UW Hosts USC Women's Basketball Sunday at 1 p.m.

Jan. 5, 2001

Seattle -

GAME CHANGE: Washington's game against USC has been moved to Sun., Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. at Bank of America Arena. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Northwest. It was originally scheduled for Sat., Jan. 6.

This Week: The Washington women's basketball team (8-3, 1-0) concludes its seven-game homestand when it hosts USC (5-6, 0-1) in a Sunday afternoon game televised live on Fox Sports Northwest and Fox Sports Los Angeles. Scott Lynn and former Husky Elise (Niemela) Woodward will call the action that begins at 1 p.m. Jan. 7.

The Huskies are coming off a conference-opening win in their first Pac-10 game of the year, posting a 73-54 victory over UCLA. The win came on the strength of the UW bench along with three freshmen who combined to score 27 points. Gioconda Mendiola posted a career-best 10 points on 4-of-5 from the field while her sister, Giuiliana, passed out eight assists. Freshman center Andrea Lalum was just short of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

Three Huskies are averaging double figure scoring, led by senior Megan Franza at 13.5 points per game, and followed by Giuliana Mendiola (12.1 ppg) and sophomore Kellie O'Neill (10.7). Three other players are right behind, averaging nearly seven points a game, to give UW a balanced attack this season. Loree Payne, last season's leading scorer, continues to improve and was back in the starting lineup Thursday night against UCLA. UW leads the conference in rebounding at 45.5 boards per game and is third in scoring with 70.9 points per game.

USC enters the game on a four-game losing skid, after dropping its Pac-10-opener, 79-78, at Washington State. The Trojans concluded their non-conference season with a 70-61 loss to No. 3 Notre Dame. Freshman Aisha Hollans, who missed the first six games of the season, leads the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game, followed by Tiffany Elmore (10.4 ppg) and Denise Woods (10.1). The Trojans are led by Chris Gobrecht, who was head coach at Washington from 1985-96. During her tenure at UW, she led the Huskies to a mark of 243-89 (.732) and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. In her fourth season at USC, she has a record of 40-52.

Probable Washington Starters

Name	Pos.	Ht.	Yr.	Hometown		Pts., Rbs.
24 - Kellie O'Neill F 6-1 So. Lynnwood, Wash. 10.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg
42 - LeAnn Sheets C 6-2 Sr. Olympia, Wash. 6.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg
22 - Loree Payne G 6-0 So. Havre, Mont. 6.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg
14 - Megan Franza G 5-11 Sr. Leavenworth, Wash. 13.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
13 - Giuliana Mendiola G 5-11 Fr. Lake Forest, Calif. 12.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg

Last Game: (UW 73, UCLA 54) Freshman Gioconda Mendiola scored a career-high 10 points in leading the Huskies to a 73-54 victory over UCLA in the Pac-10 opener Thursday night. Mendiola came off the bench to hit 4-of-5 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers. She was the only Husky player to reach double-figures in scoring, but all 13 UW players had at least two points. UCLA's Michelle Greco led all scorers with 19 points, but her shooting touch arrived late. Greco entered the game with a conference-leading scoring average of 18.7, but was did not score in the first half. She missed her first eight field goal attempts. Greco's 3-pointer with 16 minutes left in the game, cut the Husky lead to 42-29, but the Bruins could not get any closer. Mendiola gave Washington its largest lead of the game when her 3-pointer made the score 64-36 with 5:50 to play. UW led 18-13 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half before going on a 13-0 run that increased the Husky advantage to 18 points. UCLA went scoreless for 9:18 before Leatham ended the drought with a free throw to make the score 31-14. UW turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, but built an early lead because of the Bruins' poor shooting. UCLA shot 24 percent in the half, and made only four of its first 22 shots from the field. The Huskies led 35-18 at halftime.

UCLA Game Notes
Jill Pimley's three 3-pointers made and four 3-pointers attempted are both career highs ... Gioconda Mendiola established a new career high with a team-leading 10 points. Mendiola had only scored in two of the nine games in which she had played this season, her previous career high was five points against James Madison ... With eight points scored tonight senior guard Megan Franza now needs just 17 more to tie Laurie Merlino (1998-91) for ninth place on UW's all-time scoring list with 1,262 points ... UCLA's 18 points at halftime were a UW opponent season low ... After making just six of 25 baskets in the first half (24%), UCLA hit 15 of 33 in the second (45.5%). The Bruins second half turnaround was keyed by junior guard Michelle Greco, who went seven for 13, including five for nine from three point range to score 19 points after an 0-8 first half ... After UCLA hit two free throws to open the game, Washington came back to take a 4-2 lead and never trailed again ... as a team, UW had a seaon high 23 assists ... UW's 50 rebounds marked the fourth time this season the team had over 50 boards in a game.

