Basketball Hosts Top-Ranked UConn, Sunday

Dec. 1, 2003

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THIS WEEK
Sunday, Dec. 7 - #1 UConn at USC
2 p.m. at Los Angeles Sports Arena


RADIO:
Listen to the game on KMPC 1540-AM
INTERNET:

Listen to the game at www.usctrojans.com



The Facts
The USC women's basketball team (1-2), coming off a split at the Junkanoo Jam Grand Bahama Tournament, opens the 2003-04 home schedule this week against defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Connecticut on Sunday, Dec. 7. The Huskies (3-0) visit the Los Angeles Sports Arena for a 2 p.m. tip off against the Women of Troy. The game can be heard on the L.A. airwaves on KMPC 1540-AM or on the internet at www.usctrojans.com. Fans can also view a live streaming broadcast of the game at www.uconnhuskies.com. USC defeated Seton Hall, 70-59, but fell to 11th-ranked Minnesota, 84-61, at last week's holiday tourney.

USC In Home Season Openers
The Women of Troy are 25-2 all-time in the first home game of the season. Last season, USC defeated Northern Arizona, 63-55, to begin the home slate on Nov. 15. USC's only two home-opening losses came at the hands of UNLV and San Diego State in 1989 and 1996, respectively.

Against Ranked Opponents
USC faces its second ranked opponent of the season this week when it hosts No. 1 UConn. The Trojans already faced No. 11 Minnesota in the championship game of the Junkanoo Jam last week. Connecticut will be the second of a likely eight ranked opponents on the 2003-04 USC schedule, including Minnesota, No. 6/6 Stanford (Jan. 25 and Feb. 19), No. 20/16 Colorado (Dec. 20), No. 16/19 UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 26), No. 17/17 Notre Dame (Dec. 22), No. 21/18 Arizona (Jan. 15 and Feb. 15) and No. 24/25 Oregon (Jan. 2 and Jan. 31).

USC's nonconference strength of schedule is ranked No. 6 according to the Preseason WBCA/Summerville RPI report.

Trojans Make Habit Of Taking On Champs
This is the third-straight year the Women of Troy have had to face the defending national champion. In addition to its match-up with UConn this Sunday, USC also faced the Huskies last season, a season after the they captured the 2002 national title. The Trojans also faced Notre Dame in 2001-02 after the Fighting Irish won the 2001 championship.

USC Women's Basketball On LA Airwaves
KMPC-AM 1540 - USC's flagship station - will air six Women of Troy basketball games this season, starting with this week's match-up with Connecticut. Pete Arbogast, the voice of Trojan football, will provide play-by-play, and former Trojan women's basketball standout Denise Woods ('00) will provide color commentary for the following games: Dec. 7 vs. UConn, Dec. 20 vs. Colorado, Jan. 25 vs. Stanford, Jan. 31 vs. Oregon, Feb. 26 vs. UC Santa Barbara and Feb. 29 vs. UCLA.

UConn/USC Connections
* UConn's Diana Taurasi and USC's Ebony Hoffman were the No. 1 and 2-ranked prep recruits coming out of high school in 2000.
* UConn sophomore forward/center Willnett Crocket and USC's Ebony Hoffman, Jamie Funn and Jessica Cheeks all prepped at Los Angeles' Narbonne High.
* UConn boasts two native Californians on its roster - Diana Taurasi (Chino) and Willnett Crockett (Harbor City).

