USC Rings In New Year In Bay Area
Dec. 27, 2005
HERE AND NOW
The USC women's basketball team heads back on the road after five straight home games that helped the Trojans start out 2-0 in Pac-10 play. Now USC goes north to face No. 14 Stanford (6-3, 1-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 30) at Maples Pavilion. The Women of Troy then kick off 2006 with a game at California at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 1) at Haas Pavilion. Live stats of both games will be available online at www.usctrojans.com.
RANK AND FILE
USC (8-3, 2-0) is unranked but continues to receive votes in the AP poll. Stanford (6-3, 1-1) is now ranked No. 14 by AP. California (9-3, 1-1) is unranked. The Cardinal will be USC's third ranked opponent of the year.
Sophomore guard Símone Jelks sat out the Oregon game with a sprained left knee and is expected to be sidelined for 2-6 weeks.
USC ended its five-game home stand with a pair of Pac-10 wins last week. The Trojans hit six 3-point field goals in a row to overpower visiting Oregon State and post an eventual 72-62 win in their Pacific-10 opener on Dec. 20. Brynn Cameron tied her career high of 20 points and tied her own school record for 3-pointers in a game with six for the Trojans. The Women of Troy trailed through the majority of the first half and were in a 34-29 hole with under a minute left in the half, and were down 36-34 at halftime. USC came out in control of the second half, however, going on a 7-0 run to take a lead it would not relinquish. The Women of Troy worked a 38-36 lead out to a 56-41 advantage thanks to four 3-pointers from Cameron and one each from Eshaya Murphy and Jamie Hagiya. USC had four players finish in double figures for the sixth time this season, and USC's 11 3-pointers in the game was one short of a program best. Joining Cameron with career performances in the Pac-10 win were Jamie Funn and Chloé Kerr, who finished with five and four blocks, respectively. On Dec. 22, USC had eight different players score in the first 10 minutes against visiting Oregon as the Women of Troy overpowered the Ducks in a 72-48 win. Murphy led the Trojans with 17 points, while Hagiya added 12 points and Camille LeNoir scored 11. The Trojan defense caused endless trouble for the Ducks, nabbing 15 steals in the game and causing 25 Oregon turnovers. USC shot 51.6 percent from the floor in the first half and went on a 13-0 run that helped the Trojans to a 41-17 halftime lead. The teams stayed even on the scoring front in the second half, although another 13-0 scoring run from USC had Oregon in a 66-35 hole with six minutes left to play. USC outrebounded Oregon 39-27 in the game, led by nine rebounds from Funn. Allison Jaskowiak led the Trojans with four steals, and Funn and LeNoir each picked off three.
The Cardinal are 6-3 overall and now 1-1 in Pac-10 play after beating Washington State 76-56 and then getting upset 77-72 by Washington last week. Stanford travels to Boston College before facing USC on Friday. The Cardinal went 32-3 last season and finished first in the Pac-10 on the way to the NCAA Elite Eight. Head coach Tara VanDerveer is in her 20th year at Stanford, and the Cardinal return two starters and nine letterwinners. The Cardinal have three players averaging in double figures, led by Candice Wiggins with 17.0 points per game and Brooke Smith with 16.6. USC is 18-33 all-time against the Cardinal, having lost three times to Stanford last season. The last meeting was in the Pac-10 Tournament, when the Trojans played a tight game with the Cardinal but fell 73-69 on March 6, 2005.
The Bears are 9-3 overall and 1-1 in Pac-10 play after losing to Washington 62-55 and beating Washington State 53-47 last week. Cal went 11-18 last season and finished eighth in the Pac-10 at 4-14. Head coach Joanne Boyle is in her first year at Cal, and the Bears return two starters and six letterwinners. California is led in scoring this season by Devanei Hampton's 14.1 points per game and Ashley Walker and Alexis Gray-Lawson with 13.0 and 12.7 ppg, respectively. USC is 31-13 all-time against the Bears after beating them twice last season. The last meeting was a 103-69 home win for USC on Feb. 20, 2005.
MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAW
Junior guard Eshaya Murphy has led the Women of Troy in scoring six times so far this season. She's hit double digits for the Trojans in 10 of 11 games, topping out with a career-high 22 against TCU on Dec. 4, and then matching that mark against Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 16.
Sophomore point guard Camille LeNoir has been a key part of the balanced attack for the Women of Troy. She's been USC's top distrubutor with 4.0 assists per game, but also has been a consistent scorer as the only Trojans to hit double figures off the bench in every game this season. In her first start for USC on Dec. 20, she finished with just four points, but dished up a season-high six assists. The next game, LeNoir started again and punched in another double-figure effort with 11 points and a game-high five assists.
HAGIYA HEATS UP
USC's starting junior point guard Jamie Hagiya went from season highs to career highs in a span of two games when she first nailed a season-best 13 points and three 3-pointers against LMU, and then upped the ante with four 3-pointers on her way to a career-high 16 points and grabbed a career-best seven steals against Cal State Northridge.
CAMERON IN CONTROL
Sophomore guard Brynn Cameron hit her stride in last week's win over Oregon State, getting back to her dangerous ways from the 3-point arc with a career-high six 3-pointers. Cameron nailed three straight in USC's comeback rally in the second half. Her six threes tied her own school record for 3-pointers in a single game and helped her match her career high of 20 points. With 11 3-pointers in the game, USC finished one shy of a program best for team threes in a game.
The 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 ROAD
For 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.
The USC women's basketball team has had at least three players score in double figures in eight games so far this year. In Friday's dominating win over Cal State Northridge, six players nailed double digits and all 10 players who hit the court scored in the game. At the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic, four players hit double digits in both games. Chloé Kerr, Eshaya Murphy and Camille LeNoir all hit double digits twice, as the Trojans had eight and seven different scorers, respectively, emerge against Hawai'i and Eastern Illinois. Against Notre Dame, Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State, the Women of Troy produced another balanced attack with four double-digit scorers.
USC's .526 shooting percentage in its 94-54 win over Cal State Fullerton was the Trojans' first time shooting over the .500 mark this season and the first such effort since Feb. 2, 2005 when they posted a .597 effort against California. Chloé Kerr had a big role in the Trojans' most recent scoring output with a .900 effort on 9-of-10 shooting. No Trojan had hit such a high mark since 1987, leaving Kerr tied at No. 5 all-time for her single-game shooting percentage against the Titans.
BACK ON THE BOARDS
USC's 27 offensive rebounds in its season opener against Eastern Illinois bettered last season's top offensive boards mark of 26, set on Feb. 12, 2005 against Arizona. USC had 52 total rebounds in that game, but bettered that mark once more against Cal State Fullerton with 55 rebounds. USC hadn't hit such a high mark on the boards since tearing down 58 against New Mexico on Nov. 21, 2003.
PRESEASON PICK 'EM
Last 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 had the 2005-06 Trojans at No. 21.
COUNTDOWN TO GALEN
This 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 ACTION
USC 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, Chloé 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. 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.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ON LA AIRWAVES
KMPC-AM 1540 -- USC's flagship station -- is airing 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.
All of USC's home games can be followed with Gametracker and Live Audio at www.usctrojans.com. The audio broadcasts can be accessed by purchasing a Trojan All-Access Pass through the multimedia link at usctrojans.com. For games not broadcast by KMPC-AM 1540, Jonathan Horowitz will provide the play-by-play and Alex Schneiders will provide color commentary.