USC Women Turn Pac-10 Corner, Host WSU And Washington
Jan. 23, 2007
THIS WEEKThe second half of Pac-10 play begins this weekend as the Women of Troy welcome the Washington schools to the Galen Center. USC (11-8, 5-4 Pac-10) first face Washington State (5-14, 1-8) at 7 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 26) for a chance to claim a Pac-10 sweep of the Cougars. The Trojans will then look to avenge their last loss to the Huskies with a 2 p.m. game against Washington (13-7, 6-3) on Sunday. Both games will also have live stats available online at www.usctrojans.com. Sunday's game also will be broadcast by Radio Disney 1110 AM.
IN THE NATIONThe Women of Troy are unranked in the national polls this week. Both Washington State and Washington also are unranked.
LAST WEEKUSC came away with a solid road split last week, posting a 77-68 comeback win at Arizona and holding tight to No. 10 Arizona State in a 62-54 loss. Against the Wildcats, USC posted its biggest turnaround game of the season behind a 30-point night from Shay Murphy, pulling out of an eight-point halftime deficit to tack up the Trojans' fifth straight win. USC poured in 51 points in the second half, with Murphy scoring just under half those points en route to the senior guard's second career 30-point effort, 43rd straight game in double figures and seventh double-double of the season. The win also secured head coach Mark Trakh's 50th victory at USC, pushing his record at Troy to 50-30. Murphy was joined in double figures by fellow seniors Jamie Hagiya (14) and Chloe Kerr (11). USC grabbed a second-half lead with 10 minutes to go, but lost it, and the teams were even at 64-64 entering the final five minutes of action, where Murphy took control and sparked the Trojans to victory with a 3-pointer at 2:24 and then followed up a Kerr bucket with a 7-of-8 free-throw effort in the final two minutes following to help USC to victory. Three days later at ASU, USC held streaking No. 10 ASU to its second-lowest scoring outing of the season, but couldn't pass up the Sun Devils. USC seniors Hagiya and Murphy and freshman Morghan Medlock each hit double figures, with Murphy hitting her 44th straight game in double digits and eighth double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Hagiya led USC with 13 points for her sixth game in double figures for the Women of Troy. USC succeeded in slowing a traditionally hot ASU offense early in the game, with ASU holding only a slim 6-4 lead after the first five minutes of action. USC led the rebounding game 33-17 by halftime, but was hampered by its opening shooting percentage. USC shot 28 percent in the first half, compared to ASU's 41 percent effort that helped the Sun Devils to a 31-27 halftime lead. The Trojans upped that mark to 34 percent in the game, but ASU did the same, going 44 percent down the stretch and knocking down 15 of 19 free throws thanks in part to a load of fouls by USC.
SCOUTING WSUThe Cougars are 5-14 overall and 1-8 in Pac-10 play after falling 86-64 to Washington last weekend. Head coach Sherri Murrell is in her fifth year at WSU. The Cougars went 8-20 last season, finishing last in the Pac-10 at 2-16. WSU returns eight letterwinners from that team, including three starters. Marisa Stotler leads the Cougars in scoring this season with 11.2 ppg. USC is 32-11 all-time against WSU, with the Trojans having won the past 13 games, including a 62-56 win in Pullman this season. WSU last beat USC 79-78 on Jan. 4, 2001 in Pullman.
SCOUTING WASHINGTONThe Huskies are 13-7 overall and 6-3 in Pac-10 play after beating Washington State 86-64 last weekend to end a three-game losing streak. Head coach June Daugherty is in her 11th year at UW. The Huskies went 19-11 overall last season, reaching the NCAA Second Round after finishing tied for fourth in the Pac-10 with USC at 11-7. UW returns 10 letterwinners from that team, including all five starters. Cameo Hicks leads the Huskies this season with 17.4 ppg and 5.4 rpg. USC is 18-27 all-time against UW after falling 76-60 to the Huskies earlier this season in Seattle.
INJURY BUGOut of action: 4 redshirts, 1 injured roster player -- USC will redshirt freshman Jacki Gemelos and junior Camille LeNoir this year in order to allow the two guards to heal from respective injuries. Gemelos suffered a torn ACL in her final high school game, and LeNoir suffered a broken hip during the offseason. Also redshirting the season will be junior Brynn Cameron. Senior Markisha Lea has been sidelined all season with a knee injury and is now tabbed to redshirt. With the return of freshman Aarika Hughes (foot) to the lineup at Arizona (1/18) after sitting out since the beginning of December, freshman Hailey Dunham stands as the only non-redshirting injured player, having sustained a back injury against Stanford on Dec. 20.