Game Recaps - Junkanoo Jam Bahama Tournament
vs. Seton Hall
-- Ebony Hoffman led with 20 points as USC defeated Seton Hall, 70-59, in the first round of the Junkanoo Jam on Nov. 28. USC took advantage of the Pirates' 15 turnovers and 21 fouls in the second half to secure the lead. In the game, the Trojans scored 26 points off of Seton Hall turnovers and collected 19 points at the free throw line. After briefly losing its halftime advantage early in the second period, the Women of Troy regained control on a three-pointer by Hoffman at 15:59 to go ahead 34-32. The Pirates came within one point, 36-35, shortly after (14:35), but it marked the final opportunity Seton Hall had to get back in the game. USC extended its lead to 10 (45-35) at 10:20 and held off the Pirates for the remainder of the game. In addition to Hoffman, Rometra Craig contributed 18 points and Meghan Gnekow led with nine rebounds.
vs. No. 13 Minnesota -- The 11th-ranked Minnesota Gophers proved too difficult to stop as they rolled to an 84-61 victory over USC in the championship game of the 2003 Junkanoo Jam Grand Bahama Tournament on Nov. 29. Minnesota shot nearly 50 percent from the field and 71 percent at the free throw line. USC was held to 32.8 percent shooting from the field, 63 percent at the line and tallied only five assists in the effort. The Women of Troy trailed by only two points at the start of the game (10-8), before a 14-2 Minnesota scoring run put the Trojans at a 14-point deficit, 24-10, by the eight-minute mark. USC did head into halftime energized by Jamie Hagiya's three-point shot from beyond halfcourt, to trail by only 11 points, 40-29, at the break. But Minnesota only got stronger upon returning to the court. The Gophers led by as much as 34 points before posting the final 84-61 win.

For their performances in the two tournament games, Ebony Hoffman and Rometra Craig were named to the all-tournament team.

Gnekow Makes Presence Known
As a first-year starter, sophomore Meghan Gnekow has stood out in the Women of Troy's first three games. With top rebounding and defensive performances in the three outings, Gnekow ranks among Pac-10 leaders in multiple categories. This week she leads the conference in offensive boards (3.67 orpg), ranks second in total rebounding average (8.7 rpg), seventh in blocked shots (1.0 bpg) and eighth in defensive rebounds (5.00 drpg).

Stop Thief!
Ebony Hoffman has already established herself as the team thief. Hoffman is averaging a team-best 3.33 steals per game and ranks second in the Pac-10. She had six steals against Minnesota on Nov. 29 (just one short of her career high).

Player News N' Notes
* Meghan Gnekow surpassed her career high with 10 rebounds and tied her career high with three assists and two blocks at New Mexico (11/21).
* Tiffany Hicks collected a career-high five rebounds at New Mexico (11/21).

Team News N' Notes
* USC's five assists against Minnesota tie for seventh among program records for fewest assists in a game, and its 28 personal fouls tie for seventh-most. Minnesota's 29 fouls tie for 10th among opponent game records and its 38 free throws attempted rank 10th.
* Multiple marks were set in the USC record books against New Mexico (11/21): USC's 33 personal fouls tie for second-most and New Mexico's 33 free throws made and 43 free throw attempts rank fourth and second among opponent game records.

USC Fielding One of Youngest Lineups
USC is fielding one of its youngest lineups in program history, including the most freshmen (seven) to ever compete on one squad (the Trojans had six freshmen listed on the rosters in 1996 and 1985). The average age on the 2004 roster is 19.4 years old.

Hoffman Earns Preseason Honors
In her final season at USC, three-year starter Ebony Hoffman has been named to the first-ever John R. Wooden Women's Award Preseason All-America team. As one of 30 honorees, Hoffman will be in the running for the John R. Wooden Award, which will be presented annually to the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player. She has also been chosen among the list of preseason candidates for the 2003-04 State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Player of the Year and NCAA Division I Player of the Year honors, as well as earning her third-straight All-Pac-10 preseason selection.

New Additions Among Nation's Best
This season, there's an entirely new version of Women of Troy basketball. With great success on the recruiting front last year, Gobrecht and her staff welcome the ninth-ranked incoming recruiting class of 2003 according to USA Today and Mike Flynn's Blue Star Report. In addition to four seniors, two juniors and one sophomore, newcomers Jamie Funn (Los Angeles), Markisha Lea (Riverside, Calif.), Eshaya Murphy (Van Nuys, Calif.), Chlo� Kerr (Bolingbrook, Ill.), Allison Jaskowiak (Chesterfield, Mo.), Katie Henderson (Redmond, Wash.) and Jamie Hagiya (Torrance, Calif.) round out the 2003-04 Women of Troy lineup.

Competitive Siblings
Three USC players have siblings that are also currently playing collegiate basketball. Jamie Funn's sister, Nicole, is a senior guard at Pepperdine, Markisha Lea's brother, Marvin, is a redshirt freshman guard at Pepperdine and Allison Jaskowiak's sister, Emily, is a junior forward at Tulsa.

