Women Of Troy Travel To Sacramento State

Dec. 5, 2000

The Facts
The USC women's basketball (3-2) team is riding a three-game win streak after defeating San Diego on Saturday, Dec. 2, for their first road victory of the 2000-01 season. The Women of Troy travel to Sacramento State (0-5) this week for a 2:05 p.m. match-up with the Hornets on Saturday, Dec. 9. The match will be played at Sacramento's Arco Arena.

USC, under fourth-year head coach Chris Gobrecht, returns nine letterwinners from a team that posted its first winning record and made its first postseason appearance in three years. Returning All-Pac-10 selections Tiffany Elmore and Tashara Carter will lead a Women of Troy squad that includes a top 20 incoming freshman class.

Media Teleconference
The first Pac-10 coaches media teleconference of the season will be on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Media members may call in to speak to each Pac-10 women's basketball coach according to the following schedule: 9:35 a.m. - Charlie Turner Thorne (ASU), 9:40 - Joan Bonvicini (ARIZ), 9:45 - June Daugherty (WASH), 9:50 - Jenny Prezekwas (WSU), 9:55 - Chris Gobrecht (USC), 10 - Kathy Olivier (UCLA), 10:05 - Judy Spoelstra (OSU), 10:10 - Jody Runge (ORE), 10:15 - Caren Horstmeyer (CAL), 10:20 - Tara VanDerveer (STAN).

Game #5 - vs. San Diego (Dec. 2)
Denise Woods scored a team-high 16 points and added seven rebounds as four Trojans posted double figures to lead USC to a 70-56 win over San Diego. Tashara Carter scored 14 points, Jessica Cheeks scored a season-high 13 points and Ebony Hoffman added 11 points and eight rebounds. In the game, the Women of Troy shot a season-high 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded San Diego 41-28. It was a game full of scoring runs. USC broke open a 12-12 tie with an 11-0 run, keyed by Carter's five points, but San Diego answered with a 17-2 run thanks to six points by Amber Jansen and a three-pointer by Kerri Nakamoto to go ahead 29-23. USC bounced back with an 11-2 run to take the lead into halftime, 34-31. The second half was close for the first three minutes, but USC blew the game open with a 23-6 run culminating in a pass from Carter to Cheeks for a lay-in on a fast break to give the Women of Troy their biggest lead, 61-43. From there, USC cruised to the win.

USC In The Polls
In the national preseason polls, the Women of Troy were ranked No. 21 according to WOMENSCOLLEGEHOOPS.com, and No. 24 according to the Women's Basketball Journal, and received mention in numerous others.

Opponents with NCAA Experience
This season USC must prepare for nothing less than NCAA caliber opponents. Four of the Trojans last five opponents are 2000 NCAA Tournament teams (Drake, UCSB, St. Joseph's and San Diego), and three of the five remaining (Pepperdine, Texas Tech and Notre Dame) also went to the Big Dance. Including conference opponents, the Women of Troy will face 12 total teams that played in the postseason last year (UCLA, Stanford and Oregon... ASU went to WNIT).

Common Connections
Assistant coach Colleen Matsuhara is the common connection between USC and Sacramento State. The Women of Troy's first-year assistant is a 1974 graduate of Sac State with degrees in psychology and physical education. Matsuhara was a three-year starter for the Hornets after transferring from Sacramento City College in 1970.

The USC-San Diego game was the first time the Women of Troy shot above 50 percent since January 9, 2000, when the Trojans shot 50.8 in a win over Washington *** The win over San Diego was USC's largest margin of victory over an opponent since defeating Baylor, 71-53, on Dec. 19, 1999 *** Forward Tennille Grant surpassed a career-high with ten points and seven rebounds against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) *** Tashara Carter tied a career-high with four blocks against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) *** USC is 21-4 all-time in season openers (6-4 on the road, 10-0 at home and 5-0 at neutral sites) *** The Trojans are 22-2 all-time in home season openers.

Pressure Defense
Despite its shooting woes, USC has found success over the last three years thanks to a tough defensive effort. In 1998-99 and 1999-2000, the Women of Troy led the conference in turnover ratio, forcing an average of 2.5 more turnovers per game. This season is no different. In five games, the 2000-01 squad is forcing an average of 7.8 more turnovers in each game (USC 15.4, Opponents 23.2). The Trojans are also averaging 11.0 steals per game, while holding opponents to 6.2.

Lots Of New Faces
With two consecutive top 25 recruiting classes, there's a lot of new faces that will be seeing ample playing time this season. USC saw the first glimpse of this 'new generation' on Friday (Nov. 24) against UCSB when three freshman hit the court for the Trojans. Ryane Alexander, Jessica Cheeks and Ebony Hoffman shared the court for nearly a half and made definite contributions to the win. Cheeks and Hoffman have started in four of five games this season.

