USC Hosts Last Pac-10 Pair, No. 8 ASU and Arizona
Feb. 13, 2007
USC's regular-season run at its new home comes to a close this week with No. 8 Arizona State and Arizona paying their first visits to the Galen Center. The Women of Troy (15-9, 9-5) face the ranked Sun Devils (23-3, 13-2) at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 17), and then host the Wildcats (9-18, 3-12) in a televised matchup at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 19). Saturday's game also will honor USC's senior class, as the Trojans' six seniors will be playing in their final Pac-10 game at home on Senior Day at the Galen Center. Thursday's game will air on Radio Disney (KDIS 1110 AM), and Saturday's game will be televised live on FSN. Live stats and audio also will be available online at www.usctrojans.com.
IN THE NATION
The Women of Troy are unranked in the national polls this week. Arizona State is ranked No. 8 in the USA TodayESPN poll and No. 10 by the Associated Press. Arizona is unranked.
USC powered to its fifth straight victory over crosstown rival UCLA and broke a six-game trend of extremely tight finishes with a 62-55 win over the Bruins in front of a record-setting crowd at the Galen Center on Feb. 10. The win was also important for USC's Pac-10 push toward a third straight trip to the postseason, as it helped put some distance between the Trojans and the Bruins, as USC now sits tied in third place in the Pac-10 standings with Cal. After six straight USC-UCLA games decided by four or fewer points, the Trojans' seven-point victory came after trailing by as much as eight in the first half and by one at halftime. USC's balanced scoring overpowered UCLA, as nine different Women of Troy scored in the game, while the Bruins had only their five starters put in points. USC's top scorer was Shay Murphy, who tallied her ninth double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Seniors Jamie Funn and Jamie Hagiya each had 10 points for the Women of Troy. USC welcomed its first-ever sell-out crowd into the Galen Center, and the final attendance of the day was 9,749 -- USC's highest attendance in program history and the highest all-time in Pac-10 conference play.
Out of action: 4 redshirts -- USC will redshirt freshman Jacki Gemelos and junior Camille LeNoir this year in order to allow the two guards to heal from respective injuries. Gemelos suffered a torn ACL in her final high school game, and LeNoir suffered a broken hip during the offseason. Also redshirting the season will be junior Brynn Cameron. Senior Markisha Lea has been sidelined all season with a knee injury and is now tabbed to redshirt. Previously injured freshmen Aarika Hughes (foot) and Hailey Dunham (back) both have recently returned to the floor for USC. Hughes returned at Arizona (1/18) after sitting out since the beginning of December, and Dunham got back to action at OSU (2/1) after being sidelined since Dec. 20.
Saturday's game vs. Arizona marks the final home regular-season game for USC's six seniors. Five are regular starters for the Women of Troy, and altogether the group averages 51.5 points and 27.8 rebounds per game. That accounts for 71 percent of USC's scoring and 59 percent of its rebounding. This year's heralded senior class includes Jamie Funn, Jamie Hagiya, Allison Jaskowiak, Chloe Kerr, Shay Murphy and Kristen Travers.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE
The Sun Devils are ranked No. 8 in this week's USA Today/ESPN poll and are 23-3 overall and 13-2 in Pac-10 play after beating Oregon 61-48 and Oregon State 78-63 last week on the road. Head coach Charli Turner-Thorne is in her 11th season at ASU. The Sun Devils went 25-7 last season, reaching the NCAA Second Round after finishing second in the Pac-10 at 14-4. ASU returns 10 letterwinners from that team, including four starters. Emily Westerberg leads the Sun Devils in scoring with 13.8 ppg. USC is 47-11 all-time against Arizona State, with the teams splitting last season. ASU won this season's face-off with a 62-54 decision in Tempe.
The Wildcats are 9-18 overall and 3-12 in Pac-10 play after beating Oregon State 65-61 and then falling 59-55 to Oregon last week. Head coach Joan Bonvicini is in her 16th season at Arizona. The Wildcats went 8-22 last season, finishing ninth in the Pac-10 at 3-15. Arizona returns 10 letterwinners from that team, including four starters. Joy Hollingsworth leads the Wildcats in scoring with 16.3 ppg. USC is 42-16 all-time against the Wildcats, with the Trojans winning the past four games after this season's 68-77 win in Tucson.
