USC Women Await ASU, Arizona At Galen Center
Feb. 10, 2009
USC has another two Pac-10 games at the Galen Center ahead this week, with a Thursday-Sunday swing against the Arizona schools. First up for the Trojans (12-9, 6-4 Pac-10) is a clash against Arizona State (17-6, 9-2) at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 12), followed by a televised matchup against Arizona (9-13, 2-9) on Sunday (Feb. 15) at 12 p.m.
Thursday's game vs. Arizona State will be broadcast live through Trojans All-Access at usctrojans.com with live video along with audio provided by Pete Arbogast, Jon Horn and Allison Kennedy. On Sunday, USC's game vs. Arizona will be televised live by Fox Sports with play-by-play by Jim Watson and color commentary from Mary Murphy. Live stats through GameTracker also will be available online through the women's basketball page at usctrojans.com for both games.
IN THE NATION
USC is unranked in the national polls this week. Arizona State is receiving votes, and Arizona is unranked.
USC is without two McDonald's All-Americans once again following season-ending knee injuries sustained by both Jacki Gemelos and Stefanie Gilbreath. Nadia Parker (traffic accident) and Hailey Dunham (hand) missed the first two games, but both returned to full competition on Nov. 24. Dunham suffered a foot injury on Jan. 11 vs. UCLA and was sidelined for four games, returning at Cal on Jan. 31. Parker sat out the Jan. 24 game vs. WSU with an ankle injury.
USC turned the tables in the crosstown rivalry with UCLA with a 87-76 win over the Bruins in the teams' second Pac-10 clash this of the season. Behind 19-point outings from both Camille LeNoir and Heather Oliver and 18 from Nadia Parker, USC left the Bruins behind, got an important win in the Pac-10 race and extended its home winning streak against UCLA to 10 straight games. The Trojans opened by hitting at a 47-percent clip compared to 22-percent shooting by the Bruins as USC worked out to a 21-point halftime lead. Both teams heated up in the second half, but UCLA could close in no further than to within 10 points. The Trojans finished up the game shooting 48.4 percent, and UCLA ended at 38.5 percent. By the end of the game, USC had four players in double figures with Brynn Cameron joining the pack to finish with 11 points. UCLA had three in double figures. In the process of helping lead USC to victory, LeNoir made some leaps in the all-time record books. Her 19 points pushed her into the No. 13 all-time slot in career scoring, and with three assists today LeNoir tied USC great Cheryl Miller at No. 5 all-time in career assists. The win added five points to USC's total in the Lexus Gauntlet race with the Bruins, giving USC a 30-25 lead.
No. 2 in the conference and 18th in the nation in scoring entering the week, the USC offense is now averaging 74.6 points per game. That's due in large part to a wildly balanced offense in which three different Women of Troy are averaging in double digits to rank in the Pac-10's top-30 in scoring. Camille LeNoir leads the way with 12.7 ppg, followed closely by 11.4 from Briana Gilbreath, and 11.3 from Nadia Parker.
HOME AND AWAY
The Galen Center has been good to the Trojans. The numbers USC puts up on its home court this season are markedly stronger than their road production almost across the board. The road warrior of note, however, has been Camille LeNoir, who has made a habit of carrying her Trojans on the road by providing 21 percent of the road scoring. Consider the differences:
Record PPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG TOPG SPG BPGHOME 9-1 80.8 .442 .362 .667 40.1 17.3 18.5 12.0 3.9leader Parker Parker LeNoir Cameron Gilbreath LeNoir Gilbreath Parker 13.6 .591 .500 .833 5.4 4.4 2.0 1.7AWAY 2-5 70.4 .386 .303 .748 39.9 11.9 18.0 8.6 4.9leader LeNoir Parker/Oliver Oliver Corral/Oliver/Cameron Gilbreath LeNoir Gilbreath Parker 15.0 .464 .400 1.000 6.9 2.6 1.7 1.4
BIG ON THE BOARDS
After averaging 36.3 rebounds per game last season, USC has been bent on the boards this year. The Trojans have hit a season-high 51 rebounds in two different games and outrebounded opponents in 12 games. In total, USC has outrebounded opponents 847-825 so far, upping its average on the boards to 40.3 per game, led by a group of Trojans: Aarika Hughes with 5.9 and Nadia Parker and Briana Gilbreath with 5.7 each.
BRYNN BRINGS IT
Senior guard Brynn Cameron has hit double digits in five Pac-10 games this year and nailed 23 threes in the past 13 games to average 8.0 points per game. Now 18-of-19 (.947) from the free-throw line on the year, Cameron earned her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award on Jan. 5 after putting in 13 points in a Pac-10 opening win over Oregon and then dumping in four more 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 20 points in a win over Oregon State. Against the Beavers, Cameron had set a new season high by halftime, going 7-of-8 from the floor (4-of-5 from 3-point range) to hold 18 points after the first half. She currently ranks No. 2 all-time in career 3-pointers with 161 to trail leader Shay Murphy's 181.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Camille LeNoir broke the 1,000-point mark on Nov. 16, 2008 at the Wolfpack Invitational in Raleigh, N.C. Coming into that weekend and the season, LeNoir had recorded 979 points in a USC uniform. Thanks to a 28-point effort across the two games, LeNoir moved into the history books by the weekend's close. She has joined elite company as one of only 21 Trojans to achieve the 1,000-point feat, and continues to shoot up in the all-time ladders at Troy. She has since leapfrogged into the No. 13 all-time slot in career scoring, now holding 1,246 points. What's more, with five assists against Oregon on Jan. 2, LeNoir passed up Trojan great Cynthia Cooper on the all-time career assists list to take over the No. 6 slot for career assists. LeNoir recently locked in alongside another USC great -- Cheryl Miller at No. 5 with 414 assists. She also has taken up residence as USC's No. 3 all-time 3-point shooter, just behind teammate Brynn Cameron, with 136 career threes. LeNoir is one of four Trojans averaging double figures to date, putting in a team-leading 12.7 ppg overall, and she's averaging 14.6 ppg during Pac-10 play. For her 19-point game vs. UCLA last weekend, LeNoir was named Pac-10 Player of the Week.