The Three-Year Vet
Senior Tashara Carter enters the 2000-2001 season as the team's lone three-year veteran of the program, and the only player to play under Coach Gobrecht all three years. A recruit of former USC head coach Fred Williams, Carter endured the first years of instability and transition as the 1998-99 squad posted a 7-20 overall record and finished tied for ninth in the Pac-10. In three years, Carter has played in all 84 games and only missed four starts, helping guide the Women of Troy back to nation prominence.

Mitchell Paid Her Dues
Redshirt freshman Portia Mitchell is back in the lineup much to everyone's delight. A highly touted 1999 recruit out of Narbonne High, Mitchell sat out during the 1999-2000 season after not meeting conditioning requirements. So a year of relentless training has paid-off for the 6-4 center after she proudly met her qualifying times (1 1/2 miles in under 13 minutes) in early September and began practicing with the team on Oct. 14.

Among The Nation's Best
The 2000-2001 freshman class was ranked as high as No. 14 by the Women's Basketball Journal and No. 16 by Athlon. In USA Today, Nancy Lieberman Cline named Ebony Hoffman as one of her top five freshmen of influence. Hoffman was ranked the No. 2 prep recruit of 2000 by USA Today and the Women's Basketball Journal. Guard Aisha Hollans was ranked 21st by the All-Star Girl's Report and the Women's Basketball Journal. The freshman class also includes 5-foot-7 guard Ryane Alexander.

The freshman class only becomes stronger by adding two of 1999-2000's high school recruits. Center Portia Mitchell enters first season as an active player at USC after sitting out last year, and guard Jessica Cheeks also enters her first season after taking junior college courses in 1999-2000. Together, they were originally part of the top-10 recruiting class of 1999 (No. 8 by Athlon and No. 9 by the Women's Basketball Journal).

Last Season In The Stats
For the second consecutive year, USC topped the Pac-10 in turnover margin, forcing an average of 2.5 more opponent turnovers per game... Junior Tiffany Elmore finished ninth in the Pac-10 with a 76.4 free throw percentage... Senior Denise Woods narrowly missed out on making the Pac-10's top 10 list for field goal percentage (.462) and finished third in blocks (1.47 bpg)... USC out-rebounded its opponent by nearly two boards per game last season and finished second in the conference with 16.2 offensive rebounds per outing... In conference play, the Trojans finished second in steals (10.67 spg)... Strangely enough, USC and its opponents averaged the exact amount of points throughout the season - 66.6 ppg.

USC Plans Construction of Events Center
On October 21, USC announced plans to begin construction of a multipurpose on-campus events center that will be home to USC basketball and volleyball. Construction is to begin by January 2001 and it is expected that the 12,000-seat arena will be officially completed by 2002. The facility will be located on the southeast corner of Jefferson Blvd. and Figueroa St., adjacent to the University Park Campus.

Injury Report
Freshman Aisha Hollans is sidelined while rehabbing a lower back injury (slipped disk). Hollans is listed as day-to-day.

Head Coach Chris Gobrecht
Chris Gobrecht enters her fourth season at the helm of the USC women's basketball program. Replacing former head coach Fred Williams on May 8, 1997, Gobrecht returned to her alma mater to help guide the Women of Troy back to national prominence. Throughout 22 years of head coaching experience, Gobrecht has amassed a 370-254 (.593) career record with her programs at Cal State Fullerton (six years), Washington (11), Florida State (one) and USC. During her 11-year tenure at Washington, she was twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1987 and 1988). Gobrecht remains the second-winningest coach in conference history with a 162-84 (.659) mark, and she ranks 37th among active Division I coaches with 370 career victories.

This Week's Opponents

Sacramento State (0-5)
Sacramento State returns home for a four-game stretch beginning with USC... This season, the Hornets have played four games on the road and only one at home - a 66-48 loss to St. Mary's on Nov. 30... Coming off a 67-61 loss at Fresno State on Dec. 2, CSUS has lost 10-straight games on the road, dating back to the end of the 1998-99 season... The Hornets are suffering from a depleted roster after losing junior forward Sephora Scoubes and sophomore forward Nicole Hardaway to ankle injuries last week... The team is down to seven healthy and active players on the roster... Returning guard Michelle St. Clair leads the team, averaging 17.6 points per game... On the glass, Scoubes is the team's leading rebounder with a 5.6 average... Notably, Sacramento State averages a 40.7 shooting percentage, but suffers from 22.2 turnovers per contest... The Hornets are led by first-year head coach Carolyn Jenkins who was formerly the top assistant at Michigan State... Last season, the squad posted a 6-21 overall record and 4-12 mark in the Big Sky.

