USC Lines Up For Another Pac-10 Home Stand
Jan. 3, 2006
HERE AND NOW
The USC women's basketball team returns home to host No. 11 Arizona State and Arizona at the Lyon Center this week. The Trojans face Arizona State at 7 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 6) and then take on Arizona at 12 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 8). Live stats and audio of both games will be available online at www.usctrojans.com. Friday's game will air on KMPC-AM 1540, and Sunday's game will be broadcast live on FSN.
RANK AND FILE
USC (8-5, 2-2) is unranked but continues to receive votes in the AP poll. Arizona State (12-1, 3-0) is ranked No. 11 by AP, and Arizona (5-7, 1-2) is unranked. The Trojans are 0-3 against ranked opponents this season.
Sophomore guard Símone Jelks is sidelined for 2-6 weeks with a sprained left knee suffered against Oregon State on Dec. 20.
USC took two tough road losses last week, falling 77-56 to No. 14 Stanford and then losing 73-68 at California to slip to 2-2 in Pac-10 action. Foul trouble hampered play in both games for the Women of Troy, but both Camille LeNoir and Eshaya Murphy managed double figures in each game. They were the only Trojans to hit double digits, however, marking a scoring slump for USC after a hot start to conference play the previous week. Against Stanford on Dec. 30, USC kept within reach of the Cardinal in the first half, but Brooke Smith and Candice Wiggins caused trouble for the Trojans in the second half as Stanford pulled away to break its two-game losing slump. LeNoir led the Women of Troy with 16 points, and Murphy added 11. Against California on Jan. 1, USC held a 30-29 halftime lead thanks to a pair of late 3-pointers from LeNoir and Brynn Cameron, but Cal upped its game on the boards in the second half to work ahead. USC picked up a season-high 29 fouls in the game and allowed the Bears to grab 23 offensive rebounds. With centers Chloé Kerr and Nadia Parker in foul trouble, the perimeter game was USC's best option, and LeNoir and Murphy were effective from outside, combining for nine 3-pointers in the game. LeNoir nailed a career-best five threes on her way to a career-high 24 points, and Murphy hit four 3-pointers on the way to a 16-point outing -- 13 of which came in the second half. Meghan Gnekow led the way on the boards with 10 rebounds for USC in the loss.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE
The Sun Devils are ranked No. 11 in the nation and are 12-1 overall and 3-0 in Pac-10 play after beating Washington 64-51 and Washington State 72-47 last week. ASU is on a nine-game winning streak -- its longest in 10 years. ASU went 24-10 last season, tying for second in the Pac-10 and reaching the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Head coach Charli Turner Thorne is in her 10th season at ASU, and the Sun Devils return three starters and six letterwinners. ASU has three players averaging in double figures, led by Kristen Kovesdy with 13.8. Emily Westerberg averages 11.5, and Jill Noe averages 11.3.
USC-ASU Series Record -- USC is 46-9 all-time against the Sun Devils, having split Pac-10 games with ASU last season. The last meeting was a 49-45 Arizona State win on Feb. 10, 2005.
The Wildcats are 5-7 overall and 1-2 in Pac-10 play after beating Washington State 61-52 and losing to Washington 66-54 last week. Arizona went 20-12 last saeson, finishing fifth in the Pac-10 and reaching the NCAA Second Round. Head coach Joan Bonvincini is in her 15th year with the Wildcats, who return two starters and eight letterwinners. Arizona has three players averaging in double figures, led by 15.2 ppg from Ashley Whisonant. Natalie Jones is next with 14.3 ppg, and Joy Hollingsworth averages 13.2 ppg.
USC-ARIZ Record -- USC is 36-16 all-time against the Wildcats, having gone 2-1 against them last season. The pair split games during regular-season conference play, but the Trojans got the win in the Pac-10 Tournament with a 74-66 victory on March 5, 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 11 of 12 games, topping out with a career-high 22 points 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 4.2 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. Since then, she has hit double figures in every game, including a team-high 16 against Stanford on Dec. 30 and a career-high 24 against California on Jan. 1 that came along with a career-best five 3-pointers.
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 USC's Dec. 20 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 opened up at the Lyon Center and the final 2005-06 conference game on USC hardwood is set for Feb. 11 at the Sports Arena. The Trojans are 5-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming to then-No. 4 Ohio State.
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.
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