No. 24 USC Women Face Three This Week

Dec. 6, 2005

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HERE AND NOWThe USC women's basketball team will play its second, third and fourth games of the week, beginning with a trip to Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Dec. 6). The Women of Troy then come back home to host two games at the Sports Arena. The Trojans play Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 9) and then face No. 4 Ohio State at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 11).

RANK AND FILEUSC (3-2) is ranked No. 24 in this week's USA Today/ESPN Poll, and received votes in the AP poll this week. LMU (1-5) and Cal State Northridge (1-6) both are unranked, and Ohio State (5-0) is ranked No. 4 in both polls.

LAST WEEKThe Trojans snapped a two-game skid with their return to their home court against TCU last week in their home opener. USC was in control through the majority of the game and led by as much as 13 on the way to their eventual 65-62 victory. The win improved USC's record in home openers to 26-2 all-time. Eshaya Murphy led the Women of Troy with a career-high 22 points, including a career-best five 3-pointers and a season-best nine rebounds in the win. Meghan Gnekow also hit a season-high 12 points for USC, and Camille LeNoir also finished in double digits with 11 points. The Trojans nailed nine 3-pointers in the game to stay ahead of the visiting Horned Frogs.

HOMETOWN SECURITYThe home courts at Troy (Sports Arena and Lyon Center) largely have been a secure place for the Women of Troy. Only two teams got the best of the Trojans on their home floor last season, and the 2005-06 ride will mark the final season before the opening of the new, highly anticipated 10,258-seat Galen Center (set to open for the 2006-07 season). This season's Pac-10 schedule opens up at the Lyon Center and the final 2005-06 conference game on USC hardwood is set for Feb. 11 at the Sports Arena.

TWO FOR THE ROADFor the first time since the 2002-03 season, USC jumped out to a 2-0 start with a pair of wins at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic. The Trojans had split in their first two games for the previous two seasons. After their opening win against Hawai'i, the Women of Troy now improve to 24-5 all-time in their season openers and 17-10 in opening road games.

DOUBLE TROUBLEThe USC women's basketball team has had four players score in double figures in three games so far this year. At the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic. Chloé Kerr, Eshaya Murphy and Camille LeNoir all hit double digits in both games, as the Trojans had eight and seven different scorers, respectively, emerge against Hawai'i and Eastern Illinois. Against Notre Dame, the Women of Troy produced another balanced attack with Kerr, Murphy, LeNoir and Jamie Hagiya all scoring in double digits in the hard-fought loss to the then-No. 13 Fighting Irish.

GETTING OFFENSIVEUSC rang up a hefty number of rebounds on Nov. 20 against Eastern Illinois. The Women of Troy hit the boards and ripped down 52 total rebounds, including 27 offensive rebounds. That mark bettered last season's top offensive boards mark of 26, set on Feb. 12, 2005 against Arizona. The Trojans last tallied 52 total rebounds also against Arizona last season on March 5.

PRESEASON PICK 'EMLast season's 20-11 overall record, second-place finish in the Pac-10 and second-round NCAA Tournament appearance -- coupled with a daunting 10 returners back -- translated into several preseason rankings for the Women of Troy. In 2004-05, the Trojans were one of five Pac-10 teams to reach the NCAA Tournament and win at least one game. This season, USC has been picked to finish No. 2 behind No. 1 Stanford in the Pac-10 Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the Pac-10 Media Poll behind UCLA. In the larger 2005-06 scene, USC also was chosen among the elite top 25 teams in the nation, selected at No. 22 standing in the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Poll and a No. 24 slot in the Associated Press Top 25 Women's Basketball Poll. The Women of Troy join five other Pac-10 schools in the national preseason polls. In the Athlon preseason poll, USC picked up its highest ranking at No. 16, while Lindy's has the 2005-06 Trojans at No. 21.

COUNTDOWN TO GALENThis season marks the final stint for the USC women and men in the Lyon Center and Sports Arena, as the Trojans eagerly await the completion of the highly anticipated Galen Center. The Galen is set to be the new home for basketball and volleyball for the 2006-07 season. All systems are go over at the new site, with construction in its final stages for the impressive facility. The structure is located on the corner of Jefferson and Figueroa, and will contain a 255,000 square-foot arena capable of seating 10,258 fans. Locker rooms, practice courts, offices and more will also find shelter within the Galen Center walls.

