Women's Basketball
    December 2, 1996

    USC Women's Hoops Heads to Louisiana Tech for Dial Soap Classic

    LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's basketball team (1-0) takes off for Louisiana Tech for the Dial Soap Classic on Fri. and Sat. (Dec. 6-7). USC opens against Western Illinois at 5:30 p.m. (CST) on Fri. and will play either Louisiana Tech or the University of San Diego on Sat. at either 5:30 or 7:30 p.m. (CST).

    RANKINGS -- Louisiana Tech is ranked No. 6 in the AP poll and No. 4 in the CNN/USA Today poll. USC, Western Illinois and San Diego are not ranked.

    SERIES -- This will be the first meeting between USC and Western Illinois. A USC-San Diego match-up would also be a first. The Women of Troy have played Louisiana Tech 11 times and trail in the series, 5-6. USC last played the Lady Techsters in the Mideast Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament on March 26, 1994, falling 75-66 in Fayetteville, Ark. USC's last win against Louisiana Tech came in the NCAA Tournament on March 3, 1986, in an 80-64 win in Long Beach. That year was also the last time USC played in Ruston, La., as the Women of Troy fell, 75-53, on Jan. 6, 1986. USC's last win in Ruston came on Dec. 4, 1982, 64-58.

    PROBABLE STARTERS:

    USC                     Pos. Ht.  Yr.  PPG. RPG.
    3    Erica Jackson      G    5-8  Sr.  9.0  6.0*
    32   Kristin Clark      G    5-7  So. 12.0  6.0
    50   Michelle Campbell  C    6-5  Sr.  0.0  0.0
    30   Adrain Williams    F/C  6-4  So.  4.0  5.0
    14   Tina Thompson      F    6-3  Sr. 25.0 11.0
    Western Illinois        Pos. Ht.  Yr.  PPG  RPG
    14   Sonya Ford         F    6-1  Fr. 10.0  8.0
    42   Nikka Nohl         C    6-2  Sr.  9.5  5.0
    32   Deirdre La France  G    5-6  Sr. 13.0  3.0
    43   Michelle Gosa      G    5-7  Sr. 12.0  4.5
    10   Karen Bloch        G    5-8  Sr.  5.0  6.0
    *assists
    

    LAST WEEK -- USC defeated San Diego State, 71-60, in its season opener in San Diego. The Women of Troy were led by Tina Thompson's 25 points and 11 rebounds, Rashida Jeffery's 17 rebounds and 10 points and Kristin Clark's 12 points and 6 rebounds. The Women of Troy took a 29-23 lead into halftime. San Diego State cut the lead to 4 on the first basket of the second half but got no closer. USC stretched its lead to as much as 15 before winning by 11.

    COACH FRED WILLIAMS -- USC women's basketball coach Fred Williams begins his second year as head coach and is in his 12th season with the program in some capacity. He was named head coach of the Women of Troy following Cheryl Miller's resignation in September of 1995.

    A longtime fixture in the Los Angeles basketball community, Williams was USC's associate head coach under Miller for 2 seasons (1994-95) and spent 8 seasons as an assistant (1984-91).

    In his first season as head coach, Williams's squad, which featured 6 freshmen and only 1 healthy senior, finished 13-14 overall and 8-10 in the Pacific-10 Conference. As associate head coach during the 1993-94 and 94-95 seasons, Williams helped direct USC to a 44-14 record and 2 NCAA Tournament appearances (including to the Mideast Regional Final in 1994).

    TINA THOMPSON -- A Naismith Player of the Year Top 10 candidate for the 1996-97 season, 6-3 forward Tina Thompson opened her senior season with a 25-point, 11-rebound effort against San Diego State (12/1). Fresh off of her second consecutive appearance on the Jones Cup team, Thompson, a preseason Dick Vitale College Basketball second-team All-American, has been one of the most dominating post players in the Pac-10 during her 3 years at USC and has developed into one of the top players in the country. She is equally skilled in the paint or on the perimeter and is averaging in double-figures in rebounding for her career. Thompson is the active leading scorer and rebounder in the Pac-10 with 1,620 points and 873 boards to her credit, good for 11th and 9th, respectively, on the all-time lists. She also has recorded 43 career double-doubles. A 1996 AP and Kodak honorable mention All-American, Naismith 'Best of the Rest' selection, All-Pac-10, Kodak All-American District 8 and preseason All-American selection, Thompson led the Women of Troy in scoring (23.1) and rebounding (9.3) for the second consecutive year as a 1995-96 junior forward. The focal point of the USC offense, Thompson led USC in most major categories and ranked high in the Pac-10 standings too. Thompson finished third in the conference in scoring, second in rebounding, second in blocked shots (1.1 per game), ninth in field goal percentage (50.7%) and eighth in free throw percentage (74.2%, second on the team to Erica Mashia). She was also third on the team in 3-pointers on 24-of-76 shooting (31.6%). She scored 20 or more points in 23 games, including in 16 of the last 18. Thompson, who started all but one game in 1995-96, was the team's high scorer in 23 games and the game's leading scorer in 15 games. She was the team's leading rebounder in 20 games and the game's high rebounder in 12 games. Thompson's junior season was highlighted by a 49-point effort against UCLA, which was second all-time among Pac-10 and USC performers, just 1 point shy of former Trojan standout Cherie Nelson's 50 against California in 1989.

