USC Women Hit Midwest For Two Tilts
Dec. 5, 2007
USC heads out of state this week for two games in the Midwest. The Women of Troy (4-2) first play at Nebraska (5-2) in a 7 p.m. CT game on Saturday (Dec. 8). The next match takes USC to Michigan (4-3) for a 6 p.m. ET game on Monday (Dec. 10).
Live stats for both games will be available online on Gametracker through the USC women's basketball page at usctrojans.com. Monday's game in Michigan will be broadcast by Big Ten Network, available regionally only.
IN THE NATION
USC has received votes in this week's AP poll. Nebraska and Michigan both are unranked.
USC posted a winning effort last week, grabbing a huge 104-77 win at Cal State Fullerton and then topping a tough Utah squad 62-45. Against the Titans, USC got career performances from several Trojans as USC pinned up its highest scoring effort since 1994. Camille LeNoir scored a season-high 19 points, hitting 9-of-9 shots from the field and a career high of six steals to lead the Women of Troy. USC had five players in double figures and ushot 70 percent from the floor in the second half to finish 65 percent on the night. Heather Oliver tallied a career high 14 points along with Morgan Medlock, who posted career highs with 4 assists and 4 steals. LeNoir's perfect effort from the floor matches a 1.000 effort also hit by Cheryl Miller, who bettered the mark by one with a 10-for-10 outing in 1985. Three night later, USC returned to the Galen Center to host Utah, a team that had edged the Trojans last season in Salt Lake City. This time, the USC defense was effective in holding the Utes to a 31 percent effort on the floor while the Trojans shot 39 percent. Medlock scored 13 points and had 8 rebounds to lead USC in snapping Utah's four-game winning streak. Nadia Parker added 11 points and 7 rebounds for USC, while teammate Aarika Hughes scored 10 points with 6 boards. The Women of Troy had a decisive rebounding edge in the match, 42 -30. USC broke open a tight game by going on a 15-0 run in a 5-minute span late in the first half to go up 32-12. Parker had 8 of her 9 first-half points during that 15-0 blitz. By the final buzzer, USC had gotten 11 different players in on the scoring action for the win.
The Huskers are 5-2 overall after beating Creighton 79-65 last weekend. Danielle Page and Kelsey Griffin lead Nebraska in scoring with 13.4 and 11.3 points per game, respectively. Head coach Connie Yori is in her sixth season at Nebraska, which went 22-10 last season with a trip to the NCAA First Round. USC is 3-1 all-time against the Huskers. Nebraska got its first win in the series last season with a 72-65 win over the Trojans. This will be USC's first visit to Nebraska.
The Wolverines are 4-3 overall after falling in the last two games: 69-41 at Texas A&M and 77-46 at Notre Dame. Krista Phillips is Michigan's only player averaging in double figures with 10.3 points per game. Head coach Kevin Bonseth is in his first season at Michigan, which went 10-20 last season and finished 10th in the Big Ten. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Michigan.
Brynn Cameron set USC records from 3-point range as a freshman, but had been sidelined since October 2006 by hip surgeries as well as the birth of her son Cole. In her first two games back in action, the junior guard stepped right back into her comfort zone outside the arc. Cameron led USC in scoring in USC's first two games this year, knocking down four 3-pointers in each game. With 12 threes now this season, Cameron holds 103 career threes to rank No. 5 all-time at Troy -- tied with former Trojan and current USC assistant coach Jody Wynn.
Before tacking up that 104-point outing against Cal State Fullerton, USC has had some close games this season. Three of USC's first six games this year have been tight. USC's season opener was an overtime decision, where the Trojans fell to UC Santa Barbara, and the two Junkanoo Jam games were both nail-biters, as USC topped Virginia Tech by a single point and then fell to No. 8 Georgia by two.
Greatly missed from the USC lineup last season was point guard Camille LeNoir, who was sidelined with a hip injury. The junior returned to the floor this season as a redshirt junior, and has wasted little time getting right back to her impressive ways on court. She's set up camp as USC's top scorer this season, averaging 11.2 points, 4 assists and 2.6 steals per game in her first five appearances this year. Against Cal State Fullerton, LeNoir matched Trojan great Cheryl Miller's 100 percent effort on the floor from 1985, coming one short of Miller's 10-of-10 outing by going 9-for-9 and finishing with a season-high 19 points.
Nadia Parker made herself well at home in the Bahamas, serving up 28 points and 18 rebounds in the two games on her way to her first-ever Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. The junior center had a career day in USC's comeback win over Virginia Tech, tallying career highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds (also her first career double-double) and a shooting percentage of 9-of-11 (.818) to help spark USC to victory. She now stands as USC's second leading scorer (10.0 ppg) and top rebounder (7.3 rpg).