BACK IN ACTIONUSC returns 10 players from last season to this year's roster, and has added to it one highly regarded recruit, one walk-on player and a complete coaching staff with their first season at Troy tucked solidly under their belts. All told, almost 80 percent of the Trojans' scoring production returns to the court for the 2005-06 campaign. Leading the way are a pair of sophomore guards -- Camille LeNoir and Brynn Cameron -- who started as freshmen and emerged as the Trojans' top two scorers. The pair accounted for 18.5 points per game last season. Even mightier as a group is this year's junior class of six -- comprised of Jamie Hagiya, Jamie Funn, Eshaya Murphy, Chloe Kerr, Allison Jaskowiak and Markisha Lea. That group averaged a combined 27.1 ppg, 17.2 rpg, 6.16 apg and 5.0 spg last season as sophomores, and all six are set to hit the court in 2005-06 as well. Now the lone senior on the squad, Meghan Gnekow brings back her experience and adept skills on the boards as the team's leading rebounder (5.8 rpg last season) and defensive stopper.

CLOSE CALLSOf USC's 11 losses in 2004-05, six were against Top-25 teams, six were by four points or fewer and nine came on the road.

Loyola Marymount -- The Lions are 1-5 this season after losing to Utah 63-47 on Dec. 3 and Weber State 65-55 on Dec. 1. LMU went 16-13 overall last season and finished second in the West Coast Conference at 9-5. Head coach Julie Wilhoit is in her 11th year at LMU. The Lions return three starters and nine letterwinners and are led in scoring this season by Amanda Patton, Bianca Ziemann and Rachael Ziemann, all of whome are averaging in double figures.

USC-LMU Series Record -- USC won the only meeting between the Trojans and the Lions with a 77-56 victory last season at home.

Cal State Northridge -- The Matadors are 1-6 this season after losing to Washington State 68-55 and Eastern Washington 69-61 last week, putting them on a three-game losing streak entering the match at USC. CSUN's one win this season was against Eastern Michigan 69-59 on Nov. 27. CSUN went 18-11 overall last season and finished fourth in the Big West Conference at 11-7. Head coach Staci Schulz is in her first year at CSUN. The Matadors return all five starters and 11 letterwinners and are led in scoring this season by Jazelle Buries and LaJoyce King, who are averaging 10.4 and 10.1 points per game, respectively.

USC-CSUN Series Record -- USC is 14-9 all-time against the Matadors, having won the past 10 straight games. USC's latest win came in the 2001-02 season in a 96-54 victory. The last loss was in 1977-78 with an 81-80 defeat.

Ohio State -- The Buckeyes are 5-0 this season and are ranked No. 4 in the nation after beating Boston College 66-61 in overtime on Dec. 3 and Dayton 73-31 on Nov. 30. Ohio State went 30-5 overall last season after reaching the NCAA Regional Semifinals and having tied for first in the Big Ten Conference at 14-2. Head coach Jim Foster is in his fourth year at Ohio State. The Buckeyes return four starters and 11 letterwinners and are led in scoring this season by Jessica Davenport with 17.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Brandie Hoskins is next on the scoring charts with 14.4 ppg, and Marscilla Packer averages 11.0.

USC-Ohio State Series Record -- USC is 3-2 all-time against the Buckeyes, but the last meeting between the two teams was back in the 1987-88 season. USC won that game 85-81.

Four Opponents Ranked In Top 25USC's schedule features four opponents ranked in the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 preseason polls, including No. 4 Ohio State (Dec. 11), No. 11/10 Stanford (Dec. 30 and Jan. 29), No. 15 Notre Dame (Nov. 27), and No. 20/18 Arizona State (Jan. 6 and Feb. 2). UCLA, TCU, Oregon and Arizona also all received votes in the polls.

LMU Connections• LMU sophomore Carrie Noyes hails from Brea Olinda HS, where USC head coach Mark Trakh coached for 13 seasons from 1981-1993.

CSUN Connections• USC junior guard Jamie Hagiya is from the same town (Torrance, Calif.) as CSUN junior guard Krisztina Fuleki, although they attended separate high schools. Hagiya hails from South Torrance HS, and Fuleki and teammate Ofa Tulikihihifo attended Redondo Union HS.

OHIO STATE Connections• USC forward Simone Jelks is from South Euclid, Ohio.• Ohio State has no players from California.

Women's Basketball On LA AirwavesKMPC-AM 1540 -- USC's flagship station -- will air six Women of Troy basketball games this season, beginning with USC's home opener against TCU on Dec. 4. 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. 4 vs. TCU; Jan. 6 vs. Arizona State; Jan. 21 vs. UCLA; Jan. 27 vs. California, Jan. 29 vs. Stanford; and Feb. 18 vs. UCLA.

TRI-CAPTAINSThis season's team captains are senior Meghan Gnekow and juniors Chloé Kerr and Allison Jaskowiak.

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