Women of Troy Travel To SMU, Colorado For Final Nonconference Games
Dec. 18, 2002
Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. CST at SMU - Dallas, Texas
Listen on the internet at www.usctrojans.com
Saturday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. MST at Colorado - Boulder, Colo.
Follow live stats on the internet at www.usctrojans.com
The USC women's basketball team (4-4) looks to bounce back from two difficult losses as it travels to SMU (4-2) and Colorado (7-1) this week for the final nonconference games of the 2002-03 season. The Women of Troy face the Mustangs in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. CST. The game can be heard live on www.usctrojans.com. The final stop of the trip will be in Boulder, Colo. for a game on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. MST. Follow the game with live stats at www.usctrojans.com.
The Trojans are coming off a 71-39 loss to fourth-ranked Tennessee -- their second consecutive game against a top-5 opponent after facing No. 5 UConn just six days prior.
All USC home games can be heard live via the internet at www.usctrojans.com. To find the USC audio broadcast go to the 'Multimedia' link at the top of the homepage. You can also follow the game with Live Stats by going to the women's basketball schedule page.
USC, which advanced to the second round of the Postseason Women's NIT in 2002, looks to carry its late-season momentum into 2003. Under sixth-year head coach Chris Gobrecht, the Women of Troy return four starters and seven total letterwinners from last year's squad which posted a 16-14 overall record and 11-7 mark in the Pac-10 to finish tied for fourth place. This season, USC will look to All-American candidates and returning All-Pac-10 first team selections Ebony Hoffman and Aisha Hollans, in addition to 2002 Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection Rachel Woodward to make the difference.
Rometra Craig Makes USC Debut
Junior transfer Rometra Craig (Portola Valley, Calif.) makes her USC debut this Thursday, Dec. 19, versus SMU. The Duke transfer officially becomes eligible on Dec. 19 (one full year after her transfer date). A unanimous prep All-American at Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose, Calif., Craig was a member of Duke's heralded recruiting class of 2002. Before transferring, the junior averaged 17.9 minutes, 6.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game with the Blue Devils. Craig will have one-and-a-half years of remaining eligibility at USC.
Pac-10 Play Around The Corner
Pac-10 play is right around the corner and the Women of Troy will barely have the chance to finish unwrapping Christmas gifts before jumping on a flight to Oregon for the first conference series of 2003. Thanks to the newly-added Pac-10 women's basketball tournament, 2002 marked the first time ever the Women of Troy played Pac-10 games in the month of the December. Even as a previous member of the WCAA (1977-85) and Pac West (1986) conferences, USC had only played one conference game in December (the Trojans defeated San Diego State, 102-66, in San Diego on Dec. 14, 1982) before last season. This year, USC will meet Oregon State and Oregon on Dec. 27 and 29.
Forward/center Ebony Hoffman suffered a mild concussion in the final minutes of the USC-Tennessee game on Dec. 14. Following the game she underwent a CT scan and was cleared. Hoffman did not miss any practice time.
The trip to Dallas, Texas, is a homecoming for senior Erin Young who grew up in Dallas and prepped at Highland Park High.
Colorado has two Southern California natives on its roster -- sophomore guard Syreeta Stafford of Torrance and sophomore guard Veronica Johns-Richardson of Fullerton. Stafford is also a former Narbonne High prep teammate of Ebony Hoffman and Jessica Cheeks.
Having faced both fifth-ranked UConn and fourth-ranked Tennessee the last week has not helped the Trojans' shooting woes. USC tallied the lowest and third-lowest record for point totals with 39 points versus Tennessee and 44 points versus UConn. Against the Huskies, the Women of Troy also recorded the least amount of field goals (12) and lowest shooting percentage (18.2) in program history. The Trojans shot a combined 23.0 percent in both games.
No Rest For The Weary
The Trojans spent no time at all warming up this season. In just the first month of the season, USC played eight games, faced five ranked opponents (No. 29 Colorado State, No. 4 Kansas State, No. 10 Notre Dame, No. 5 UConn and No. 4 Tennessee), took four road trips with stops in Colorado, Kansas and Connecticut, and played four home games. The Trojans add to that by heading to Texas and Colorado (again) this week before the start of conference play.
Chris Gobrecht Collects 400th career victory
Head coach Chris Gobrecht collected her 400th career victory with a 64-63 win at Pepperdine on Dec. 4. Currently in her 24th season as a head coach, Gobrecht boasts a 400-284 (.585) career record. She is the third active Pac-10 coach to reach the 400-victory plateau behind Arizona's Joan Bonvicini and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer.
