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 ESPN.com 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
ESPN.com -- No. 15
Street & Smith -- No. 25
USA TODAY ESPN DIVISION I TOP 25 COACHES' POLL
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