of seven seniors on the squad this season, giving the Trojans a load of returning experience and talent for their 2006-07 campaign. Starting center Chloe Kerr also returns for her senior season along with fellow senior starter Allison Jaskowiak and part-time starters Jamie Funn and point guard Jamie Hagiya. The only player graduating from last year's starting lineup was Meghan Gnekow, while junior Brynn Cameron and freshman Jacki Gemelos will redshirt this season. USC's three other freshmen are lined up to make an immediate impact in their first year at Troy, with 6-2 Hailey Dunham geared up to take on point guard duties and Aarika Hughes and Morghan Medlock bringing additional height and skill to the floor for the Trojans.

USC is also lined up to host the NCAA First and Second Rounds at the new Galen Center in March, giving the Trojans further reason to power through Pac-10 play and into a third straight NCAA appearance. The 2006-07 Women of Troy were also picked No. 3 in the Pac-10 Coaches Poll, and have garnered a No. 15 preseason rank from and a No. 25 rank from Street & Smith. The AP Preseason Poll has yet to be released.

The USC women's basketball season opens with an exhibition match against the Australian Institute of Sport at 7 p.m. on Monday (Nov. 6) at the Galen Center. The Trojans' official home opener at the brand-new Galen Center is a 7 p.m. showdown with longtime rival Long Beach State on Nov. 10, when USC also will retire the jerseys of Trojan greats Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie in a halftime ceremony.

USC's Preseason Rankings in National Polls
USA Today/ESPN -- No. 22 -- No. 15
Street & Smith -- No. 25

The Top 25 PRESEASON women's basketball coaches poll, with team's 2005-06 record in parentheses, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, ranking in last season's final poll (April 5) and first-place votes received:

Rank	School (2005-06 record)	Points	First-Place Votes1	Maryland (34-4)	        773	292	North Carolina (33-2)	709	13	Oklahoma (31-5)	        686	04	Stanford (26-8)	        655	15	Tennessee (31-5)	648	06	Duke (31-4)	        632	07	Ohio State (29-3)	587	08	Connecticut (32-5)	557	09	Georgia (23-9)	        487	010	LSU (31-4)	        454	011	Rutgers (27-5)	        448	012	Arizona State (25-7)	383	013	Purdue (26-7)	        380	014	Texas A&M (23-9)	297	015	Vanderbilt (21-11)	262	016	Kentucky (22-9)	        255	017	Michigan State (24-10)	204	018	Baylor (26-7)	        192	019	DePaul (27-7)	        178	020	New Mexico (22-10)	134	021	California (18-12)	114	022	USC  (19-12)	        100	023	UCLA (21-11)	        95	024	Brigham Young (26-6)	93	025	Washington (19-11)	92	0
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