Hoffman Seeing Double
Forward/center Ebony Hoffman was seeing double when she recorded back-to-back double-doubles and averaged 21.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game against Pepperdine (Dec. 4) and UConn (Dec. 8). Hoffman posted 20 points and 15 rebounds against Pepperdine, then followed it with a 22-point, 14-rebound performance at UConn.
Hollans Starts to Hit Stride
After a rough start to 2002, junior guard Aisha Hollans is starting to hit her stride. Last year's Pac-10 second-leading scorer, Hollans sat out the first game of the season with a team suspension (coach's decision), then did not start in the following five games. But since facing Pepperdine on Dec. 4, Hollans has averaged a much-improved 11.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and made her first start of the season at UConn.
Keep Your Eye On The Ball
There is one category that the Trojans have definitely dominated this season - turnovers! Despite averaging 24.3 turnovers in the first seven games, the Women of Troy have used it to their advantage by forcing opponents to turn the ball over 27.9 times per outing. With a fast-paced pressure defense, USC has also managed to collect 10.9 steals per game.
Game Recap: #4 Tennessee def. USC, 71-39
Ebony Hoffman was USC's only player to finish in double figures as the Women of Troy fell to No. 4 Tennessee 71-39 on Dec. 14. The Lady Vols opened the second half by out-scoring the Trojans 14-4, opening a 42-18 lead. Tennessee led by at least 22 for the remainder of the game, and led by 34 three times. USC shot 27.3 percent in the first half, and scored just two points over the final 11:01 of the half. The Lady Vols scored the last four points of the first half for a 28-14 halftime lead, while the 14 points were the fewest ever in a half by the Women of Troy. The previous low was 15 on Jan. 27, 1990, against Oregon State. The Trojans previous low point total was 40, on March 1, 1990, against Washington, which was coached by present USC coach Chris Gobrecht. The win was Tennessee's fifth straight over the Trojans, giving the Lady Vols an 8-7 lead in the series.
2003 Player News N' Notes
* Ebony Hoffman matched her career high with four blocks against Pepperdine (Dec. 4).
* Rachel Woodward scored a career high 22 points against Notre Dame (Nov. 29).
* Ebony Hoffman posted a career high seven steals in win over New Mexico (Nov. 23).
* Ebony Hoffman collected a career-high 18 rebounds in a double-double effort against Northern Arizona (Nov. 15).
The Last Time...
Before beating No. 19 Colorado State in the first week of the season, the last time the Women of Troy beat a ranked opponent was on Jan. 19, 2002 when they defeated No. 23 Arizona State.
USC Boasts Nation's Second-Toughest Schedule
The Women of Troy have a definite challenge ahead of them this season - actually the No. 2 toughest challenge, according to the WBCA and its preseason nonconference strength of schedule rating. The Trojans are ranked No. 17 in overall strength of schedule. The 2003 schedule features Notre Dame (Nov. 29) at the Sports Arena and Tennessee (Dec. 14), who boasts the No. 1-rated toughest schedule, at the Forum, road games against New Mexico (Nov. 23), Pepperdine (Dec. 4), SMU (Dec. 18), Colorado (Dec. 21) and UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 9), and a Dec. 8 match-up at defending national champion Connecticut in Hartford, Conn.
USC In the Preseason WNIT
The Trojans advanced to the semifinals of the Preseason Women's NIT to start 2002 after twice appearing in the postseason tournament (2000, 2002). As the fourth Pac-10 team to compete in the preseason event since its inception in 1994, the Trojans are the first to ever advance past the second round. Pac-10 teams are now 5-4 all-time in the preseason tourney.
Hoffman Named Candidate For Naismith Award
Ebony Hoffman was named to the list of women's preseason candidates for the 2003 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award. The Naismith Awards program, now in its 35th year, honors the outstanding college basketball players in the United States. The candidates were selected by a vote of the Board of Selectors comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball analysts.
Hoffman Leads USA World Championship Team To Gold Medal
Finishing with a perfect 4-0 record, the 2002 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Team claimed the gold medal with an 81-50 victory over host Brazil (4-1) on July 21 thanks to an 18-point, 11-rebound effort from junior Ebony Hoffman. Averaging a tournament leading 102.8 points an outing, the United States had five players finish with scoring averages in double digits, three of whom finished among the top 10 in the tournament in scoring. Leading the charge was Hoffman, who averaged a tournament fourth-best 13.3 points.