Looking Back: After 11 games last season, Washington had a record of 4-7 ... this year, the Huskies are 8-3, and were on a six-game win streak before losing by two points to Colorado State prior to starting the Pac-10 season.

Pac-10 History: With its win over UCLA, Washington moved to 11-4 all-time in Pac-10 season-opening games and 5-2 when it opened league play at home ... the Huskies have won the Pac-10 title twice, in 1987-88 and again in 1989-90, when they shared the title with Stanford ... UW's all-time Pac-10 record is 169-84 (.667), second-best in the conference behind Stanford (215-37/.853). The last time Washington opened the Pac-10 season with back-to-back wins was in 1998-99, when the Huskies won the home opener against WSU and then swept Arizona State and Arizona, also at home.

Dawgbite: Washington's 8-3 start on the year is its best since the 1997-98 season when the Huskies jumped out to a 10-0 mark and a No. 7 national ranking. That team finished 18-10 and advanced to first round of the NCAA Tournament. The victory over UCLA gives UW a mark of 8-3, equalling Washington's win total from last season.

So Far, So Good: Washington wrapped up the non-conference portion of its schedule with a mark of 7-3, its best non-league record since 1997-98 when it was 9-0. Included in that record is a 3-1 mark on the road. The only three losses of the season came in overtime at the buzzer at Indiana, at the hands of No. 1 Connecticut and a two-point loss to a 10-1 Colorado State team. The third straight road win, at Oklahoma State Dec. 3, equalled UW's mark from all of last season. The wins have been impressive, beginning with a 73-60 thumping of a Michigan team that had knocked off Louisiana Tech two nights earlier. The Huskies rebounded from the UConn loss by cruising past Boise State, 87-67, and followed with the win at OSU and its first home victory in the new arena, against Nebraska. The Huskies have a home mark of 4-2. Helping the cause this year has been increased scoring from the bench and a versatile rotation that is nearly three deep at every position.

Pizza Time!: Washington's defensive efforts have been stellar so far this season and it's not just the Huskies who are reaping the benefits. When Washington wins at home and holds its opponent under 55 points, every fan in Bank of America Arena can redeem their ticket stub for a free small pizza at Papa John's Pizza. It's become a rally cry for the home crowd and so far, the fans have cashed in twice, against UCLA (54) Thursday night and against Loyola Marymount (52) on Dec. 21. They just missed against James Madison when the Dukes tallied 56 points. Overall, the Huskies are holding opponents to 64.0 points per game this season, fourth-best in the Pac-10.

Dawgbite: When Washington defeated UCLA, it gave fifth-year Husky coach June Daugherty career victory number 190. She enters the USC game with a 12-year mark of 190-135 ... she has a mark of 67-59 in her fifth year at Washington ... her win total is third among seven Husky coaches over the years.

Mendiola Magic: Freshman guard Giuliana Mendiola is off to a great start in her first season as a Husky. The Seattle Times Classic MVP, she leads the team in rebounding with an average of 7.5 boards per game. She is the second-leading scorer with 12.1 per game and has three double-doubles to her credit, against Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Colorado State. Mendiola, who plays the one, two and three guard spots, has started nine games already and is averaging 29 minutes per contest. She is fifth in the Pac-10 in rebounding and sixth in field goal percentage (44-86/.512) ... Mendiola, the younger sister of teammate Gioconda, takes care of the ball well, with only one turnover in her first college game, at Indiana, none at Boise State and none against Loyola Marymount ... she dished out eight assists versus UCLA.

More Magic: Gioconda Mendiola, who celebrates her 20th birthday on game day, established a new career high with a team-leading 10 points against UCLA. Mendiola had only scored in two of the nine games in which she had played this season. Her previous career high was five points against James Madison.

