No. 23 USC Faces Two Big Pac-10 Opponents at Lyon Center
Jan. 24, 2006
**PLEASE NOTE: This week's games vs. Cal and Stanford will be played at the LYON CENTER on the USC campus.***
HERE AND NOW
The No. 23 USC women's basketball team is on a five-game winning streak coming into this week's battles with California and No. 11 Stanford. The Trojans face California at 7 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 27) and the Cardinal at 12 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 29). Both games will be held at the Lyon Center, and live stats will be available online at www.usctrojans.com. Friday's game will be broadcast by KMPC 1540-AM, and Sunday's game will be broadcast by Fox Sports.
RANK AND FILE
USC (13-5, 7-2) has moved back into the national rankings this week, jumping to No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 25 in USA Today/ESPN. California (13-6, 5-4) is unranked but received votes from AP. Stanford (13-4, 8-1) is ranked No. 11 by AP and No. 13 by USA Today/ESPN and is on an eight-game winning streak. USC is 2-3 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. Junior forward Jamie Funn will be out the remainder of the 2005-06 season after having hip surgery on Jan. 18. Her final game was against No. 25 Washington on Jan. 14.
USC won its fifth straight game last week with a tight and important 73-70 win over crosstown rival UCLA at the Sports Arena. Camille LeNoir scored a career-high 27 points and went 11-of-12 from the free-throw line in the second half in the win. It was the fourth straight game between the Trojans and Bruins that has been decided by four or fewer points.The Trojans clawed out of an 11-2 hole early in the game thanks in part to four 3-pointers from Eshaya Murphy, who notched her 12th consecutive game in double figures. She also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in the win. USC led 40-32 by halftime, and then USC ballooned the lead with an 8-0 run. USC led by as much as 16 points in the second half, but the UCLA defensive pressure turned up and the Bruins battled back to make it as tight as a two-point game in the final minute. LeNoir got to the free-throw line for 12 shots in the second half and knocked down 11 of those on the way to a 22-point second half to help keep USC a step ahead. With five seconds left, LeNoir missed the first but nailed the second to secure USC's 73-70 victory.
The Jan. 21 USC-UCLA crosstown rivalry game brought in an attendance of 8,667, which ranks No. 1 all-time as the top crowd to attend a single game at the Sports Arena. The last high mark was set in 1982 with a crowd of 8,641 against Rutgers. Last season's Sports Arena game pulled in 5,222 fans.
CAMILLE'S CAREER DAY
Camille LeNoir earned her first career honor as U.S. Bank Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week after a career outing against the Trojans' crosstown rival UCLA. LeNoir poured in 22 of her final career-best 27 points during the second half -- including an 11-of-12 effort from the free-throw line in the half -- to help the Women of Troy hold off the Bruins for a 73-70 win on Jan. 21. In addition to her top mark of 27 points, LeNoir also matched her career high of assists with seven in the game. LeNoir's Pac-10 award is the first of her career and the second straight weekly honor for USC, as teammate Eshaya Murphy won the award the previous week.
SCOUTING CAL -- The Bears were on a nine-game winning streak after beating No. 13 Arizona State 66-64, but that streak was snapped with an 80-76 loss to Arizona last week. Cal returns two starters and six letterwinners from last season's team that went 11-18 overall and finished eighth in the Pac-10 at 4-14. Cal is led this year by three players averaging in double figures: Devanei Hampton, Alexis Gray-Lawson and Ashley Walker.
USC-Cal Series Record -- USC is 31-14 all-time against the Bears and 19-3 against them at home. Cal has won the past two games, including this season's 73-68 win in Berkeley on Jan. 1, 2006.
SCOUTING STANFORD -- The Cardinal are ranked No. 11 and are 13-4 overall and 7-1 in Pac-10 play after beating Arizona 82-51 and Arizona State 84-78 last week. Stanford is the defending champion in the Pac-10 and reached the NCAA Elite Eight last season, finishing with a 32-3 overall record. Tara VanDerveer is in her 20th season at Stanford, which returns two starters and nine letterwinners. The Cardinal are led this season by Candice Wiggins with 21.2 points per game and Brooke Smith with 17.6 ppg.