WELCOME TO THE CLUBS
Senior guard Shay Murphy reached a landmark on USC's first road trip of the season. With a 23-point night at South Dakota State, Murphy hit the 1,000 career point-mark on the money on Nov. 17 -- her 91st career game. She began the season with 956 career points and extended her double-digit scoring streak to 47 straight games before missing her first game in double figures on Feb. 3. With her ninth double-double of the season, however, Murphy got back on track to boast double-digit scoring in 48 of the past 49 games. Murphy currently holds 1,401 career points, including herself on a legendary list of Women of Troy who have hit that heralded career mark. She has become the 20th Trojan to break through the 1,000-point plateau, joining USC greats Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie, who had their jerseys retired and hung in the Galen Center on Nov. 10. Her 33-point outing at Colorado on Dec. 2 made her just the 14th Trojan to have scored 30 or more points in a game, with the last such effort coming back in 2002. Murphy broke that barrier for the second time with 30 against Arizona on Jan. 18, becoming just the seventh Trojan to have repeat 30-point outings in a single season. The last player to do so was Tina Thompson in the 1996-97 season.
THE BIG 5-0
We're not talking birthday candles, but rather a nice half-century mark of wins for USC head coach Mark Trakh. With the Trojans' 77-68 victory over Arizona on Jan. 18, Trakh recorded his 50th win at USC. His overall record at Troy is now 54-32.
AND THE BIGGER 2-5-0
If these were candles, Mark Trakh may still be blowing them out. Instead, he's now free to celebrate hitting the 250 career win mark, having grabbed his 250th victory with USC's 65-47 win over WSU on Jan. 26. Trakh's career collegiate coaching record is now 253-155.
With five 3-pointers in USC's winning home series against Oregon and OSU, senior point guard Jamie Hagiya passed up current USC assistant coach Jody Wynn (then Jody Anton) on USC's all-time 3-point shooting list. Wynn finished her Trojan career with 103 three-pointers. After a trio of threes against Arizona and another at ASU, Hagiya vaulted herself into sole possession of the No. 2 spot all-time, where she now stands alone with with 123 career threes, with fellow senior Shay Murphy holding the No. 1 all-time spot with 172.
As USC's lone healthy scholarship point guard, pressure has been heaped on senior Jamie Hagiya's shoulders. Hagiya has willingly accepted that role, and performed. A proven ball-handler in her four years at Troy, Hagiya has also stepped up her scoring, pumping in double figures in the past 11 games. She's averaging 10.3 points per game, and 11.4 in Pac-10 play, and is serving up 4.4 assists per game. USC is 11-4 when Hagiya scores in double figures so far this season, and is 9-2 during her double-digit streak to date. On USC's Oregon trip, Hagiya passed up Trojan great Cynthia Cooper on the all-time career assists ladder. Having displaced Cooper, Hagiya now ranks No. 5 all-time and holds 389 career assists -- within 25 of tying up another USC legend, Cheryl Miller.
Senior center Chloé Kerr has joined Murphy in double figures in all but five of USC's 24 games this season. She had scored in double digits in 14 straight games stretching from last season's NCAA Tournament action until a slow night at Washington. Kerr made sure to pick up the pace the following game, however, leading all scorers with 19 points against WSU on Dec. 31, and replicated that effort with a game-high 19 at UCLA on Jan. 13. She also leads the team in blocks with 37.
WALK RIGHT UP
USC guard Nicole Berberet is a junior academically, a freshman eligibility-wise, and on paper may well be the last player opponents would expect to see in a scouting report. But despite not having played competitive basketball since her sophomore year of high school, Berberet made the USC roster as a walk-on this year and earned herself a starting role at point guard on Dec. 29. Appearing in 20 games this year, Berberet has gone from averaging 3.0 minutes per game in USC's first eight games, to averaging 11.0 minutes per game during Pac-10 play. She has nabbed 10 steals and is 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
Sophomore center Nadia Parker had a career weekend at the Women of Troy Classic. After hitting double figures only twice in her freshman season at Troy, Parker posted back-to-back double-digit efforts and led the Trojans in scoring for the first time in her career in both games -- first with a career-high 19 points and seven rebounds against Prairie View A&M, and then with a game-high 16 points against Houston. She's also second on the team in blocks with 17.