Payne Returns to Action: Sophomore guard Loree Payne returned to the starting lineup against UCLA. UW's leading scorer as a freshman last season (17.4 ppg), Payne missed the first six games after being sidelined by a stress fracture in her left foot. She played for the first time this season against Loyola Marymount, Dec. 21 and played 10 minutes going 3-of-5 from the field, including a three pointer and a free throw, for eight points. Against James Madison, Payne played seven minutes and scored three points with one assist and one steal. Her playing time increased to 21 minutes against CSU when she scored nine points. She had five points in 17 minutes against UCLA.

The Series with USC
Overall: UW leads, 16-12 Current streak: USC has won the last two
Last six games: Even, 4-4
Last year: USC swept, 77-66 in Los Angeles, 88-76 in overtime in Seattle
Longest UW streak in series: 5 games
Longest USC streak: 6 games
Last UW win: Feb. 25, 1999 (74-54 in Seattle)
June Daugherty vs. USC: 4-4

Last Meeting with USC: (March 9, 2000) USC rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit and scored 22 points in overtime to down Washington, 88-76, at KeyArena. Washington, which will go the season without winning back-to-back games, dropped to 8-21, 4-13.
All five Trojan starters scored in double figures with Tiffany Elmore leading the way with 21 points. Danielle Golay added 13 of her 15 points after halftime. The Huskies were led by Loree Payne, who equalled her career-high with 28 points. She became UW's all-time freshman leader in scoring in the first half of the game. Megan Franza finished the night with 15 points, including a clutch three pointer that sent the game into UW's first overtime contest of the year.
UW shot 50 percent from the field and led by as many as 17 in the first half, holding a 31-14 advantage with just over six minutes to play before the break. The Trojans' first lead of the game came at 12:09 in the second half, 45-44, on the strength of a 19-4 run. Franza hit her only three pointer of the game with 0.5 on the clock to send it to overtime. Franza carried the momentum into overtime, scoring the first bucket on a driving layin, but it was all USC after that as the Trojans scored the next 11 points to put the game away.

Statistical Comparison UW USC

Overall record	8-3	5-6
AP ranking na na
Points per game 70.9 64.7
Field goal percentage .391 .384
3-Pt. FG percentage .310 .233
Rebounding average 45.5 38.5

Injury Update: Freshman Sarah Keeler had surgery Nov. 10 to repair a minor meniscus tear in her left knee. She has returned to practice and could possibly play prior to the Pac-10 season. Loree Payne missed the first six game with a stress fracture in her left foot but has returned. She saw her first game action Dec. 21 against LMU, playing 10 minutes. Cheryl Sorenson has been nursing tendinitis in her knee and is playing sparingly. LeAnn Sheets suffered a left ankle sprain at Boise State and missed the Nebraska and Oklahoma State games. She returned to action against St. Mary's and was in the starting lineup.

Huskies Honor UW Football Player: The women's basketball team is wearing a patch with the initials 'CW' on its jerseys this season, to support senior football player Curtis Williams, who suffered a spinal cord injury during the Oct. 28 football game at Stanford. Williams, who attended the Rose Bowl, is currently in a rehabilitation center in San Jose, Calif.

Megan on the Move: Senior guard Megan Franza moved onto Washington's career Top 10 scoring chart in the Seattle Times Classic championship game against James Madison. She now stands at No. 10 with 1,245 points, having moved past Amy Mickelson, who had 1,224 points from 1987-90. Franza, the Huskies' leading scorer this year at 13.5 per game, is 17 points shy of No. 9 Laurie Merlino (1,262, 1988-91).
Franza, a first team All-Pac-10 selection last year, has a career scoring average of 12.8 points per game.
She became the 16th Husky to top the 1,000-point barrier and only the eighth player to pass the mark as a junior last year. Dating back to last season, Franza, who was held to just nine points against Colorado State, has scored in double figures in 35 of the last 40 games. Franza has been in the starting lineup for 95 of UW's last 97 games.

More Megan: Franza entered the year at No. 2 on UW's career three point field goals made list, with 139. She has added 17 more in 11 games this season for a total of 156, including a high of five at Indiana. Franza is chasing former standout Jamie Redd (1995-99), who tops the list with 192 treys. She is also No. 2 on the three point attempts list with 566, again chasing Redd who attempted 675 long range bombs during her career. Franza equaled her career-high for attempts, with 13 against Nebraska Dec. 6.
Last year at 17.2 ppg, Franza led the Pac-10 in scoring until the final two weeks of the season, while Loree Payne finished fourth with 17.4 points per game. Together they formed the highest scoring duo from the same school in Pac-10 history.
With the graduation of Maylana Martin (UCLA) and the redshirt season for Oregon's injured Shaquala Williams, Payne and Franza entered the 2000-01 season as the leading returning scorers in the Pac-10.

