USC Women Visit Washington State and Washington
Feb. 17, 2009
USC is back on the road this week as Pac-10 play continues. The Trojans (12-11, 6-6 Pac-10) first visit Washington State (10-14, 3-10) in a 7 p.m. game on Friday (Feb. 20) in Pullman, Wash. USC then travels to Seattle to face Washington (5-18, 1-12) at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 22).
Live audio, broadcast by Jon Horn, as well as live stats through Gametracker will be available online for both USC games this week through the women's basketball page at www.usctrojans.com.
IN THE NATION
USC is unranked in the national polls this week. Washington State and Washington both are also 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 had a strange weekend at the Galen Center, taking two losses at home for the first time this season as the Trojans fell 72-69 to Arizona State and then 74-61 to Arizona. Against ASU, USC battled through eight tie scores in the game before ASU claimed its 10th straight win. The Sun Devils opened the game shooting at 52 percent through the first half, although they only held a slim 36-33 lead at the break. The Trojans had Ashley Corral in double figures by halftime. On the way to a 15-point night, Camille LeNoir put up 12 points in the second half to account for a third of USC's second-half scoring. Briana Gilbreath also had a double-digit day with 13 points. USC's second-half effort saw the Trojans shoot 32 percent to finish up the game at 33 percent overall. ASU ended up at 46 percent shooting in the game. The teams were tied at 61-61 with 5:39 to go in the game, and got to within one with 14.6 seconds left only to have ASU stay strong from the free-throw line in the final seconds. USC went 19-of-27 in free throws on the night, compared to a 19-of-23 outing by the Sun Devils. Against Arizona, USC suffered through a rare offensive off-day at the Galen Center in which the Trojans shot just 29 percent on the day compared to 61 percent by the Wildcats down the stretch. USC saw Arizona mash out a 70-percent shooting effort in the first half while the Trojans were stalled out by turnovers and cool shooting. USC was powerful on the boards, but 13 first-half turnovers and a 28-percent offensive effort kept the Trojans in a hole, trailing the Wildcats 32-26 at halftime. USC would close in and then take a slim one-point lead early in the second half, only to have rare home shooting woes continue as Arizona got back on top and hit at a 52-percent clip for the second half. USC's Heather Oliver had all 15 of her final points during the last three minutes for the Trojans, but the Wildcats had the upper hand down the stretch. USC did manage to win out on the boards, up 43-33 including 30 offensive rebounds by the Trojans. But Arizona finished the game shooting 61 percent, while USC shot just above its season low, going 29 percent from the floor.
No. 2 in the conference and 20th in the nation in scoring, the USC offense is now averaging 73.7 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 11.5 from Briana Gilbreath and 10.8 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 have been 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 their road scoring. Consider the differences:
Record PPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG TOPG SPG BPGHOME 9-3 78.2 .418 .343 .670 39.7 16.9 18.5 12.3 3.6leader Parker/Gilbreath Parker LeNoir Corral Parker LeNoir Gilbreath Parker 12.2 .566 .455 .846 5.8 4.2 2.3 1.5AWAY 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 13 games. In total, USC has outrebounded opponents 922-895 so far, upping its average on the boards to 40.1 per game, led by a group of Trojans: Aarika Hughes and Nadia Parker with 5.8 each and Briana Gilbreath with 5.6.
BRYNN BRINGS IT
Senior guard Brynn Cameron has hit double digits in six Pac-10 games this year and nailed 26 threes in the past 15 games to average 7.9 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 164 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 1,270 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. Three more on Thursday pushed her past another USC great -- Cheryl Miller. Now alone at No. 4 with 420, LeNoir again is three assists away from another upward climb to No. 3. She also already has taken up residence as USC's No. 3 all-time 3-point shooter, just behind teammate Brynn Cameron, with 140 career threes. LeNoir is one of three Trojans averaging double figures to date, putting in a team-leading 12.7 ppg overall, and she's averaging 14.2 ppg during Pac-10 play. For her 19-point game vs. UCLA on Feb. 8, 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 5.8 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 42 threes to date, and is averaging 1.8 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 959 points and accumulated 562 rebounds in its collective USC career.
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 11.5 ppg. Gilbreath also has started every game this season for the Trojans. Meanwhile, Corral has nailed a team-high 42 threes so far and is averaging the team's fourth-best scoring mark of 9.7 ppg.
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.
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.