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
The first thing fans and followers will notice about this season's pack of Women of Troy is a group of faces who haven't quite been on the forefront of the Trojan lineup in a while. Three players who redshirted last season due to injuries et al are back in the mix. Standout point guard Camille LeNoir has healed up following hip surgery; Markisha Lea steps back in as a senior with cartilage intact in her knee; Brynn Cameron sustained her second hip surgery and gave birth to her first child on her way back to the court. Further balancing out the departure of five 2007 graduates are a pair of seniors who have extended their Trojan careers in unique ways. Kate Henderson and Allison Jaskowiak were freshmen together in 2003-04. Henderson wound up transferring after that season, but has since returned to USC and has worked her way back into the picture. Jaskowiak was granted a medical redshirt for that freshman season and has thus received another season of eligibility that allows her to return for her final year on the Trojan roster. With LeNoir, Cameron and Jaskowiak alone back on the court, USC taps back into the talent pool that helped spark the Women of Troy's resurgence to the NCAA Tournament scene with back-to-back postseason runs in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
INJURY BUG BITES BACK
It seemed to be the storyline of the 2006-07 season, but the injury bug hasn't seemed to shake loose of the Women of Troy yet. USC will have two players sidelined this season with torn ACLs. For redshirt freshman Jacki Gemelos -- considered the best player in the country coming out of high school in 2006 -- it is an all-too-familiar situation. Gemelos tore her ACL in her final high school game before coming to USC, redshirting her first season. She then reinjured the same knee in the offseason, bringing up a second surgery and pushing the highly anticipated guard's return to the floor back further. True freshman Stefanie Gilbreath endured the same injury just before the 2007 McDonald's All-American Game, leaving the Trojans short another outstanding newcomer for the 2007-08 season.
Lined up to add a depth charge to the backcourt is transfer Heather 'Ollie' Oliver, a member of the Australian Under-21 National Team, which won silver at the U-21 Women's World Championships this summer. She brings a smooth outside shot as well as stifling defensive abilities to the Trojan roster. She tallied her first points as a Trojan with a nine-point outing against Colorado on Nov. 18. She now is averaging 5.8 points per game after posting a season-high 13 points against Cal State Fullerton.
USC boasts a couple of different looks to the point this season, as 5-6 junior floor general Camille LeNoir returns to action after a year out to heal from hip surgery. She's complimented by 6-2 sophomore Hailey Dunham. Despite the height difference, the pair combine forces well in running the Trojans offense, each bringing their own spark to the offense to keep opposing defenses on their toes. LeNoir had her return to the court this season delayed a week, but when the junior point guard hit the floor for her first game against Colorado on Nov. 18, she came out strong with nine points and three assists in the game. The Trojan point guard tandem of Dunham (26 pts, 20 asts) and LeNoir (56 pts, 20 asts) is averaging 15.7 points and 7.3 assists per game.
The Women of Troy welcome three new members to the Trojan family this season. Assistant coach Jody Wynn recently gave birth to her second daughter, Kaeli, in October 2007, and junior Brynn Cameron has her son, Cole, fresh off his first birthday. And senior Allison Jaskowiak added a new name to her roster page when she married former USC baseball star Ian Kennedy in October.
MOVING ON UP
There's no pricetag you can put on experience, but USC returners Nadia Parker, Morghan Medlock and Aarika Hughes are aiming to at least rack up a hefty amount of points for the Women of Troy this season. Now a junior, Parker is charged with the go-to role in the paint after having backed up 2007 grad Chloe Kerr for the past two seasons. Medlock and Hughes boast a versatility that can go unmatched and are primed for success as they get back on court as sophomores following strong freshman seasons. Medlock earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention last season.
With her true freshman counterpart redshirting the season, center Kari LaPlante carries the torch as the lone freshman on the court for the Trojans this year. Freshman guard Stefanie Gilbreath will redshirt following offseason knee surgery. LaPlante towers as the tallest Trojan on the roster, setting up the 6-5 freshman to see significant time in the paint this year. She tallied her first points as a Trojan in USC's win over Colorado on Nov. 18, putting in two points and pulling down six rebounds for the Women of Troy. LaPlante now averages 3.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
RANK AND FILE
USC has four scheduled opponents that are ranked in the national AP and USA Today/ESPN preseason polls. 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 preseason polls -- is No. 9/10 Georgia, which the Trojans could well meet on the second day of the Women of Troy Basketball Classic on Nov. 24. The Trojans' next three ranked opponents are Pac-10 teams: No. 7/8 Stanford, No. 12/12 Arizona State and No. 13/14 California. All told, the USC schedule contains seven teams that reached the 2007 NCAA Tournament (Georgia, Prairie View A&M, Nebraska, Arizona State, California, Stanford and Washington) and three teams that ended the year ranked in the top-25 (No. 13/13 Georgia, No. 8/10 Arizona State and No. 16/5 Stanford).
The Women of Troy have been slotted at No. 4 in the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Coaches Poll and the Media Poll. The Trojans received 56 points in the coaches poll to come in behind top pick and defending conference champ Stanford (79 points), No. 2 Arizona State (71) and No. 3 pick California (68). Sitting below the Trojans in fifth is UCLA with 44 points.