Huskies Among National Leaders in RPI Rankings Washington's impressive stand in the RPI rankings continues. In the Dec. 31 Collegiate Basketball News Women's RPI Ratings, Washington remained at No. 7 in the nation and its schedule is listed as the SECOND-toughest in the country. Tennessee, Connecticut and Notre Dame make up the top three in the RPI ratings. In strength of schedule, Washington is behind only Penn State. Pac-10-member Oregon is sitting at No. 9 in the rankings this week while Arizona is at No. 12 and Stanford at No. 13.
Washington has posted a record of 7-3 in the early season, including a six-game win streak that was just snapped by a 10-1 Colorado State team. The wins have been impressive. UW's victory over Michigan came against a Wolverine team that had knocked off then-eighth-ranked Louisiana Tech, a 2000 Final Four participant. Washington's season-opening loss at Indiana, at the buzzer in overtime, came against a Hoosier team that has gone on to post a record of 11-2. UW's other loss came at the hands of top-ranked and defending national champion Connecticut.
The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is used by the NCAA women's basketball committee to supplement the selection of at-large teams and the seeding of all teams for the NCAA basketball tournament. It is derived from three component factors: Div. 1 winning percentage (25%), schedule strength (50%) and opponent's schedule strength (25%).

On the Rebound: Washington's rebounding efforts have improved tremendously from last season. After a cumulative -4.3 rebounding margin in 2000, the Huskies lead the Pac-10 with a margin of +7.1. Aside from a five-rebound advantage by Connecticut and a one board margin to St. Mary's, the Huskies have outrebounded their other nine opponents. UW is averaging 45.5 rpg, first in the Pac-10, after 11 games. Freshman Giuliana Mendiola is currently the leading rebounder at 7.5 boards per game. LeAnn Sheets, who missed two games with an ankle injury, is at 6.1 rpg, after returning to the lineup against St. Mary's and Kellie O'Neill is at 5.6 rpg.

Look at Lalum: Freshman Andrea Lalum (Bozeman, Mont.) blocked four shots in the game against St. Mary's Dec. 17. That mark is the highest by a Husky player since Amber Hall swatted four away at Texas on Dec. 2, 1996. Hall, then a junior, went on to finish her career as Washington's career-leading rebounder (1,003 rebounds, 1996-99).

Catching up with Kellie: Sophomore Kellie O'Neill is off to a hot start in her second season as Husky. A 6-1 guard-forward who started only nine games and averaged 6.4 points before suffering an ankle injury last season, poured in a game-high 27 points against Connecticut in Washington's home-opener Nov. 24. O'Neill, who topped her previous career-best 16-point from December 1999, went 12-for-18 from the field, including a 2-for-3 effort from 3-point range. Even more impressive was who it came against. O'Neill put in the highest individual scoring effort against UConn so far this season. Only three players - including 2000 WNBA Rookie of the Year Betty Lennox - were able to score at least 25 points against UConn and its stingy defense last season. She rebounded from a three-point performance at Boise State to nearly eclipse a Husky school record for field goal percentage at Oklahoma State. O'Neill hit her first nine shots from the field, en route to a 20 point, nine rebound effort against the Cowgirls. She was nearing former standout Karen Deden's mark of 10-of11 (.919) versus Arizona State back in 1989. O'Neill, one of three Huskies averaging double figure scoring, is third on the team at 10.7 points per game. O'Neill, whose younger sister Kristen recently signed with Huskies for next season, finished her high school career at Meadowdale with 1,414 points, 810 rebounds, 213 steals and 170 blocks with a career field goal percentage of 50.9 percent.

What They're Saying about O'Neill'I like the way she plays,' Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma said of Kellie O'Neill after she scored 27 points against them on Nov. 24. 'You have to guard her at the 3-point line. She's really smart with the ball in the lane. Their guards (Megan Franza and injured Loree Payne) get a lot of mention and notoriety, and they should. But I think that kid (O'Neill) is really, really good.'