MURPHY LAYS DOWN THE LAW
WIth her game-winning efforts at OSU on Feb. 1, Shay Murphy extended her double-digit scoring streak to 47 games -- an accomplishment that carries over from her junior season in which she received Kodak/WBCA All-America honorable mention. She provided team-high scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg), steals (2.4 spg) and 3-pointers made (69) and finished out the year ranked among the top-10 in the Pac-10 in seven categories. This season, she has improved across the board once again. Entering this week's action, Murphy is the Pac-10's second leading scorer (18.5 ppg), rebounder (8.6 rpg), 3-point shooter (60 made, 2.5 pg) and in steals (2.25 pg), and is No. 1 in free-throw percentage (.866) and offensive rebounds (3.42 pg). Her free-throw percentage also ranks her No. 18 in the nation. Murphy's 2006-07 preseason honors now include: State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason Candidate, John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team, Street & Smith Preseason Honorable Mention, Preseason All-Pac-10 Team. Most recently, Murphy was tabbed a Naismith Trophy Preseason Candidate. She also is a candidate for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award, an honor celebrating a student-athlete's outstanding athletic abilities as well as personality, leadership, perseverance and extracurricular actvities.
Senior forward Jamie Funn is one of seven seniors on the USC squad. Her junior season was cut short when an offseason hip injury required surgery halfway through the year. Thanks to a broken nose suffered early in the season, Funn donned a face mask for the 16 games she appeared in. She notched nine starts and averaged 5.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She was sidelined for the start of the 2006-07 season, but has now finally returned to the court for the Women of Troy. USC is 8-2 with Funn back in the lineup, and the senior is averaging 6.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game so far.
SENIOR STRENGTH IN THE PAINT
Senior center Chloe Kerr is USC's second leading scorer (12.2 ppg) and second leading rebounder (6.8 rpg) this season. At 6-3, Kerr boasts the height and experience to stand strong as the Trojans' go-to post player. This season, she nailed a career-high 25 points -- including an 11-of-11 effort from the free throw line to rank No. 3 all-time in single-game free throw percentage -- against Nebraska, earning her first career honor as Pac-10 Player of the Week. USC's top blocker this season, Kerr now boasts 131 career blocks, ranking her No. 5 all-time in USC's history books.
Junior Camille LeNoir is now one of three USC athletes hailing from nearby Narbonne High School. Senior forward Jamie Funn is the eldest of the trio, with freshman Morghan Medlock rounding out the high school connections on the Trojan roster. Four years ago, the three were teammates on Narbonne's Los Angeles City Section champion team.
HIGHS AND LOWS
USC's winning efforts at the inaugural Women of Troy Basketball Classic saw the Trojans hit some new bests for the 2006-07 season. USC hauled down a season-high 54 rebounds (54) against Prairie View A&M, and then bettered that mark by an additional board the next game against Houston. 55 was USC's best rebounding mark last season as well. On the other end of the spectrum, USC held both teams to season-low scoring marks in the first half. Houston's 11 points in the first half stands as the second lowest scoring mark all-time by a USC opponent in a half.
TOP CLASS -- WITH A PAINFUL TWIST
USC drummed up four standout freshmen to the roster for 2006. Heralded as the top recruiting class in the nation, the foursome of Jacki Gemelos, Aarika Hughes, Hailey Dunham and Morghan Medlock put the finishing touches on Trakh's 2006-07 lineup. However, in a surprising and frustrating turn of events, injuries to three freshmen have left Medlock as the only one in the class to appear in every contest this season. Gemelos -- tabbed the No. 1 recruit in the nation and a McDonald's All-American in her senior year at St. Mary's High School -- suffered a torn ACL at the close of her prep season, and the sharp-shooting guard is redshirting her first season at Troy to fully heal from the setback. Guard Hughes had been sidelined since the end of November with a stress fracture in her foot until returning on Jan. 18, and point guard Dunham sustained a back injury on Dec. 20 against Stanford to become the third member of the 2006 recruiting class to be painfully forced to the USC bench. Both Hughes and Dunham had seen time in the starting lineup until their injuries struck. Medlock -- a McDonald's All-American -- has started seven games for the Women of Troy and is averaging 6.5 ppg and 4.4 rpg in her first year at Troy. Against UCLA on Jan. 13, Medlock pumped in seven straight points on her way to an 11-point outing for her fourth double-digit game of the season, and hit double figures again with 10 at ASU.
As an overwhelming welcoming gift to the new-and-improved USC team, the Women of Troy kick off their 2006-07 season in a new home. The impressive Galen Center facility offers a plush and state-of-the-art forum for the Women of Troy to build on their tradition of success. Coach Trakh and his troops have 15 home games on the schedule -- not including the 2007 NCAA First and Second Rounds that the Women of Troy plan to be a part of March 17 & 19.
