USC Women Travel To Arizona This Week
Jan. 31, 2006
HERE AND NOW
USC heads back on the road after a three-game home stand to travel to Arizona for two games this week. The Trojans face Arizona at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 2) and then play at No. 18 Arizona State at noon on Saturday (Feb. 4). Live stats will be available online at www. usctrojans.com.
RANK AND FILE
USC (13-7, 7-4) dropped back out of the national rankings after having its five-game win streak snapped with two home losses last weekend. The Trojans still are receiving votes in the polls, however. Arizona (7-14, 3-8) also is unranked, and Arizona State (16-5, 7-4) is ranked No. 18 in both polls. USC is 2-4 against ranked opponents this season. USC and ASU enter the weekend in a four-way tie at second place in the Pac-10 standings.
Sophomore guard Símone Jelks has been 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. Sophomore guard Brynn Cameron is out indefinitely with a hip injury.
FRIDAY VS. CALIFORNIA
USC's five-game winning streak and No. 23 ranking was interrupted last weekend with two home losses. The Trojans had won 10 straight games at the Lyon Center, but California tripped up the Trojans with a 72-67 win on Friday (Jan. 27). USC then faced No. 11 Stanford on Sunday and had the Cardinal on the ropes until the final five minutes before Stanford came back to win 78-69. Against Cal, All the numbers seemed to lean in USC's favor, but California's 52-percent shooting effort helped the Bears hold off the Women of Troy. USC outrebounded Cal 40-31, had six more assists, three fewer turnovers, three more steals and two more blocks than the Bears, but California managed 52 percent from the floor and had four players finish in double figures. USC shot 41 percent and finished with two double-digit scorers -- Chloé Kerr with a career-high 18 points, and Eshaya Murphy with her 13th straight double-figure game in a 17-point effort. USC cut into Cal's 38-31 halftime lead to make it a three-point game in the final minute of play, but Cal was sharp from the free-throw line in the final minute to keep USC just out of reach. Against Stanford, USC held a seven-point lead entering the final five minutes of play, but the Cardinal pulled out a comeback sparked by 70-percent shooting in the half. Stanford finished the game with 53-percent shooting, while USC ended with a 38-percent peformance. A banked 3-pointer from Rosalyn Gold-Onwude gave Stanford its first lead of the second half, and with two minutes left to play USC kept it to a three-point game at 69-66 with a low score from Kerr. As time drained, USC missed a couple 3-point chances, and Stanford made good on seven free-throw opportunties as the Trojans were forced to foul in the final minutes. It was USC's first loss with three players scoring in double figures. Eshaya Murphy tossed in her 14th consecutive game in double figures on a 16-point scoring effort. Camille LeNoir finished with 13 points, and Chloe Kerr had 10 for the Trojans. Meghan Gnekow was USC's leading rebounder with seven boards.
SCOUTING ARIZONA -- The Wildcats upset Cal before falling twice last weekend to Washington (91-73) and WSU (84-77). Arizona is now 7-14 overall and sits in ninth in the Pac-10 at 3-8. Head coach Joan Bonvicini is in her 15th season at Arizona, which went 20-12 last year and reached the NCAA Second Round. The Wildcats are led in scoring this season by Joy Hollingsworth with 14.5 point per game. Natalie Jones adds 13.8 ppg, and Ashley Whisonant averages 13.6.
USC-ARIZ Series Record -- USC is 40-16 all-time against the Wildcats and 16-10 against them on the road. USC has won the past two games, including this season's 76-60 home win on Jan. 8.
SCOUTING ASU -- The Sun Devils are ranked No. 18 with a 16-5 overall record, and are tied for second place with USC at 7-4 in Pac-10 play. ASU beat WSU 75-65 and Washington 67-61 last week. Head coach Charli Turner Thorne is in her 10th season at ASU, which went 24-10 last season and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. The Sun Devils are led in scoring this season by Kristen Kovesdy with 12.6 points per game, and Emily Westerberg adds 11.1 ppg.
USC-ASU Series Record -- USC is 47-9 all-time against the Sun Devils and 20-6 on the road. USC won the last meeting with a 58-50 win at home on Jan. 6.
Senior captain Meghan Gnekow has worked her way into and upwards on the USC career 3-point shooting charts and now sits at No. 6 all-time with 85 threes. That puts Gnekow just three 3-pointers away from teammate Eshaya Murphy's 88, and eight shy of Brynn Cameron's 91. The threesome have a stronghold on the 4-5-6 slots on the career list.
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 has gone, Murphy was 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. 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-high 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 13 times so far this season and has hit double figures in 14 straight games now -- 19 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 44 three-pointers on the season, Murphy has matched her previous career total and now ranks No. 5 all-time with 88 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 3.9 assists per game and has scored in double digits in every game but four. 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 points 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, earning her Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.
HAGIYA HEATS UP
USC junior point guard Jamie Hagiya had a hot night against Washington State on Jan. 12, 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.
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 eight Pac-10 games, giving her 12 starts on the season. She's gone from averaging just 7.7 minutes a game as a sophomore to 24.3 mpg as a junior, doubled her career high scoring to 12 points, scored in 14 games and more than doubled her previous career total rebounds and 3-pointers with 76 boards and seven 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 33 points and grabbed 24 rebounds in the past six games, and set career marks in rebounds with seven against Cal on Jan. 1 and then topped 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 8-3 at home this season.
The USC women's basketball team has had at least three players score in double figures in 11 games so far this year, suffering their first loss with three double-digit scorers on Jan. 29 vs. Stanford. 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.