Freshmen Are Born Leaders
All seven freshman were equally successful as preps - especially off the court. Of the seven, five served as student body officers, including three presidents (Jamie Hagiya, Allison Jaskowiak, Markisha Lea), one vice president (Eshaya Murphy) and one treasurer (Chlo� Kerr). Also excelling in the classroom, six of the seven were either prep honor roll students or scholar-athlete award winners.

Head Coach Chris Gobrecht
Chris Gobrecht enters her seventh 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 411-300 (.578) 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 179-109 (.622) mark and she ranks among the top 50 active Division I coaches with 411 career victories.



Opponent Notes

#1 Connecticut -- The Huskies are 3-0 as they head into this week, having already notched wins over Western Michigan (95-46), Florida State (81-53) and Holy Cross (76-42). Before facing the Women of Troy on Sunday, UConn will play games against Siena at home on Dec. 2 and a game at Pepperdine on Dec. 5. So far this season, the team is being led by senior guard Diana Taurasi, who is averaging 24.3 points per game and shooting 73.5 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from three-point range. Center Jessica Moore is averaging a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game, while guard Maria Conlon leads with 5.3 assists per outing.

UConn captured the 2003 NCAA Championship with a 37-1 overall record and the Big East title with an undefeated 16-0 conference mark. Head coach Geno Auriemma, currently in his 18th season at UConn, lost no one from that title squad, returning all five starters and 11 letterwinners. The Huskies did welcome two newcomers, including 5-8 guard Kiana Robinson and 6-4 center Liz Sherwood.

USC-Connecticut Series Record -- Sunday's game will mark only the second meeting between these two schools. Last season's match-up was the first in program history as the Huskies defeated the Women of Troy, 68-44, in Hartford, Conn.

Team Comparisons	
Team Ppg Margin FG% 3-FG% FT% Rpg Apg TOpg Spg Bpg
USC 68.7 -4.7 36.5 27.0 56.6 42.7 12.0 18.3 13.7 3.3
Connecticut 84.0 +37.0 50.8 40.7 71.0 41.0 24.7 11.3 11.7 6.7

Player Profiles

#2 Jamie Hagiya (Point Guard * Freshman)
Jamie Hagiya enters her first season at USC... A much-needed player at the point guard position whose leadership capabilities and work ethic may give her an active role in the lineup this season... As a senior at South Torrance (Calif.) High, she led all Southern California prepsters with an 87.7 free throw percentage... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003.
This Season (3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 5 points (2-4), 1 rebound, 2 steals... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 3 points (1-1), 3 assists... vs. Minn. (11/29): 12 points (4-18), 1 rebound, 2 assists, 3 steals, hit halfcourt shot as clock ran down in the first half...

#3 Rometra Craig (Guard * Senior)
Rometra Craig begins her second season with the Women of Troy... A 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention pick... Averaged 13.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.4 steals last season, while leading the team with 34 three-pointers... A returning starter.
This Season (3 games started, 3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 11 points (3-13), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 18 points (7-13), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 11 points (4-11), 1 rebound, 3 steals, 1 block... Named to Junkanoo Jam All-Tournament team...

#5 Meghan Gnekow (Guard * Sophomore)
Meghan Gnekow enters her second season at USC... Played mainly at off the bench last season at the shooting guard and small forward positions... Averaged 6.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.4 blocks per game in 2002-03.
This Season (3 games started, 3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 14 points (1-5), career-high 10 rebounds, tied career high 3 assists, tied career high 2 blocks... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 7 points (2-7), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 5 points (2-6), 7 rebounds, 2 steals..

#10 Jessica Cheeks (Guard * Junior)
Jessica Cheeks enters her fourth season with the Women of Troy, but will not join the team until the conclusion of the fall semester as an extension of her 10-game hiatus from the 2003 season... Played 22 games last season and averaged 8.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game... A returning starter.
This Season:
Will not join team until Dec. 19.

#14 Eshaya Murphy (Guard * Freshman)
Eshaya Murphy enters her first season with the Women of Troy... Also goes by 'Shay'... As a senior at Montclair Prep in Van Nuys, she finished among the CIF Southern Section's top 25 in scoring, rebounding and steals... She was a two-time Street & Smith All-American honorable mention and the 2003 CIF Southern Section Player of the Year... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003.
This Season (3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 5 points (2-6), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 8 points (2-5), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Minn. (11/29): 5 points (1-5), 1 rebound, 1 steal...