Trojans Welcome New Assistant Coach
Steve Brooks, a former prep basketball coach with more than 20 years of coaching experience, was named an assistant coach for the USC women's basketball team by head coach Chris Gobrecht in July. Brooks will be in charge of overseeing the individual development of the USC players, as well as on-campus recruiting, conditioning and scouting. He replaces Colleen Matsuhara, who became head women's coach at West Los Angeles Community College.
Forward Ebony Hoffman and guard Aisha Hollans were both named to the All-Pac-10 first team in 2002 - a first for the two standout players and the first, first-team selections for the Women of Troy since the 1999 season (also the first time USC has had two named to the first team since the 1994 season). Rachel Woodward also received her share of honors by being named to the conference All-Freshman team. Woodward finished the season third on the team in scoring (11.3 ppg), assists (1.8 apg) and blocked shots (0.6 bpg), and fourth in rebounding (4.9 rpg).
Two New Additions
There are two new additions to this year's Women of Troy roster - junior college transfer Tiffany Hicks and freshman Meghan Gnekow. Hicks is an experienced point guard who helped lead Iowa Western Community College to its first-ever district championship in 2002, while Gnekow will likely play at the 2/3 guard position and is expected to provide the team with necessary three-point shooting at those positions. She prepped at Lincoln (Neb.) High.
Even Newer Additions
At the start of the season, the Women of Troy added two freshmen walk-ons to the 2002-03 roster. An academic sophomore, Alessandra Albrizzio is a 5-9 guard who hails from Holy Names High in El Cerrito, Calif. Albrizzio will wear No. 20. The newest addition is freshman forward Reva Evero who prepped at Alta Loma High in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Evero will wear No. 4.
USC Signs Six To Letters Of Intent
USC signed six players to letters of intent - including four prep All-American selections - for the 2004 season, head coach Chris Gobrecht announced on Nov. 18. Jamie Funn of Los Angeles, Markisha Lea of Riverside, Eshaya Murphy of Van Nuys, Chloe Kerr of Bollingbrook, Ill., Allison Jaskowiak of Chesterfield, Mo., and Katie Henderson of Redmond, Wash., make up what has already been ranked as the nation's No. 9 recruiting class of 2003 in Blue Star Report. 'This is the kind of recruiting class that establishes a foundation for the future,' said Gobrecht, who is in her sixth season at USC. 'These student-athletes are not only excellent basketball players, but also strong students and outstanding people. They are the type of recruits you can build your program on.'
Head Coach Chris Gobrecht
Chris Gobrecht enters her sixth 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 24 years of head coaching experience, Gobrecht has amassed a 400-285 (.584) 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 171-99 (.633) mark and she ranks among the top 50 active Division I coaches with 400 career victories.
SMU (4-2) -- SMU heads into Thursday's game with a 4-2 overall record after defeating North Texas, 68-64, on Monday, Dec. 16. So far this season, the Mustangs have also defeated Wake Forest, Missouri and Stony Brook, and fallen to Texas A&M and TCU. The Mustangs are currently led by guard Andrea Cossey and center Kim Walter who are averaging 14.0 and 13.0 points per game. Walter leads on the boards with 7.7 rebounds per game. This year's squad returned eight total letterwinners and four starters from last year's team, which posted a 12-18 overall record and 6-12 mark for seventh place in the Western Athletic Conference. Head coach Rhonda Rompola is in her 12th season at SMU.
USC-SMU Series Record -- Thursday's game will mark the second meeting between USC and SMU. The teams first met in 1985-86 at the Northern Lights Invitational in Anchorage, Alaska. USC won that meeting 121-61 (the most points ever scored by a USC team).
SMU Probable Starters
No. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg
4 Vanita Krouch G 5-6 0.7 1.7 0.7 0.8
22 Shanta Ramdhanny G 5-8 9.8 3.3 2.7 0.8
32 Kim Walter C/F 6-2 13.0 7.7 1.3 0.5
34 Kaci Alexander C/F 6-4 6.2 4.0 1.3 0.5
40 Andrea Cossey G 5-11 14.0 3.3 4.0 1.5
Colorado (7-1) -- Colorado is riding a four-game win streak after defeating instate rival Colorado State, 65-51, on Dec. 12 to improve to 7-1 this season. The Buffaloes have also earned victories over Cal, Evansville, Wyoming, Hartford, Detroit-Mercy and Rice, while their only loss was a 59-54 decision to Villanova on Nov. 30. The team is led by returning starting center Tera Bjorklund who averages 18.8 points per game in addition to 7.0 rebounds per outing. Three players average double figures in scoring, including forward Sabrina Scott who is second on the team with 12.3 points per game and leads on the boards with 7.4 rebounds per outing. In her 20th season at the helm of the CU program, head coach Ceal Barry returned nine letterwinners, but only one starter from last year's squad which advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight and posted a 24-10 overall record (11-5 for third place in Big XII).