WELCOME TO THE CLUBSSenior guard Shay Murphy reached a landmark on USC's first road trip of the season. With a 23-point night at South Dakota State, Murphy hit the 1,000 career point-mark on the money on Nov. 17 -- her 91st career game. She began the season with 956 career points and has now extended her double-digit scoring streak to 44 straight games to now hold 1,314 career points and include herself on a legendary list of Women of Troy who have hit that heralded career mark. She becomes the 20th Trojan to break through the 1,000-point plateau, joining USC greats Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie, who had their jerseys retired and hung in the Galen Center on Nov. 10. Her 33-point outing at Colorado on Dec. 2 made her just the 14th Trojan to have scored 30 or more points in a game, with the last such effort coming back in 2002. Murphy broke that barrier for the second time with 30 against Arizona on Jan. 18, becoming just the seventh Trojan to have repeat 30-point outings in a single season. The last player to do so was Tina Thompson in the 1996-97 season.
THE BIG 5-0We're not talking birthday candles, but rather a nice half-century mark of wins for USC head coach Mark Trakh. With the Trojans' victory over Arizona on Jan. 18, Trakh recorded his 50th win at USC. His overall record at Troy is now 50-31.
THANKS, COACHWith five 3-pointers in USC's winning home series against Oregon and OSU, senior point guard Jamie Hagiya passed up current USC assistant coach Jody Wynn (then Jody Anton) on USC's all-time 3-point shooting list. Wynn finished her Trojan career with 103 three-pointers. After a trio of threes against Arizona and another at ASU, Hagiya vaulted herself into sole possession of the No. 2 spot all-time with 111 career threes, with fellow senior Shay Murphy holding the No. 1 all-time spot with 160.
HOT-HANDED HAGIYAAs USC's lone healthy scholarship point guard, pressure has been heaped on senior Jamie Hagiya's shoulders. Hagiya has willingly accepted that role, and performed. A proven ball-handler in her four years at Troy, Hagiya has also stepped up her scoring, pumping in double figures in the past six games. She's averaging 9.7 points per game, and 10.8 in Pac-10 play, and is serving up 4.5 assists per game.
DOUBLE TIMEShay Murphy isn't the only Trojan to have hit her scoring stride. Senior center Chloé Kerr has joined Murphy in double figures in all but three of USC's 19 games this season. She had scored in double digits in 14 straight games stretching from last season's NCAA Tournament action until a slow night at Washington. Kerr made sure to pick up the pace the following game, however, leading all scorers with 19 points against WSU on Dec. 31, and replicated that effort with a game-high 19 at UCLA on Jan. 13.
WALK RIGHT UPUSC guard Nicole Berberet is a junior academically, a freshman eligibility-wise, and on paper may well be the last player opponents would expect to see in a scouting report. But despite not having played competitive basketball since her sophomore year of high school, Berberet made the USC roster as a walk-on this year and earned herself a starting role at point guard on Dec. 29. Appearing in 17 games this year, Berberet has gone from averaging 3.0 minutes per game in USC's first eight games, to averaging 11.2 minutes per game during Pac-10 play. She has nabbed eight steals and is 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
PARKER'S HOUSESophomore center Nadia Parker had a career weekend at the Women of Troy Classic. After hitting double figures only twice in her freshman season at Troy, Parker posted back-to-back double-digit efforts and led the Trojans in scoring for the first time in her career in both games -- first with a career-high 19 points and seven rebounds against Prairie View A&M, and then with a game-high 16 points against Houston. She's also second on the team in blocks with 13.
MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAWLast weekend in Arizona, Shay Murphy extended her double-digit scoring streak to 44 games -- an accomplishment that carries over from her junior season in which she received Kodak/WBCA All-America honorable mention. She provided team-high scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg), steals (2.4 spg) and 3-pointers made (69) and finished out the year ranked among the top-10 in the Pac-10 in seven categories. This season, she has improved across the board once again. Murphy is the second leading scorer in the Pac-10 (18.8 ppg), No. 1 in rebounding (8.8 rpg), free-throw percentage (.899), 3-pointers made (48, 2.53 pg) and offensive rebounds (3.37 pg) and is second in steals (2.47 spg). Her free-throw percentage also ranks her No. 11 in the nation. Murphy's 2006-07 preseason honors now include: State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason Candidate, John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team, Street & Smith Preseason Honorable Mention, Preseason All-Pac-10 Team. Most recently, Murphy was tabbed a Naismith Trophy Preseason Candidate. She is also a candidate for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award, an honor celebrating a student-athlete's outstanding athletic abilities as well as personality, leadership, perseverance and extracurricular actvities.