    ADRAIN WILLIAMS -- A 6-4 sophomore forward, Adrain Williams is in her second consecutive season starting for the Women of Troy. An athletic player, she is quick and agile for her size, a good rebounder, can get out on the break or pull up for a jumper. In USC's opener vs. San Diego State (12/1), she grabbed 5 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in only 24 minutes. A frontcourt starter in 20 of 27 games as a freshman in 1995-96, Williams averaged 9.6 points per game (third on the team) and was second in rebounding (5.8). She led the team in scoring once (she had 13 points at Long Beach State to tie Tina Thompson) and was the team's leading rebounder in 6. With 12 points and 6 boards against San Diego State, Williams began a streak of 7 consecutive double-figure scoring games (she had 15 in her season), which ended against Kansas, where she managed only 7 points and 7 rebounds. She recorded her first career double-double in only the fifth game of her Trojan career: a 12-point, 10-rebound performance against Boise State. Williams shined in USC's first-ever win at Long Beach State with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in only 21 minutes. Against Arizona's double-teaming interior defense, Williams scored a career-best 19 points (going 7-of-11 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the foul line) and grabbed 7 rebounds in just 20 minutes. She was the team's second-leading scorer against third-ranked Stanford (on Feb. 9), with 16 points (she hit a solid 6-of-12 from the floor) and she grabbed 6 rebounds.

    MICHELLE CAMPBELL -- One of the top shot blockers in the Pac-10, 6-5 center Michelle Campbell is going to be a big factor in the fortunes of the Women of Troy in 1996-97. She put in another summer in which she worked hard on her game and USC will rely on her for inside scoring support as well as strong defense in the post. A reserve last season, she will be a starter as a senior, though she missed USC's opener. One of only 2 fifth-year seniors on the team (Rashida Jeffery is the other), Campbell is second on the Pac-10's active career leader board in blocked shots (103) entering her senior season. Campbell was a key reserve off the bench in 1995-96 as a junior and she flourished in that spot. Starting only 6 games, she averaged 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in just 13.4 minutes. She finished second on the team in blocked shots with 23 and her 0.9 per game average was third in the Pac-10. Campbell scored a team-high 18 points against Kansas' aggressive post players (she was 6-of-10 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the line) to tie her career best (first set against Washington State on Feb. 10, 1995) and pulled down 6 rebounds (including 4 offensive). She scored in double figures twice last season, the other time coming in a 10-point outing against Long Beach State.

    ERICA JACKSON -- Coach Williams is looking for a solid leadership figure as well as a veteran guard in 1996-97 and has both in 5-8 senior Erica Jackson. With 50 career starts to her credit, Jackson is a starter for her third consecutive year. Jackson scored 9 points and dished out 6 assists in USC's opener vs. San Diego State (12/1). She is set at point guard, but, as she did for much of last season, she is able to slide over and play the 2-guard as well. Jackson started all but 1 game as a junior in 1995-96, sharing the backcourt with Mashia. She finished second on the team in assists per game with 2.8 and also averaged 4.4 points per game. For the third consecutive season, she raised her scoring average as well as her rebounding (2.1). She scored a season-high 12 points against Boise State, making 5 field goals in the win. She came up big against then-seventh-ranked Virginia when she scored 10 points -- including 2 key 3-pointers -- for her first double-figure scoring output of the season. She also added 3 assists and 3 boards. Jackson put together a solid game against Kansas, as she finished with 9 points (she hit 4-of-8 shots), 5 assists and 3 boards.

    RASHIDA JEFFERY -- Counted on for important minutes inside the key, 6-2 senior forward/center Rashida Jeffery will play a valuable role for the Women of Troy in 1996-97 as the top post player off the bench. Jeffery got a chance to start in USC's opener and came up big, grabbing a career-high 17 rebounds in 31 minutes to go along with 10 points against San Diego State (12/1). Restricted by chronic knee problems, Jeffery is still one of the most athletic players in the conference and routinely plays at the rim, making her one of the most fierce rebounders in the Pac-10. USC's most productive frontcourt player off the bench as a junior in 1995-96, Jeffery averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds (third best on the team) in only 15.2 minutes per game. She scored in double-figures 4 times (the Women of Troy were 4-0 in those games): a career-high 20 at California, 15 vs. Arizona State, 12 at Oregon (along with 11 boards for her first double-double of the season) and 11 versus California. She came off the bench against then-seventh-ranked Virginia to score 9 points and grab a team-high 9 boards. She was unstoppable at California and finished with a career night. She hit 8-of-12 shots from the floor and nailed all 4 foul shots to finish with a career-best 20 points. She also added 9 rebounds (tied for a game-high) and 3 assists.