Coaching Staff: Head coach June Daugherty and her staff enter their fifth year at Washington, with one newcomer on list. Former Michigan Wolverine Yeshimbra 'Shimmy' Gray joins the Huskies this season, replacing Hulett Brooks who left to pursue private business. Daugherty, who was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in September, and her assistants, Sunny Smallwood and Mike Daugherty, have been together since the 1996-97 season.

Player Notes24 - Kellie O'Neill ... Had a career-high 27 points vs. No. 1 Connecticut ... 19 pts. in the first half ... limited to 3 pts. at Boise State but responded with 20 pts., 9 rebounds at Oklahoma State ... hit her first nine shots of the game at OSU ... team-high 8 rebounds vs. St. Mary's ... 10 pts., 7 rebounds vs. CSU.

42 - LeAnn Sheets ... Missed Nebraska and Oklahoma State games with sprained ankle ... returned to starting lineup vs. St. Mary's ... 11 pts., 7 rbs. vs. LMU and 10 rebounds vs. JMU ... Times Classic all-tourney team ... team-high 14 pts. vs. CSU.

14 - Megan Franza ... Veteran senior captain is again leading scorer with 14.6 ppg ... 23 pts. in season-opener at Indiana ... 21 pts. vs. Nebraska, including 9 pts. in a crucial 17-5 UW run en route the win over the Huskers ... tied her career-high with 13 3 pt. attempts ... moved to No. 10 on UW career scroring list vs. JMU ... has 1,228 points in 96 career games ... Times Classic all-tourney team ... held to 9 pts. vs. CSU, the second time this season under double figures (UConn).

13 - Giuliana Mendiola ... Impressive in first 10 games ... 19 points at Boise St., with 4 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers in 30 min. ... has started eight games ... 1 turnover in first collegiate game at Indiana and also hit 3-pointer to send game to OT ... three double-doubles, most recently vs. CSU (10 pts./11 rbs) ... plays point guard and either wing position ... leading rebounder with 7.8 rpg ... MVP of Seattle Times Classic ... 5 assists vs. CSU.

32 - Jill Pimley ... Has started 9 games ... tri-captain ... defensive stalwart ... 'stat sheet stuffer' who does all the little things ... career-high 14 points vs. St. Mary's ... banked a 3-pointer for game highlight ... tied for second in Pac-10 in FT percentage (20-23/.870) ... 3-4 from three point line vs. UCLA.

Off the Bench4 - Melissa Erickson ... Senior leadership and inside presence ... had the flu this week but is expected to play.

12 - Sarah Duncan ... Top defender off the bench ... has played in 9-of-10 games ... 3 rebounds, 3 assists at Oklahoma State.

22 - Loree Payne ... saw her first action of the season against LMU (8 pts.) and JMU (3 pts.) ... 9 points in 21 minutes vs. CSU ... playing time should increase as rehab continues ... returned to starting lineup vs. UCLA.

23 - Emily Autrey ... Came off the bench at Boise St. for a career-high 20 points on 8-11 fg ... 6 pts., 6 rbs. vs. LMU.

31- Gioconda Mendiola ... Averaging five minutes a game in first season ... speedy guard ... against LMU, followed a three pointer by her sister Giuliana with one of her own, for her first points of the season ... team and career-high 10 pts. vs. UCLA ... birthday is game day vs. USC (Jan. 7).

33 - Carli Halpenny ... Healthy for first time in three seasons ... has made tremendous improvement in strength and aggressiveness ... initially entered season as a redshirt junior but will complete her eligibility this season and study the spring quarter in Rome, Italy.

40 - Andrea Lalum ... Made her first start at Oklahoma State ... four blocked shots against St. Mary's is best for a Husky since Amber Hall in 1996 ... can pound inside or step and hit for three ... 4-of-8 from the field vs. CSU ... 9 pts./9 rbs. vs. UCLA.

41 - Heather Reichmann ... Has seen limited action in first 7 games ... 3 rebounds at Oklahoma State ... 2 steals and 1 assist vs. St. Mary's.

44 - Cheryl Sorenson ... Sat out Boise St. with tendinitis in knee and has played sparingly since then ... versatile guard/forward ... returns from redshirt season and ACL surgery ... impressive in first game back, at Indiana, with 5-7 fg for 12 pts., 4 rebounds.

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