This season, the 2006-07 Trojans were tabbed the No. 22 team in the nation according to the AP and USA Today preseason polls. The Women of Troy also weighed in at No. 15 according to ESPN.com and No. 25 according to Street & Smith. One of five Pac-10 teams to receive a preseason top-25 rank from ESPN.com, the Women of Troy were also tabbed as one of ESPN's 'Three Programs On the Rise.'
RANK AND FILE
USC has five scheduled opponents that were ranked in the final 2005-06 USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll. Three of those are Pac-10 foes whom USC sees at least twice this season. The Trojans were 2-7 against ranked teams in 2005-06. The first top-25 team on tap for USC -- which received votes in the final poll -- was No. 10 Ohio State on Nov. 19 in Columbus, Ohio. Two weeks later, USC came up against No. 12 Utah, again on the road, on Dec. 4 in Salt Lake City. The Trojans' next three ranked opponents are Pac-10 teams: No. 7 Stanford, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 18 UCLA. USC lost three times to the Cardinal in 2005-06, split games with the Sun Devils, and swept the Bruins during Pac-10 action.
A record six Pac-10 teams reached the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Five won their first-round games, and three ended the season ranked in the Top 25. Six teams are also ranked in the nation's top 25 this year, and six Pac-10 players received WBCA/Kodak All-America honors last season. Four of those athletes are back for more this year, including USC senior Shay Murphy.
The Women of Troy have been slotted at No. 3 in the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Coaches Poll. The Trojans received 63 points to come in behind top pick and six-time defending conference champ Stanford (81 points) and No. 2 Arizona State (70). Tied up in fourth place with 53 points are California and Washington, with UCLA coming in at No. 6 with 46 points.
USC used nine different players in its starting lineup rotations last year, and eight of them return this season. This year, Trakh again has utilized nine different starting lineups, with three freshmen having seen at least one start.
While Allison Jaskowiak was a starter for USC at the 2006 NCAA tournament in Norfolk, Va., her sister Emily Jaskowiak started for Tulsa at the NCAA tournament in Chicago. Both sisters helped lead their schools to the second round. Also, on the same night that USC point guard Camille LeNoir helped lead the Women of Troy to a Pac-10 Tournament win against Washington on March 4 with 17 points and five assists, her younger sister Danielle, a former ball girl at USC, had 10 points and four steals as her Narbonne High School won the Los Angeles City Section championship.
A LOOK BACK
USC is coming off a 2005-06 season where it posted an 11-7 mark in Pac-10 play to finish tied with Washington in fourth place behind Stanford, Arizona State and UCLA. Eight Pac-10 regular-season games were decided by five or fewer points for the Trojans, leaving USC with a 5-3 mark in those tight conference games. After three straight down-to-the-wire games at the close of the regular season, USC pulled out possibly its most crucial win with a tense 70-67 victory over Washington in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. That effort gave the Trojans their 18th win to lock them into the NCAA Tournament.
THE TOUGH GET GOING
USC returns two of its hardest working senior guards in Jamie Hagiya and Allison Jaskowiak. A well-respected point guard, Hagiya was the Pac-10 leader in assists/turnover ration as a junior, and leads USC in assists this year with 4.4 per game. She has climbed the Trojan career charts to stand as the No. 2 all-time 3-point shooter the No. 5 all-time assists leader. This season, Hagiya's defensive tenacity, ball-handling and distribution skills has again been a huge factor in the gameplan for the Women of Troy. Now with a freshly healed knee, Jaskowiak is back for more after a phenomenal junior season for the Trojans. As the USC roster was thinned out by injuries, Jaskowiak made it known to her teammates and opponents that she wouldn't let the Women of Troy down, even with a banged-up body of her own down the final stretch of the 2005-06 season. She hadn't started a game in her first two years at USC, but as a junior she proved a crucial part of the Trojans' starting lineup. Jaskowiak started 23 games and averaged 26.4 minutes per game, standing out as an unselfish player with dominating defensive skills and an ability to both hit the boards and the perimeter shot.
In contrast to USC's load of seniors, the Trojans have just one sophomore in center Nadia Parker. Also towering in the key at 6-3, Parker provides a strong one-two punch at the post when paired with Kerr. Parker played in every game as a freshman, generating 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game to go along with 19 blocks. An enthusiastic presence in the paint, Parker brings size, strength and a deepening pool of experience to the center position at USC.