Possible Starting Lineup Pos. Hgt. Ppg Rpg
#23 Michelle St. Clair Guard 5-5 17.6 2.8
#24 Rexanne Rodriguez Guard 5-7 5.4 2.8
#32 Tracey Kenyon Guard 5-8 5.5 4.0
#20 Sephora Scoubes Forward 6-0 12.0 5.6
#30 Torilynn Boyd Forward 5-11 5.2 5.0

USC-Sacramento State Series Record
Saturday's game will mark the third all-time meeting between the Hornets and Trojans. USC is 2-0 in the series after defeating Sacramento State, 84-42, last season in the Sports Arena.

2000-2001 Women of Troy

#1 Ayeshia Smith
Guard * 5-5 * Senior * Philadelphia, Pa. * Cowley County CC
Ayeshia Smith begins her senior year at USC and second year in the basketball program... Looking to make an impact this year after losing her junior season to injury (broken finger)... A scoring threat on the floor, she adds energy to the point guard position.
This Season: Has made 1 start and appeared in 4 games.
Started against Creighton (Nov. 17) and collected one steal and two assists in 15 minutes ... Against Drake (Nov. 19), went 2-for-5 in 13 minutes ... Played three minutes off the bench against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Did not play against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26).

#3 Tiffany Elmore
Guard * 5-10 * Junior * Sacramento, Calif. * Florin HS

Tiffany Elmore begins her junior season with the Women of Troy as one of two returning starters... Primarily a two-guard, she was the go-to player last season and played a big role in a lot of key wins... Will establish herself as one of the top guards in the conference this season... A 2000 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection and Pac-10 Player of the Week (Feb. 21).
This Season: Has made 5 starts.
Against Creighton (Nov. 17) she collected eight points (4-12) ... Led with 11 points (4-9), two assists and two steals at Drake (Nov. 19) ... Added 14 points and four steals against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Struggled offensively, hitting 1-of-9 shots, but provided two blocks and four steals against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Collected six rebounds against San Diego (Dec. 2) despite shooting 1-for-6.

#5 Camille Norwood
Guard * 5-8 * Junior * Los Angeles, Calif. * Washington HS

Camille Norwood enters her junior season with the Women of Troy... A player who has proven to be one of the steadiest performers on the team... Her progress made a huge impact last season and she expects to do the same this year... A dependable player who is tough to rattle at the point.
This Season: Has played in 3 games.
Is expected to played limited minutes in nonconference play while still rehabbing from ACL surgery she underwent in July ... Played eight minutes off the bench against Creighton ... Played eight minutes off the bench and made one steal against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Contributed two assists and two points in 18 minutes against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Played 14 minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2).

#10 Jessica Cheeks
Guard * 5-9 * Freshman * Los Angeles, Calif. * Narbonne HS

Jessica Cheeks begins her first season with the Women of Troy... A player with great instincts for the game... An excellent shooter who provides a terrific backcourt threat... Will be able to play well with a three guard lineup.
This Season: Has made 4 starts and appeared in 5 games.
Led with 10 points (3-8), seven boards and three assists against Creighton (Nov. 17) ... Made her first collegiate start against Drake (Nov. 19) but had nine points with a 3-of-13 effort ... Added eight points, four steals and hit 2-of-4 from three-point range against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Added eight points against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Posted double figures against San Diego (Dec. 2) with 13 points hitting 6-of-8 from the field.

#13 Denise Woods
Center/Forward * 6-3 * Senior * Richmond, Calif. * Univ. of San Francisco

Denise Woods begins her senior year with the Women of Troy... She will be looked upon for her maturity and leadership on a young team... She has made a huge commitment in her final season and is prepared to play at a peak level... Will make an impact in the conference in the post.
This Season: Has made 5 starts.
Shot 50.0 percent (3-6, 7 points) with two boards against Creighton (Nov. 17) ... Had six rebounds and three blocks against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Led with 16 points , three blocks and five boards against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Hit 4-of-6 for 11 points against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Continues to improve with another top performance against San Diego (Dec. 2), including a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds.

#14 Carmen Krause
Forward * 6-1 * Junior * Prescott, Ariz. * Prescott HS

Carmen Krause returns for her junior season with the Women of Troy... An athlete who plays with passion and intensity... Her defense has improved tremendously over the past two seasons and the team will rely on her toughness at the post.
This Season: Has made 1 start and played in 4 games.
Played 13 minutes against Creighton (Nov. 17) and 23 minutes with nine points (2-5) against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Hit 2-of-4 off the bench against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Made her first start against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) and contributed four points, rebounds and assists ... Did not play against San Diego (Dec. 2).

