Basketball Opens 2005 In Chicago

Nov. 17, 2004

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DePaul Moran Realty Classic - Chicago, Ill.
DePaul • UMass • USC • Murray State

USC vs. UMass at 5:30 p.m. CT

DePaul vs. Murray State at 7:30 p.m. CT

Consolation Game - 5:30 p.m. CT
Championship Game - 7:30 p.m. CT
**Available only for the DePaul game

The Facts
The USC women's basketball team, under the leadership of first-year head coach Mark Trakh, kicks off the 2004-05 season this week at the DePaul Moran Realty Classic in Chicago, Ill., along with teams from Massachusetts, No. 20 DePaul and Murray State. The Women of Troy open against UMass on Friday, Nov. 19, at 5:30 p.m. CT in the first round. Fans can listen to the game at USC will then advance to either a consolation or championship game to be played on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 5:30 or 7:30 p.m. CT. If USC faces DePaul in either game, the match-up can be heard at

The Women of Troy are coming off two exhibition victories over Love & Basketball, 86-73, and the Play Mode All-Stars, 91-74, last week.

It's a new start for USC as it enters the 2004-05 season under Trakh. Trakh, who was hired in April and boasts a history of success after spending 11 seasons at nearby Pepperdine and 13 years at the prep level, has high hopes for his young squad made up of nine returning letterwinners and four newcomers.

Season Outlook
Featuring only three upperclassmen and 11 freshmen and sophomores, USC is in search of its first NCAA berth since 1996. The team will rely on a number of local standouts, including returning part-time starters Jamie Hagiya (Torrance, Calif.), Jamie Funn (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Eshaya Murphy (Van Nuys, Calif.). The three sophomores earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention honors in 2004.

Meghan Gnekow, a junior guard from Santa Ynez, Calif., is the only full-time starter on the roster. She averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds last season.

The Trojans also boast a heralded recruiting class that includes local standout guards Brynn Cameron of Newbury Park (Calif.) High and Camille LeNoir of Harbor City's Narbonne High, as well as point guard Jazlyn Davis (Toledo, Ohio) and forward Símone Jelks (South Euclid, Ohio).

Senior Co-Captains
Seniors Rachel Woodward and Kim Gipson were selected as team co-captains for 2005. Both players are looking to gain additional playing time this season after quiet campaigns in 2004. Woodward enjoyed her most successful season as a freshman. That year she earned Pac-10 All-Freshman accolades and finished third on the team with 11.3 points, 1.8 assists and 0.6 blocks per game. Gipson also had her best season as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

Season Openers
The Women of Troy are 22-6 (.786) overall in season openers and 6-6 when the opening game is on the road. USC is also 16-12 in the first road game of the season. Last season, the Trojans fell to New Mexico, 77-75, in Albuquerque to begin the year.

Three Opponents Ranked In Top 25
USC's schedule features three opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including No. 10 Notre Dame (Nov. 26), No. 20 DePaul (possible game on Nov. 20) and No. 24 Arizona (Jan. 14 and Feb. 12).

Strength Of Schedule
According to the WBCA/Summerville Pre Season Strength of Schedule rankings, USC's schedule is rated No. 66 overall and No. 73 for nonconference games.

Injury Report
USC has endured a few injuries heading into the first week of play. Freshman point guard Jazlyn Davis is out indefinitely after suffering a fracture in her left foot on Oct. 16. Freshman forward Simone Jelks fractured her right hand on Nov. 14 and is sidelined for two weeks. Sophomore center Markisha Lea suffered a sprained left ankle during practice on Nov. 15 and is listed as day-to-day. Sophomore forward Eshaya Murphy sat out both exhibition games with a strained left calf and is listed as day-to-day.

Sophomores Looks To Lead
The sophomore class makes up nearly half of the 2004-05 squad with six players. This group, including Jamie Hagiya, Jamie Funn, Eshaya Murphy, Chloé Kerr, Allison Jaskowiak and Markisha Lea, averaged 19.2 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.8 steals per game last season.

USC To Field One Of Youngest Lineups
USC will field one of the youngest lineups in the country this season. The Women of Troy will feature 10 underclassmen, including six sophomores and four freshmen, and only three upperclassmen. The average age on the 2005 roster is 19.2.