    KRISTIN CLARK -- A feisty guard with a do-all attitude, sophomore Kristin Clark (identical twin of USC guard Kim Clark) figured to serve mainly as a backup guard in 1996-97, but has moved into the starting role as a result of Mashia's injury. Clark, who looked sharp in USC's 2 exhibition games, opened the season with a career-high 12 points and 6 rebounds against San Diego State (12/1). A solid ball-handler, the 5-7 Clark is equally deft at penetrating and dishing or pulling up for a 3-pointer. She is also valuable defensively as she is one of the quickest players on the team. Playing in all 27 games as a freshman, Clark came on at the end of the 1995-96 season and became a valuable contributor for the USC backcourt. Coming off the bench in place of Jackson to pair with Mashia in the backcourt later in the season, she split time at both guard spots. Clark, who started 3 games (at Oklahoma State and against San Diego State and Arizona), averaged 2.5 points and 1.2 rebounds and finished with 33 assists. She had her most complete game of the season against seventh-ranked Virginia, when she came off the bench to score a career-high 10 points (including 2 treys). She also added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals.

    JODI PARRIOTT -- A versatile forward, 6-2 sophomore Jodi Parriott is expected to see her role increase in 1996-97 as she provides coach Williams with options at both the 3 and 4 positions. Parriott opened the season with 8 points and 3 steals off the bench against San Diego State. Playing in all but one game, all off the bench, as a 1995-96 freshman forward, Parriott averaged 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in an average of 9.6 minutes per outing. Parriott scored a career-high 11 points (5-of-7 from the floor) against Washington State (Jan. 7) in just 11 minutes. Coming off the bench against Arizona, Parriott had 6 points, 3 rebounds and a career-high 4 assists.

    KIM CLARK -- After missing most of last season with a right shoulder injury, Kim Clark (identical twin of USC guard Kristin Clark) is expected to add outside shooting depth to USC's perimeter game in 1996-97. The 5-7 redshirt freshman, an aggressive player with an eye for loose balls, will also contribute as a defensive stopper. She is slated to back up at the 2 position, though the same injury that forced her out last year may keep her out of early action this season. She is one of 2 2-sport athletes on the Women of Troy (freshman Antoinette Polk is the other) and was a starting midfielder on the USC soccer team. Clark played in USC's first 5 games as well as an exhibition game in 1995-96 before her shoulder injury sidelined her for the remainder of the season.

    ERICA MASHIA -- A Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection as a freshman guard in 1995-96, Erica Mashia was slated as USC's starting shooting guard this season. However, after finishing second on the team in scoring as a freshman and setting school season free throw and 3-point percentage records, Mashia reaggravated a hip injury suffered last season (in the preseason) and will likely be forced to redshirt.

    FANTASTIC FRESHMEN -- Williams added 4 freshmen to his roster this season, including 2 who will likely get opportunities right away. Guard Kiyoko Miller (5-8), from Valley Christian High (Brea, Calif.), comes to USC as a USA Today All-USA Honorable Mention and Southern Section Div. IV Co-Player of the Year. Forward Tiffany Washington (6-2), from Bishop Montgomery High (Torrance, Calif.), was the Southern Section Division III Player of the Year. Both will compete for time at their respective positions. Miller played 10 minutes in USC's opener, scoring 3 points. Washington also saw action, going scoreless in 3 minutes. Williams also welcomes Antoinette Polk, a 5-10 guard who is currently playing with the volleyball team. The Sacramento Player of the Year, Polk, from El Camino High (Sacramento, Calif.), is an excellent athlete with great speed, quickness and leaping abilities. Also new is walk-on freshman Robyn Lewis, a 5-7 guard from Gahr High (Cerritos, Calif.), who earned All-San Gabriel Valley League honors as a senior last year.

    SCHEDULE -- The Women of Troy are set to face 2 teams currently in the AP Top 25: Stanford and Western Kentucky. USC also faces a possible match-up against Louisiana Tech in the Dial Soap Classic hosted by the Lady Techsters.

    WESTERN ILLINOIS -- Headed up by fifth-year coach Regina Miller (47-63), the Westerwinds opened 2-0. Senior guard Dierdre La France leads Western Illinois, averaging 13.0 points per game. Senior guard Michelle Gosa (12.0) and junior transfer forward Meschele Darden (11.0) also play key roles for the Westerwinds.

    POLLS -- USC was ranked No. 23 in The Sporting News preseason poll.

    PAC-10 PRESEASON COACHES POLL:

     
     1. Stanford 
     2. Oregon
     3. USC
     4. Arizona
     5. UCLA
     6. Washington
     7. Washington State
     8. California
     9. Oregon State
    10. Arizona State. 
    

    WILLIAMS SAYS -- "I was pleased with the season opener, getting a win on the road. We played 8 players and all of them contributed. I was especially pleased with Rashida Jeffery as well as our backcourt, which will have to step it up all year to make up for Erica Mashia's absence. We're looking forward to this weekend's tournament. Western Illinois is a fine team, as are the other teams in the tournament. Hopefully this will give us an indication of how we stand nationally and will help us reach our goal of becoming a top 25 team."