Plagued by foot problems through her first two seasons, junior guard/forward and captain Aarika Hughes stepped up big-time for the Trojans in the first two games of the year at the Wolfpack Invitational. With center Nadia Parker on the sidelines coming back from a traffic accident, Hughes hauled in her first double-digit rebounding efforts of her career. She had 11 rebounds in game one and followed that with 13 on day two to lead all players on the boards and earn her first All-Tournament Team honors of her USC career. She has continued to hold court on the boards, and now averages a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game.
IN THE BOOKS ALREADY
In just her third game as a Trojan, freshman guard Ashley Corral solidified a place for herself in USC history, hitting a program-record six 3-pointers in a single game to help lift USC to a win at Pepperdine on Nov. 24. Teammate and fellow sharpshooter Brynn Cameron was the last to hit six, having done so in 2005. With four more last week, Corral has tallied a team-high 39 threes to date, and entered this week averaging 1.9 per game to rank fifth in the Pac-10 just ahead of Cameron at No. 8 with 1.6.
Seniors Brynn Cameron and Camille LeNoir have both battled through season-ending hip surgeries as they now engage in their final seasons at Troy along with senior center Nadia Parker. Together, Cameron, LeNoir and Parker stand as the three Women of Troy who have had a taste of the NCAA Tournament. Cameron and LeNoir were freshmen when the Trojans snapped a seven-year absence from the postseason in Mark Trakh's first season at Troy. Parker joined in as a freshman in the 2005-06 season when USC made it back-to-back NCAA appearances. Now all on the same track to graduation, the two guards and center are joined by former walk-on Nicole Berberet as Trakh's senior class of talent and leadership. Cameron, LeNoir and Parker have all garnered All-Pac-10 honors during their USC careers to date, and guards Cameron and LeNoir now hold down the No. 2 and 3 slots all-time in career 3-pointers.
Each junior has a different story to tell, but all four have found a home at USC. Hailey Dunham, Jacki Gemelos and Aarika Hughes all entered Troy as freshmen in 2006, while Heather Oliver and Daniela Roark joined the team last year as transfers. Dunham and Hughes both are playing in their third season for the Trojans; Oliver is settling into her second year of action; and Roark is eligible for competition this year after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Altogether, the USC junior class has combined to score 930 points and accumulated 538 rebounds in its collective USC career.
Added incentive for a strong regular season is the promise of hosting both the Pac-10 Tournament and the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds at USC's Galen Center. The Galen Center became the new home to the Women of Troy in 2006, and USC has gone 31-8 on its home court (9-1 this season) since then. USC will host the Pac-10 Tournament from March 12-15, and has NCAA First and Second Round games set for March 21 and 23 at the Galen Center.
Six of USC's top seven scorers are back for more this season, including the Trojans' top three point producers Brynn Cameron, Camille LeNoir and Heather Oliver. All told, USC returns those three starters along with Cameron -- who matched LeNoir with 40 threes last year -- sophomore center Kari LaPlante and versatile juniors Hailey Dunham and Aarika Hughes as key contributors from the 2007-08 squad.
USC boasts a solid group of first-year additions to the gameplan. Guard Daniela Roark makes her debut this season after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules. And three true freshmen hit the hardwood at Troy as well. Two of those newcomers were teammates as McDonald's All-Americans -- and opponents as first- and second-place finishers in the national 3-point shootout following the game. Three-point champ Ashley Corral teams back up with fellow All-American Briana Gilbreath as fast fits in the USC backcourt as freshmen, along with 6-3 freshman forward Michelle Jenkins. Selected to the Women of Troy Classic All-Tournament Team after setting a new career high with 22 points against Harvard, Gilbreath stands as USC's second leading scorer to date, averaging 11.4 ppg. Meanwhile, Corral has nailed a team-high 39 threes so far and is averaging the team's fourth-best scoring mark of 9.6 ppg.
Until a week before the season began, there were two additional shining Trojan stars set to make their long-awaited debuts at Troy. McDonald's All-Americans Jacki Gemelos and Stefanie Gilbreath came to USC a year apart, but both now remain sidelined by repeat knee injuries. Gilbreath's redshirt freshman season has been stalled by a second tear to her right ACL, and Gemelos will now miss a third consecutive season at USC after tearing her ACL and cartilage in her left knee -- this after back-to-back tears in her right knee kept her off the court for her first two years at Troy.
GOING BIG ABROAD
Freshman Ashley Corral gathered some valuable international experience this summer, winning gold as a starter with Team USA at the U-18 FIBA Americas Championships in Argentina. The Trojan was the United States' top scorer against Puerto Rico, and finished the tournament leading her team in minutes played.
In 2008-09, the Trojans played out 12 games that were decided by five or fewer points. One of those nailbiters turned out to be one of the most exciting wins by the Women of Troy in years, as USC edged No. 2 Stanford 73-72 for its first win over the Cardinal since 2004. Stanford would go on to reach the NCAA championship game, but the Trojans would fall short of the postseason after the injury bug bit again late in the season, taking top scorer and rebounder Parker out of the picture with a knee injury during the final week of the regular season. USC finished 17-13 overall on the year after earning the No. 4 seed into the Pac-10 Tournament with a 10-8 conference mark.