#15 Markisha Lea (Center * Freshman)
Markisha Lea enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A Street & Smith honorable mention pick... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003... Her brother, Marvin, is currently a redshirt freshman on the Pepperdine men's basketball team.
This Season:
at New Mexico (11/21): DNP... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): DNP... vs. Minn. (11/29): DNP...

#22 Allison Jaskowiak (Guard/Forward * Freshman)
Allison Jaskowiak begins her first season at USC... A player capable of playing at the 2, 3 and 4 positions... One of four USC freshman who served as student body president or vice president in 2003... Comes from a long-line of athletes: her grandfather played 10 years in the NBA, father played football at Missouri, brother played football at Navy and sister, Emily, is currently a junior forward at Tulsa.
This Season:
at New Mexico (11/21): DNP... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): DNP... vs. Minn. (11/29): DNP...

#24 Tiffany Hicks (Point Guard * Senior)
Tiffany Hicks begins her fourth season at USC... A 2002 junior college transfer... The only true returning point guard... Made 15 starts last season and averaged 2.0 points, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
This Season (3 games started, 3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 4 points (1-4), career-high 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 4 points (1-1), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 2 points (1-1), 1 rebound, 1 assist...

#30 Katie Henderson (Forward * Freshman)
Katie Henderson begins her first season at USC... A multi-sport athlete with good size and shooting ability... Will have the opportunity to contribute off the bench for the Women of Troy this season.
This Season:
at New Mexico (11/21): DNP... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): DNP... vs. Minn. (11/29): DNP...

#32 Ebony Hoffman (Forward * Senior)
Ebony Hoffman enters her fourth season with the Women of Troy... One of the most dominating post players in the conference who has already enjoyed three outstanding seasons at USC... Named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 First Team and a WBCA All-District 8 selection after leading the team with 16.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks per game last season... Already selected to three Preseason All-America lists for 2004... A returning starter in the post.
This Season (3 games started, 3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 19 points (8-14), 3 rebounds, 1 block... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 20 points (5-12), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 4 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 10 points (4-15), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 6 steals...

#33 Rachel Woodward (Forward * Junior)
Rachel Woodward enters her third season with the Women of Troy... A 2002 Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection... Made 29 starts and averaged 10.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game last season... A talented passer who works well in transition and possesses strong rebounding skills... A returning starter.
This Season (3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 9 points (4-9), 2 rebounds, 2 assists... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 2 points (0-3), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): 1 point (0-3, 1-2 FT), 2 rebounds...

#41 Jamie Funn (Center * Freshman)
Jamie Funn enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A three-time Street & Smith honorable mention selection... A fellow Narbonne High standout, along with current teammates Ebony Hoffman and Jessica Cheeks... Her sister, Nicole, is currently a senior guard on the Pepperdine women's basketball team... A versatile forward with great reach.
This Season (3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 2 points (1-5), 6 rebounds, 1 assist... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 4 points (2-5), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): 6 points (0-0, 6-8 FT), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal...

#44 Kim Gipson (Center * Junior)
Kim Gipson begins her third season with the Women of Troy... At 6-foot-5, she is the tallest player on the USC roster... A fast and mobile player, who can run the court well... She played in all 31 games last season and averaged 3.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.2 blocks per game.
This Season (3 games started, 3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): started, 6 points (3-9), 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): started, 1 assist... vs. Minn. (11/29): started, 7 points (3-6), 5 rebounds...

#50 Chlo� Kerr (Center * Freshman)
Chlo� Kerr enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A three-time Street & Smith honorable mention pick, who was ranked 33rd among prep recruits in 2003... Will be looked to for much-needed depth in the post... Her father and uncle both played basketball at Colorado State, one brother played football at Tennessee and another brother played basketball at Loyola-Chicago.
This Season (3 games played):
at New Mexico (11/21): 10 points (4-10), 9 rebounds, 1 block... vs. Seton Hall (11/28): 4 points (1-5), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 steals... vs. Minn. (11/29): 2 points (1-3), 1 rebound, 1 steal...

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