USC Women Bound For Washington Schools
Jan. 8, 2008
USC shoves off for an important Pac-10 road trip this week, as the Trojans look to grab a winning record in conference action. USC (9-6, 2-2 Pac-10) opens the road run with a game at Washington State at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 10). The Women of Troy play next in a televised matchup at Washington at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 13). That USC-UW game will be broadcast live on FSN.
Live audio, broadcast by Jon Horn, will be available online at www.usctrojans.com for both USC games this weekend. Live stats through Gametracker will be available online for the Washington game, which will also be broadcast live by FSN with play-by-play from Jim Watson and color analysis by Tracy Warren.
IN THE NATION
USC has received votes in this week's AP poll. Washington State and Washington are unranked in this week's national polls.
Up against two more ranked opponents, USC emerged with an impressive home split last weekend, going from an off-night against No. 10 Cal in which USC fell 57-52, to a hotter offensive performance against the nation's No. 2 squad Stanford, as the Trojans snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Cardinal with a 73-72 upset at the Galen Center. On Friday, USC suffered its only loss at the Galen Center this season when Cal topped the Trojans. Morghan Medlock was USC's only player to finish in double figures, as she had 13 points for the Trojans. USC forced 25 turnovers out of the Bears in the game, but Cal had the advantage in the paint and on the boards, pulling down 50 rebounds to USC's season-low 20. USC shot 37 percent in the game, compared to a 40 percent effort by Cal. The lead traded hands three times in the first five minutes of action, until Cal was able to convert in the paint, getting a combined 20 points from posts Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker in the first half. Cal came close to doubling USC's marks on the boards, outrebounding the Trojans 29-55 in the first half, including a point where the Bears had grabbed more offensive rebounds (11) than the Trojans had total rebounds (7). Allison Jaskowiak had a career-high five steals for USC in the loss. Two days later, Camille LeNoir served up the winning shot for the Trojans in a 73-72 upset win over No. 2 Stanford The Cardinal had beaten the Women of Troy the past 10 games, dating back through to a USC victory on Jan. 25, 2004. LeNoir led USC in scoring with a season-best 21 points, and Heather Oliver and Nadia Parker also added double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively. The Trojans kept a tight leash on the Cardinal in a game that saw 10 tie scores and 10 lead changes. In the end, USC's perimeter effort - led by a career-high five 3-pointers from LeNoir - helped the Trojans balance out Stanford's strong inside presence. USC hit 11 threes in the game, shooting 58 percent from 3-point range and 51 percent in the game. Stanford was 15 percent from 3-point range and finished 44 percent from the floor. The Cardinal boasted a powerful rebounding advantage over the Trojans, however, grabbing 38 to USC's 23.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE
The Cougars are 3-11 overall and 0-3 in Pac-10 play after falling 61-46 to Washington last week. Katie Appleton leads WSU in scoring with 12.8 points per game. Head coach June Daugherty is in her first season at WSU, which went 5-24 overall and finished 10th at 1-17 in the Pac-10 last year. USC is 33-11 all-time against the Cougars, including 14 straight wins in the past meetings. Last season, USC beat WSU 62-56 in Pullman and 65-47 in Los Angeles.
The Huskies are 6-9 overall and 1-2 in Pac-10 play after beating Washington State 61-46 last week. Katelan Redmon and Sami Whitcomb lead UW in scoring with 12.2 and 10.8 points per game, respectively. Head coach Tia Jackson is in her first season at Washington, which went 18-13 overall last year, finishing fourth at 11-7 in the Pac-10 and reaching the NCAA First Round. USC is 20-27 all-time against the Huskies after going 2-1 against Washington last season. The Trojans won the last meeting with an 81-77 victory at the Pac-10 Tournament.
Brynn Cameron set USC records from 3-point range as a freshman, but had been sidelined since October 2006 by hip surgeries as well as the birth of her son Cole. In her first two games back in action, the junior guard stepped right back into her comfort zone outside the arc. Cameron led USC in scoring in USC's first two games this year, knocking down four 3-pointers in each game. With 19 threes this season, Cameron passed up current USC assistant coach Jody (Anton) Wynn in the record books and is now tied in the No. 3 all-time slot occupied by Tammy Story and Kristin Clark with 110.
Greatly missed from the USC lineup last season was point guard Camille LeNoir, who was sidelined with a hip injury. Following surgery, the junior returned to the floor this season as a redshirt junior, and wasted little time getting right back to her impressive ways on court. She's set up camp as USC's second leading scorer this season, averaging 11.1 points, 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Against Cal State Fullerton, LeNoir matched Trojan great Cheryl Miller's 100 percent effort on the floor from 1985, coming one short of Miller's 10-of-10 outing by going 9-for-9 and finishing with a season-high 19 points. LeNoir also served up a career-high eight assists in USC's Pac-10 opener against Arizona, and recently knocked down a career-high five 3-pointers in USC's upset win over then-No. 2 Stanford. She ranks No. 3 all-time at USC in career threes with 98.
Nadia Parker made herself well at home in the Bahamas, serving up 28 points and 18 rebounds in the two games on her way to her first-ever Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. The junior center had a career day in USC's comeback win over Virginia Tech, tallying career highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds (also her first career double-double) and a shooting percentage of 9-of-11 (.818) to help spark USC to victory. She's since recorded two more double-doubles, grabbing back-to-back efforts at the Women of Troy Classic. Parker stands tall as USC's leading scorer (11.8 ppg) and top rebounder (6.3 rpg).