USC-Colorado Series Record -- Saturday's game will be the first-ever meeting between the Trojans and Buffaloes.
Colorado Probable Starters
No. Name Pos. ppg rpg apg spg
13 Linda Lappe F 8.8 3.3 2.4 1.3
22 Sabrina Scott F 12.3 7.4 3.3 1.0
50 Tera Bjorklund C 18.8 7.0 3.9 0.5
1 Kate Fagan G 11.5 3.1 2.3 1.3
3 Syreeta Stafford G 6.1 1.0 0.9 2.1
#3 Rometra Craig (Guard * Junior TR)
Rometra Craig will begin her first season with the Women of Troy on Dec. 19, 2002... Transferred from Duke midway through the 2001-02 season and must sit-out one complete year to become eligible... Becomes eligible to join the team on Dec. 19... A talented guard who brings additional speed and aggressiveness to USC's backcourt... An All-American caliber player.
#4 Reva Evero (Forward * Freshman)
Reva Evero enters her first season with the Women of Troy as a walk-on.
Added to the roster on Nov. 22... vs. New Mexico (11/23): DNP... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): DNP... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): DNP... at UConn (12/8): DNP... vs. Tenn (12/14): DNP...
#5 Meghan Gnekow (Guard * Freshman)
Meghan Gnekow enters her first season at USC after starring at Santa Ynez (Calif.) County Union High... A guard with the potential of playing at the 2 or 3 spots... Expected to help the team because of her perimeter shooting... An athletic player who can handle the ball and make things happen.
vs. NAU (11/15): 4 points (1-5), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. CSU (11/15): 4 points (2-6), 4 rebounds... vs. KSU (11/20): 12 points (5-12), 4 rebounds, 2 steals... vs. New Mexico (11/23): 5 points (1-6), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 7 steals... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): 2 rebounds, 1 steal... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): 6 points (2-3), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks... at UConn (12/8): 3 points (0-8), 6 rebounds, 1 assist... vs. Tenn (12/14): DNP...8 points (3-5), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block...
#10 Jessica Cheeks (Guard * Junior)
Jessica Cheeks begins her third season with the Women of Troy... Was moved to the point guard position as a freshman, but may return to a more natural 2/3 position as a junior... Is a great asset to the team because of her size and agility in the backcourt... An all-around athlete with great instincts for the game... A returning starter.
vs. NAU (11/15): started (at two guard), 13 points (6-13), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals... vs. CSU (11/15): started, 11 points (5-11), 7 rebounds, 7 assists... vs. KSU (11/20): started, 7 points (1-9), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals... vs. New Mexico (11/23): started, 15 points (7-10), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): started, 10 points (4-8), 2 rebounds, 3 assists... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): started, 14 points (6-11) - including game-winner - 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals... at UConn (12/8): started, 3 points (1-7), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals... vs. Tenn (12/14): started, 6 points (3-14), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 3 steals...
#20 Alessandra Albrizzio (Guard * RS Freshman)
Alessandra Albrizzio enters her first season with the Women of Troy as a walk-on.
vs. NAU (11/15): DNP... vs. CSU (11/15): DNP... vs. KSU (11/20): DNP... vs. New Mexico (11/23): DNP... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): DNP... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): DNP... at UConn (12/8): DNP... vs. Tenn (12/14): made first collegiate appearance, played one minute...
#21 Erin Young (Forward * Senior)
Erin Young enters her senior year with the Women of Troy at forward... After joining the team as a freshman walk-on guard, she earned a scholarship for her final three seasons... Her shooting abilities are crucial to the team... Looks to become much more explosive after quiet sophomore and junior campaigns.
vs. NAU (11/15): started (only 2nd career start), 4 points (1-4), tied career high with 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block (first of career)... vs. CSU (11/15): started, 6 points (1-6), 5 rebounds, 2 assists... vs. KSU (11/20): started, 6 points (3-7), 2 rebounds... vs. New Mexico (11/23): started, 5 points (1-6), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 7 steals... vs. New Mexico (11/23): started, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): started, 1 rebound... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): 2 rebounds... at UConn (12/8): started, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Tenn (12/14): started, 2 points (1-1), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal...