#15 Lauren Smith-Hams
Guard * 5-7 * Sophomore * Los Altos, Calif. * Pinewood HS

Lauren Smith-Hams begins her sophomore season with the Women of Troy... Recruited to be a shooting force for the team at guard, but instead became one of the team's most solid defenders... This season, she will again be utilized on defense and will be relied on as one of the team's most reliable shooters off the bench.
This Season: Has played in 3 games.
Added four points in 13 minutes against Creighton (Nov. 17) and five points in 22 minutes against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Did not play against UCSB (Nov. 24) and St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Came off the bench for 11 minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2) and hit 2-of-3 from the field.

#20 Tennille Grant
Forward * 5-10 * Sophomore * Kansas City, Mo. * Northeast HS

Tennille Grant returns for her sophomore season with the Women of Troy... She has worked hard in the off-season to get stronger and improve her defense... Will likely be used as a post or wing player this year... A natural player who can score with her back to the basket.
This Season: Has played in 5 games.
Recorded eight points on 4-of-6 shooting against both Creighton (Nov. 17) and Drake (Nov. 19) Only played two minutes off the bench against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Surpassed her previous career-highs with 10 points and seven rebounds against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Played 14 minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2) with four points and two rebounds.

#21 Erin Young
Guard * 5-11 * Sophomore * Dallas, Tex. * Highland Park HS

Erin Young enters her sophomore season with the Women of Troy as a walk-on guard... Will return to the court with high expectations after a solid freshman campaign... Looks to become a more consistent shooter, primarily at the two... Has an exceptional ability to learn and will continue to get better with each season.
This Season: Has played in 4 games.
Played nine minutes against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Came off the bench early and played nine minutes with two assists against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Played three minutes against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Added one rebound and one steal in four minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2).

#22 Tashara Carter
Forward * 6-0 * Senior * Harbor City, Calif. * Bishop Montgomery HS

Tashara Carter begins her senior season with the Women of Troy as one of two returning starters... A do-everything player at forward, she contributes points, rebounds, assists and steals... She brings experience as the only three-year starter on the team... A 2000 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection.
This Season: Has made 5 starts.
Contributed six points and six rebounds against Creighton (Nov. 17) ... Added six points, 10 rebounds against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Fouled out after only adding four points and two boards against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... With an outstanding performance, she led with 14 points (4-10), 10 rebounds, four blocks and four assists against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Was the second-leading scorer against San Diego (Dec. 2) with 14 points (6-8) in addition to two assists, two steals and five rebounds.

#23 Aisha Hollans
Guard * 5-10 * Freshman * Berkeley, Calif. * Berkeley HS

Aisha Hollans begins her first season with the Women of Troy... An extremely talented young athlete who possesses all the qualities of a great wing player... Brings a completely different dimension to the game with her ability to create opportunities... A gifted and knowledgable basketball player.
This Season: Injured.

#24 Ryane Alexander
Guard * 5-7 * Freshman * Copperas Cove, Tex. * Copperas Cove HS

Ryane Alexander begins her first season with the Women of Troy... A classic point guard who likes to dish the ball and run the show when she is on the court... A hard-nosed player with great intensity and toughness... The type of player who does what the team needs her to do at all times.
This Season: Has played in 3 games.
Made her collegiate debut against UCSB (Nov. 24) and played 15 minutes in which she made a crucial defensive stop to clinch the win for the Trojans ... Played seven minutes against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Played seven minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2).

#32 Ebony Hoffman
Forward * 6-2 * Freshman * Harbor City, Calif. * Narbonne HS

Ebony Hoffman enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A player with the potential to have a dominating influence and make a significant impact on the team... One of the country's best post players, she can run the floor and hit an outside shot... She plays a power-quickness game which will make her an exceptional player in the Pac-10.
This Season: Has made 4 starts and appeared in 5 games.
Made first collegiate start against Creighton (Nov. 17) and went 1-for-12 from the field with five points and three rebounds ... Against Drake (Nov. 19), she led with 11 rebounds but still suffered with 2-of-10 shooting ... In her best performance, she added 12 points (5-10), five rebounds and three assists against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Did not start but led with 14 points (4-8) and added four rebounds and two blocks against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Resumed her starting position against San Diego (Dec. 2) and led with eight rebounds and three steals, in addition to 11 points.

#35 Portia Mitchell
Center * 6-4 * RS Freshman * Los Angeles, Calif. * Narbonne HS

Portia Mitchell begins her redshirt freshman year at USC... A player with great size, a soft touch around the basket and excellent skills... Her commitment to her conditioning last year has already payed off this season... Mitchell ran a mile and a half in 13 minutes, one second on Sept. 8 to fulfill her requirements and begin team workouts... The team will benefit greatly from having her at the post.
This Season: Has played in 4 games.
Made her collegiate debut against Creighton (Nov. 17), collecting three rebounds in six minutes ... Played two minutes against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Added three rebounds in six minutes of play against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Did not play against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Collected three rebounds in seven minutes off the bench against San Diego (Dec. 2).

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