FUNN ZONESenior forward Jamie Funn is one of seven seniors on the USC squad. Her junior season was cut short when an offseason hip injury required surgery halfway through the year. Thanks to a broken nose suffered early in the season, Funn donned a face mask for the 16 games she appeared in. She notched nine starts and averaged 5.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She was sidelined for the start of the 2006-07 season, but has now finally returned to the court for the Women of Troy. USC won the first four games with Funn back in the lineup, and the senior is averaging 6.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game so far.
SENIOR STRENGTH IN THE PAINTSenior center Chloe Kerr is USC's second leading scorer (12.8 ppg) and second leading rebounder (7.4 rpg) this season. At 6-3, Kerr boasts the height and experience to stand strong as the Trojans' go-to post player. This season, she nailed a career-high 25 points -- including an 11-of-11 effort from the free throw line to rank No. 3 all-time in single-game free throw percentage -- against Nebraska, earning her first career honor as Pac-10 Player of the Week. USC's top blocker this season, Kerr now boasts 120 career blocks, ranking her No. 6 all-time in USC's history books.
L.A. WOMENJunior Camille LeNoir is now one of three USC athletes hailing from nearby Narbonne High School. Senior forward Jamie Funn is the eldest of the trio, with freshman Morghan Medlock rounding out the high school connections on the Trojan roster. Four years ago, the three were teammates on Narbonne's Los Angeles City Section champion team.
HIGHS AND LOWSUSC's winning efforts at the inaugural Women of Troy Basketball Classic saw the Trojans hit some new bests for the 2006-07 season. USC hauled down a season-high 54 rebounds (54) against Prairie View A&M, and then bettered that mark by an additional board the next game against Houston. 55 was USC's best rebounding mark last season as well. On the other end of the spectrum, USC held both teams to season-low scoring marks in the first half. Houston's 11 points in the first half stands as the second lowest scoring mark all-time by a USC opponent in a half.
TOP CLASS -- WITH A PAINFUL TWISTUSC drummed up four standout freshmen to the roster for 2006. Heralded as the top recruiting class in the nation, the foursome of Jacki Gemelos, Aarika Hughes, Hailey Dunham and Morghan Medlock put the finishing touches on Trakh's 2006-07 lineup. However, in a surprising and frustrating turn of events, injuries knocked three of those freshmen out of action this season until Hughes' return on Jan. 18. Gemelos -- tabbed the No. 1 recruit in the nation and a McDonald's All-American in her senior year at St. Mary's High School -- suffered a torn ACL at the close of her prep season, and the sharp-shooting guard is redshirting her first season at Troy to fully heal from the setback. Guard Hughes has been sidelined since the end of November with a stress fracture in her foot, and point guard Dunham sustained a back injury on Dec. 20 against Stanford to become the third member of the 2006 recruiting class to be painfully forced to the USC bench. Both Hughes and Dunham had seen time in the starting lineup until their injuries struck, but still in action for the Trojans is Medlock -- a McDonald's All-American. She has started seven games for the Women of Troy and is averaging 6.6 ppg and 4.7 rpg in her first year at Troy. Against UCLA, Medlock pumped in seven straight points on her way to an 11-point outing for her fourth double-digit game of the season , and hit double figures again with 10 at ASU last week.
GALEN'S GREATNESSAs an overwhelming welcoming gift to the new-and-improved USC team, the Women of Troy kick off their 2006-07 season in a new home. The impressive Galen Center facility offers a plush and state-of-the-art forum for the Women of Troy to build on their tradition of success. Coach Trakh and his troops have 15 home games on the schedule -- not including the 2007 NCAA First and Second Rounds that the Women of Troy plan to be a part of March 17 & 19.