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
The first thing fans and followers will notice about this season's pack of Women of Troy is a group of faces who haven't quite been on the forefront of the Trojan lineup in a while. Three players who redshirted last season due to injuries et al are back in the mix. Standout point guard Camille LeNoir has healed up following hip surgery; Markisha Lea steps back in as a senior with cartilage intact in her knee; Brynn Cameron sustained her second hip surgery and gave birth to her first child on her way back to the court. Further balancing out the departure of five 2007 graduates are a pair of seniors who have extended their Trojan careers in unique ways. Kate Henderson and Allison Jaskowiak were freshmen together in 2003-04. Henderson wound up transferring after that season, but has since returned to USC and has worked her way back into the picture. Jaskowiak was granted a medical redshirt for that freshman season and has thus received another season of eligibility that allows her to return for her final year on the Trojan roster. With LeNoir, Cameron and Jaskowiak alone back on the court, USC taps back into the talent pool that helped spark the Women of Troy's resurgence to the NCAA Tournament scene with back-to-back postseason runs in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Known for their stifling defense, USC seniors Allison Jaskowiak and Simone Jelks have also come up strong on the offensive end this season. Jelks averaged 2.6 points per game last season as a junior, and has upped her tally to 4.9 ppg so far this season to help in USC's balanced offensive effort. Jaskowiak has also increased her offensive role, going from 3.1 ppg last season to 4.1 this year. The two seniors have already tallied more 3-pointers than they hit all of last season. Jelks has nailed nine to better last year's mark, and Jaskowiak has knocked down 13 so far.
INJURY BUG BITES BACK
It seemed to be the storyline of the 2006-07 season, but the injury bug hasn't seemed to shake completely loose of the Women of Troy yet. USC will have two players sidelined this season with torn ACLs. For redshirt freshman Jacki Gemelos -- considered the best player in the country coming out of high school in 2006 -- it is an all-too-familiar situation. Gemelos tore her ACL in her final high school game before coming to USC, redshirting her first season. She then reinjured the same knee in the offseason, bringing up a second surgery and pushing the highly anticipated guard's return to the floor back further. True freshman Stefanie Gilbreath endured the same injury just before the 2007 McDonald's All-American Game, leaving the Trojans short another outstanding newcomer for the 2007-08 season.
Lined up to add a depth charge to the backcourt is transfer Heather 'Ollie' Oliver, a member of the Australian Under-21 National Team, which won silver at the U-21 Women's World Championships this summer. She brings a smooth outside shot as well as stifling defensive abilities to the Trojan roster. She tallied her first points as a Trojan with a nine-point outing against Colorado on Nov. 18, and saw her first starts in the past three games. Honored as the Women of Troy Classic MVP, she now is averaging 7.4 points per game after posting double-digit efforts in four of the past six games.
USC boasts a couple of different looks to the point this season, as 5-6 junior floor general Camille LeNoir returns to action after a year out to heal from hip surgery. She's complimented by 6-2 sophomore Hailey Dunham. Despite the height difference, the pair combine forces well in running the Trojans offense, each bringing their own spark to the offense to keep opposing defenses on their toes. LeNoir had her return to the court this season delayed a week, but when the junior point guard hit the floor for her first game against Colorado on Nov. 18, she came out strong with nine points and three assists in the game. The Trojan point guard tandem of Dunham (74 pts, 38 asts) and LeNoir (156 pts, 59 asts) is averaging 16.0 points and 6.7 assists per game.
The Women of Troy welcome three new members to the Trojan family this season. Assistant coach Jody Wynn recently gave birth to her second daughter, Kaeli, in October 2007, and junior Brynn Cameron has her son, Cole, fresh off his first birthday. And senior Allison Jaskowiak added a new name to her roster page when she married former USC baseball star Ian Kennedy in October.
Sophomores Aarika Hughes and Morghan Medlock both have stepped up as key contributors in their second season at Troy. Both versatile players with ball-handling skills and a slick 3-point shot to go along with size and strength, the pair have picked up the pace on all accounts this year. Hughes and Medlock combined for 9.0 points per game last season, and are averaging 14.8 together this year. Hughes has upped a freshman year average of 2.6 ppg and seven total 3-pointers to a sophomore campaign where she averages 6.5 ppg and has nailed 15 threes already. Medlock produced 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a freshman and has delivered 8.3 ppg and 5.6 rpg this season.
With her true freshman counterpart redshirting the season, center Kari LaPlante carries the torch as the lone freshman on the court for the Trojans this year. Freshman guard Stefanie Gilbreath will redshirt following offseason knee surgery. LaPlante towers as the tallest Trojan on the roster, setting up the 6-5 freshman to see significant time in the paint this year. She tallied her first points as a Trojan in USC's win over Colorado on Nov. 18, putting in two points and pulling down six rebounds for the Women of Troy. LaPlante now averages 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
The Women of Troy have been slotted at No. 4 in the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Coaches Poll and the Media Poll. The Trojans received 56 points in the coaches poll to come in behind top pick and defending conference champ Stanford (79 points), No. 2 Arizona State (71) and No. 3 pick California (68). Sitting below the Trojans in fifth is UCLA with 44 points.
USC used nine different players in its starting lineup rotations last year. Six players who saw time as starters return for 2007-08 -- sophomores Hailey Dunham, Aarika Hughes and Morghan Medlock and seniors Nicole Berberet, Allison Jaskowiak and Simone Jelks. This year USC is on a similar page, with nine different players getting at least one starting nod, as the Trojans have utilized six different starting lineups.