Looking to Improve
The Women of Troy are looking to improve upon a 15-13 effort in 2004 that ended with a loss to Washington in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament. Midway through the season USC upset both Stanford and Arizona to pull within a half-game of the conference-leader and top-10 ranked Cardinal. But the team lost five of the final 10 games to finish in a tie for third place with an 11-7 league mark.


Massachusetts -- The Minutewomen return seven letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad which posted a 6-22 overall record and 2-14 mark for a sixth-place finish in the East Division of the Atlantic 10. Under third-year head coach Marnie Dacko, UMass opened the season with an 80-32 exhibition victory over the NWBL All-Stars last week. The team is expected to rely on senior forward Edris Bailey, who averaged 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds last year, and redshirt guard Katie Nelson.

USC-UMass Series Record -- This will be the first meeting between these two schools.

Team Comparisons (2003-04 Stats)Team	Ppg	Margin	FG%	3-FG%	FT%	Rpg	Apg	TOpg	Spg	BpgUSC	67.5	+4.2	40.1	31.5	67.7	37.9	14.0	19.9	11.3	2.6UMass	52.9	-8.4	39.7	29.1	58.4	33.0	12.8	19.3	8.1	2.0

UMass Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg4 Brooke Campbell Forward 6-0 -- -- -- --33 Tamara Tatham Forward 6-1 -- -- -- --34 Patrycja Gulak Center 6-4 -- -- -- --10 Katie Nelson Guard 5-7 -- -- -- --14 Pam Rosanio Guard 5-10 -- -- -- --

No. 20 DePaul -- The Blue Demons return eight letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad which advanced to the second round of the NCAAs. DePaul, which completed the season ranked No. 25, posted a 23-7 overall record in 2004 and finished 10-4 for fourth place in Conference USA. Head coach Doug Bruno, currently in his 19th year at DePaul, looks to rely on senior guards Jenni Dant (14.1 ppg, 4.1 ppg in 2004) and Charlene Smith (17.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg), as well as junior forward Khara Smith (20.4 ppg, 11.7 rpg). The Blue Demons defeated BK Poprad, 110-73, and Chicago Challengers, 91-74, in exhibition play.

USC-DePaul Series Record -- USC and DePaul have met twice. The Trojans won the first match-up in 1992 in Los Angeles, 69-57, then fell the following year 62-54 in Chicago.

Team Comparisons (2003-04 Stats)Team	Ppg	Margin	FG%	3-FG%	FT%	Rpg	Apg	TOpg	Spg	BpgUSC	67.5	+4.2	40.1	31.5	67.7	37.9	14.0	19.9	11.3	2.6DePaul	84.4	16.5	45.1	32.9	72.4	39.4	17.2	15.3	14.0	2.6

DePaul Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg24 Erin Carney Forward 5-11 -- -- -- --42 Khara Smith Forward 6-2 -- -- -- --22 Charlene Smith Guard 5-8 -- -- -- --3 Jenna Rubino Guard 6-0 -- -- -- --32 Jenni Dant Guard 5-10 -- -- -- --

Murray State -- The Lady Racers return five letterwinners and two starters from 2004, while welcoming seven newcomers. Last season, Murray State compiled a 13-15 overall record and 9-7 mark to tie for fifth place in the Ohio Valley Conference. Head Coach Joi Felton enters her second season with the program and looks to rely on senior guard Rebecca Remington, who averaged 10.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 2004, and senior forward Kaleena Miller, who averaged 1.7 points and 4.4 rebounds. Murray State defeated St. Louis Goldstar, 85-80, and Blue Chip Legends, 82-48, in exhibition play.

USC-Murray State Series Record -- This will be the first meeting between these two schools.

Team Comparisons (2003-04 Stats)Team		Ppg	Margin	FG%	3-FG%	FT%	Rpg	Apg	TOpg	Spg	BpgUSC		67.5	+4.2	40.1	31.5	67.7	37.9	14.0	19.9	11.3	2.6Murray State	68.3	+2.7	42.0	36.1	71.4	36.5	14.4	16.4	9.4	2.9

Murray State Probable StartersNo. Name Pos. Ht. ppg rpg apg spg30 Kaleena Miller Forward 6-1 -- -- -- --40 Jessica Hirsch Forward 6-1 -- -- -- --12 Ashley Hayes Guard 5-9 -- -- -- --15 Shaleea Petty Guard 5-5 -- -- -- --21 Rebecca Remington Guard 5-9 -- -- -- --