USC-STAN Series Record -- USC is 18-34 all-time against the Cardinal and 11-14 at home. Stanford has won the past five games against USC, including this season's 77-56 win over the Trojans at Stanford on Dec. 30, 2005.
TAGTEAM, BACK AGAIN
Guards Eshaya Murphy and Camille LeNoir have created a dangerous scoring tandem in USC's biggest wins this season. As the trend goes, Murphy has been the hot-handed one in the first half, followed by LeNoir's cool and collected second-half spikes. In the Jan. 6 win over then-No. 9 ASU, Murphy scored 11 points -- all from the field -- in the second half and finished with a career-best 22. LeNoir then stepped in and drilled eight of her final 13 in the second. The following weekend at No. 25 Washington, Murphy poured in 13 first-half points (finished with 19), and LeNoir pumped in 14 second-half points on the way to an 18-point night. Most recently, in a tight win over UCLA, Murphy nailed four 3-pointers and had 16 points by halftime before giving way to LeNoir's sharpshooting from the field and the free-throw line. Murphy finished with 20 points on 67 percent shooting, and LeNoir added a career-hjgh 27 -- 22 of which came in the second half (11 in second-half free throws)
MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAW
Junior guard Eshaya Murphy has led USC in scoring 11 times so far this season and has hit double figures in 12 straight games now -- 17 total. She's now topped out with a career-high 22 points three times -- first against TCU on Dec. 4, again vs. Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 16, and once more against No. 9 ASU on Jan. 6. Against WSU, she pinned up her first double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and got a second one vs. UCLA with 20 points, 12 rebounds. Now with 43 three-pointers on the season, Murphy has matched her previous career total and now ranks No. 5 all-time with 86 threes behind Brynn Cameron's 91.
Sophomore point guard Camille LeNoir has been a key part of the balanced attack for the Women of Troy. She's USC's top distributor with 3.8 assists per game and has scored in double digits in every game but three. 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 hit a new career-high 24 against California on Jan. 1 that came along with a career-best five 3-pointers, and hit a pair of jumpers to get USC into the lead against No. 9 Arizona State on Jan. 6 in a 13-point outing. Against UCLA, LeNoir knocked in a career night with 27 points (22 in the second half and 12-of-14 from the free-throw line) and seven assists.
HAGIYA HEATS UP
USC junior point guard Jamie Hagiya had a hot night against Washington State, matching her career high of 16 points on four 3-pointers and a 100 percent effort from the free-throw line. She began the season by going 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 was back to her dangerous ways from the 3-point arc in USC's Dec. 20 win over OSU, hitting a career-high six 3-pointers. Cameron nailed three straight in a second-half comeback rally. 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.
JASKOWIAK OFF THE PINE AND ON THE RADAR
Allison Jaskowiak is a bench-warmer no more. Stifling defensive pressure and tenacious rebounding have earned the junior guard/forward a starting job in USC's past six Pac-10 games, giving her 10 starts on the season. She's gone from averaging just 7.7 minutes a game as a sophomore to 23.8 mpg as a junior, doubled her career high scoring to 12 points, scored in 12 games and more than doubled her previous career total rebounds and 3-pointers with 69 boards and six threes so far this season.
PARKER IN THE PAINT
Freshman center Nadia Parker has made a home for herself in the key. She's scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the past four games, setting career marks in rebounds with seven against Cal on Jan. 1 and then topping out with 10 points and a pair of steals against Arizona on Jan. 8.
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 at home 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). The final conference game on USC hardwood is set for Feb. 11 at the Sports Arena. The Trojans are 3-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming to then-No. 4 Ohio State.
The USC women's basketball team has had at least three players score in double figures in 10 games so far this year after the Jan. 12 win over Washington State. Not only that, the Trojans had 10 players score for the second time this season. In an earlier 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 is the Trojans' only time shooting over the .500 mark so far 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 .526 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 hasn'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.