#23 Aisha Hollans (Guard * Junior)
Aisha Hollans begins her third season with the Women of Troy... One of the most gifted guards in the conference and a crucial player to have on the court at all times... Named to the 2002 All-Pac-10 First Team... A 2003 ALL-AMERICAN candidate... A returning starter on the perimeter.
vs. NAU (11/15): DNP (academic suspension)... vs. CSU (11/15): 8 points (4-16), 4 rebounds, 1 assist... vs. KSU (11/20): 11 points (4-17), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal... vs. New Mexico (11/23): 6 points (3-9), 3 rebounds, 1 assist... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): 9 points (3-9), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): 17 points (5-10), 6 rebounds, 1 assist... at UConn (12/8): started, 11 points (4-16), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals... vs. Tenn (12/14): started, 6 points (3-11), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals...
#24 Tiffany Hicks (Guard * Junior TR)
A transfer from Iowa Western Community College, Tiffany Hicks begins her first season at USC... She has two years of eligibility available with the Women of Troy... A classic point guard who will be relied upon heavily this season... A very responsible player who will defend and get the ball to all the right people.
vs. NAU (11/15): started, 9 points (4-10), 2 rebounds3 assists.. vs. CSU (11/15): started, 3 points (1-3), 5 assists, 3 steals... vs. KSU (11/20): started, 2 points (1-4), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals... vs. New Mexico (11/23): started, 4 rebounds, 2 assists... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): 2 rebounds, 8 assists... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): started, 2 points (1-5), 2 assists, 1 steal... at UConn (12/8): 1 point, 2 rebounds, 1 steal... vs. Tenn (12/14): 3 points (1-4), 2 assists, 3 steals...
#32 Ebony Hoffman (Forward * Junior)
Ebony Hoffman enters her third season with the Women of Troy... One of the most dominating post players in the conference who had outstanding freshman and sophomore campaigns... Named to the 2002 All-Pac-10 First Team... Competed with the 2002 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Team this summer... A 2003 ALL-AMERICAN candidate... A returning starter in the post.
vs. NAU (11/15): started, double-double with 14 points (5-11) and career-high 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals... vs. CSU (11/15): started, 5 points (1-5), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals... vs. KSU (11/20): started, 10 points (4-10), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals... vs. New Mexico (11/23): started, 18 points (6-11), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, career-high 7 steals... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): started, 10 points (4-11), 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): started, 20 points (7-11), 15 rebounds, 3 assists, career-high 4 blocks, 2 steals... at UConn (12/8): started, 22 points (6-17), 14 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3 steals... vs. Tenn (12/14): started, 10 points (3-9), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, suffered mild concussion...
#33 Rachel Woodward (Forward * Sophomore)
Rachel Woodward enters her second season with the Women of Troy... A talented passer who runs the floor well... She can catch, pass and finish on the move... Works well in transition and possesses strong rebounding skills... Brings great size to the forward position... Named to the 2002 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team... A returning starter.
vs. NAU (11/15): started, 15 points (5-15), 4 rebounds, 3 assists2 steals... vs. CSU (11/15): started, 20 points (9-13) including game-winning three-pointer, 8 rebounds, 1 block... vs. KSU (11/20): started, 13 points (4-9), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 steals... vs. New Mexico (11/23): started, 11 points (3-11), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): started, career high 22 points (10-19), 2 assists, 1 steal... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): started, 3 points (1-4), 2 rebounds, 1 block, 2 steals... at UConn (12/8): started, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals... vs. Tenn (12/14): started, 2 points (1-7), 2 rebounds...
#44 Kim Gipson (Center * Sophomore)
Kim Gipson begins her second season with the Women of Troy... A terrific, big-time physical player who has continued to excel as her skills and understanding of the game have improved... An exceptional, bright athlete whose natural skills will bring her much success.
vs. NAU (11/15): 4 points (2-2), 2 rebounds, 1 assist... vs. CSU (11/15): 2 points (1-3), 3 rebounds... vs. KSU (11/20): 3 rebounds, 2 assists... vs. New Mexico (11/23): 1 rebound, 1 assist... vs. Notre Dame (11/29): 6 points (3-4), 1 rebound, 1 steal... vs. Pepperdine (12/4): started, 2 points (1-5), 3 rebounds, 1 steal... at UConn (12/8): 4 points (1-1), 3 rebounds... vs. Tenn (12/14): 2 points (1-4), 1 rebound...