PRESEASON RESPECTThis season, the 2006-07 Trojans were tabbed the No. 22 team in the nation according to the AP and USA Today preseason polls. The Women of Troy also weighed in at No. 15 according to ESPN.com and No. 25 according to Street & Smith. One of five Pac-10 teams to receive a preseason top-25 rank from ESPN.com, the Women of Troy were also tabbed as one of ESPN's 'Three Programs On the Rise.'
RANK AND FILEUSC has five scheduled opponents that were ranked in the final 2005-06 USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll. Three of those are Pac-10 foes whom USC sees at least twice this season. The Trojans were 2-7 against ranked teams in 2005-06. The first top-25 team on tap for USC -- which received votes in the final poll -- was No. 10 Ohio State on Nov. 19 in Columbus, Ohio. Two weeks later, USC came up against No. 12 Utah, again on the road, on Dec. 4 in Salt Lake City. The Trojans' next three ranked opponents are Pac-10 teams: No. 7 Stanford, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 18 UCLA. USC lost three times to the Cardinal in 2005-06, split games with the Sun Devils, and swept the Bruins during Pac-10 action.
PAC-10 POWERA record six Pac-10 teams reached the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Five won their first-round games, and three ended the season ranked in the Top 25. Six teams are also ranked in the nation's top 25 this year, and six Pac-10 players received WBCA/Kodak All-America honors last season. Four of those athletes are back for more this year, including USC senior Shay Murphy.
PAC-10 POLLINGThe Women of Troy have been slotted at No. 3 in the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Coaches Poll. The Trojans received 63 points to come in behind top pick and six-time defending conference champ Stanford (81 points) and No. 2 Arizona State (70). Tied up in fourth place with 53 points are California and Washington, with UCLA coming in at No. 6 with 46 points.
STARTING EXPERIENCEUSC used nine different players in its starting lineup rotations last year, and eight of them return this season. Already this year, Trakh has utilized eight different starting lineups, with three freshmen having seen at least one start this year.
FAMILY TREEWhile Allison Jaskowiak was a starter for USC at the 2006 NCAA tournament in Norfolk, Va., her sister Emily Jaskowiak started for Tulsa at the NCAA tournament in Chicago. Both sisters helped lead their schools to the second round. Also, on the same night that USC point guard Camille LeNoir helped lead the Women of Troy to a Pac-10 Tournament win against Washington on March 4 with 17 points and five assists, her younger sister Danielle, a former ball girl at USC, had 10 points and four steals as her Narbonne High School won the Los Angeles City Section championship.
A LOOK BACKUSC is coming off a 2005-06 season where it posted an 11-7 mark in Pac-10 play to finish tied with Washington in fourth place behind Stanford, Arizona State and UCLA. Eight Pac-10 regular-season games were decided by five or fewer points for the Trojans, leaving USC with a 5-3 mark in those tight conference games. After three straight down-to-the-wire games at the close of the regular season, USC pulled out possibly its most crucial win with a tense 70-67 victory over Washington in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. That effort gave the Trojans their 18th win to lock them into the NCAA Tournament.
THE TOUGH GET GOINGUSC returns two of its hardest working senior guards in Jamie Hagiya and Allison Jaskowiak. A well-respected point guard, Hagiya stands out as the Pac-10 leader in assist/turnover ratio and was second on the team in assists as a junior. She has climbed the Trojan career charts as the No. 6 all-time 3-point shooter (97 career threes) and the No. 7 all-time assists leader (339 career assists). This season, Hagiya's defensive tenacity, ball-handling and distribution skills will again be a huge factor in the gameplan for the Women of Troy. Now with a freshly healed knee, Jaskowiak is back for more after a phenomenal junior season for the Trojans. As the USC roster was thinned out by injuries, Jaskowiak made it known to her teammates and opponents that she wouldn't let the Women of Troy down, even with a banged-up body of her own down the final stretch of the 2005-06 season. She hadn't started a game in her first two years at USC, but as a junior she proved a crucial part of the Trojans' starting lineup. Jaskowiak started 23 games and averaged 26.4 minutes per game, standing out as an unselfish player with dominating defensive skills and an ability to both hit the boards and the perimeter shot.
LONE RANGERIn contrast to USC's load of seniors, the Trojans have just one sophomore in center Nadia Parker. Also towering in the key at 6-3, Parker provides a strong one-two punch at the post when paired with Kerr. Parker played in every game as a freshman, generating 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game to go along with 19 blocks. An enthusiastic presence in the paint, Parker brings size, strength and a deepening pool of experience to the center position at USC.