December 31, 1996
Trojans Open Pac-10 Season on the Raod
LOS ANGELES -- USC (6-3) opens the Pacific-10 season this week in the Northwest with games against Washington (5-4) in Seattle at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Thursday and against Washington State (5-3) at Friel Court in Pullman on Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m.
Rankings -- USC, Washington and Washington State are not ranked.
Series -- USC has a losing record against only 2 Pac-10 schools. Stanford is one and Washington is the other as the Huskies hold a 12-8 edge. The Women of Troy lead the series against Washington State, 14-7. USC has lost 5 in a row to the Huskies, including 3 consecutive defeats in Seattle. The Women of Troy split with the Cougars last year, beating Washington State in Pullman. USC has won 4 of its last 5 games in Pullman.
Last Week - USC split its 2 games in the Pac-10/Sun Belt Challenge, beating New Orleans, 97-73, on Saturday (Dec. 28) and falling to No. 9 Western Kentucky in double overtime, 85-82, on Sunday (Dec. 29). Senior forward Tina Thompson was named MVP of the tournament and senior center Michelle Campbell was selected to the All-Tournament team. Against the Privateers, USC was led by Thompson's 30 points and 7 rebounds. USC opened its first double-digit lead at 32-22 midway through the first half and the Women of Troy enjoyed their biggest first-half margin at 42-24 with 4:27 to go before halftime. A 14-0 run in the second half sealed the game. Sophomore guard Kristin Clark finished with 19 points, Campbell had 16 points and 4 blocks and sophomore forward/center Adrain Williams had 11 points. USC suffered a heartbreaker in the loss to the Lady Toppers. USC, led by career-high performances by Campbell (25 points) and sophomore forward Jodi Parriott (22 points), made comebacks in both overtimes and had 2 chances to beat the Lady Toppers. At the end of the second half, Clark made 1 free throw and Jodi Parriott made a layup to tie the game at 64. USC had the last possession in regulation but a Clark jumper was just off. With USC down 2 at the end of the first overtime, Parriott tied the game with a layup and was fouled with 3.8 seconds to go, but the sophomore missed the ensuing foul shot. In the second overtime, Western Kentucky went up 82-80 with a minute to play and USC got no closer.
Notes - USC topped the 90-point mark in 3 consecutive games (UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, New Orleans) for the first time since the 1986-87 season. The last time USC did it 4 times in a row was in the 1982-83 season when the Women of Troy surpassed 90 points 5 consecutive times . . . USC has outblocked its opponents at a wild pace, 57-11, or an average of 6.3-1.2. Additionally, 5 of the 11 opponent blocked shots came in the New Orleans game . . . USC has had 2 overtime games this season (UC Santa Barbara and Western Kentucky, double overtime) and is 1-1 in those games, beating the Gauchos and falling to the Lady Toppers . . . USC is holding opponents to a .350 field goal percentage and is outscoring opponents, 79.0-67.2 . . . USC has had 5 players set career scoring highs this season (Michelle Campbell, Kim and Kristin Clark, Jodi Parriott, Adrain Williams) . . . In the double-overtime Western Kentucky game, USC had 5 players play more than 40 minutes, including Kristin Clark, who played all 50 minutes) . . . USC has played 3 Sun Belt Conference schools, beating New Orleans and falling to Louisiana Tech and Western Kentucky.
Coach Fred Williams - USC women's basketball coach Fred Williams is in 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' 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 has opened her senior season averaging 23.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, scoring at least 21 points in 8 of 9 contests, including 6 efforts of 25 or more. Thompson, who has 4 double-doubles, has been named Pac-10 Player of the Week twice this season for the weeks ending Dec. 8 and Dec. 22. They were her third and fourth such honors in her career with one each coming as a sophomore and junior. Thompson, who has also been named to 2 all-tournament teams this season in addition to being selected as MVP of the Pac-10/Sun Belt Challenge, posted a season-high 31 points vs. UC Santa Barbara (12/19) to go along with 14 rebounds. She had 30 points against New Orleans (12/28) in the first day of the Pac-10/Sun Belt Challenge and she scored 26 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked 3 shots and had 5 steals vs. Long Beach State (12/21). Thompson began this season with a 25-point, 11-rebound effort against San Diego State (12/1). She put up 22 points and a career-high 6 blocks against Western Illinois (12/6) in the first round of the Dial Soap Classic at Louisiana Tech and came back with a game-high 25 points (including 2 3-pointers) in the title game against the Lady Techsters (12/7), helping her earn All-Tournament honors. Thompson posted a 25-point, 17-rebound showing against Utah (12/14) in the UC Irvine Tournament, where she also earned All-Tournament honors. Thompson began the season fresh off of her second consecutive appearance on the Jones Cup team, and was a preseason Dick Vitale College Basketball second team All-American selection. She has been one of the most dominating post players in the Pac-10 during her 3-plus years at USC and has developed into one of the top players in the country. She is equally skilled in the paint and on the perimeter and is averaging double-figures in rebounding for her career. Thompson is the active leading scorer and rebounder in the Pac-10 with 1,807 points and 957 boards to her credit, good for 8th and 6th, respectively, on the all-time lists. She also has recorded 46 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. Thompson's junior season was highlighted by a 49-point effort against UCLA, which is 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.
Michelle Campbell - Perhaps the top shot blocker in the Pac-10, 6-5 center Michelle Campbell has proven 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 has relied on her for inside scoring support as well as strong defense in the post. A reserve last season, she is again a starter and is flourishing, averaging 12.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and a team-high 2.9 blocks per game. Campbell put forth an excellent performance in the Pac-10/Sun Belt Challenge, earning All-Tournament honors. She scored a 25 points, blocked 7 shots, both career highs, and had 12 rebounds against Western Kentucky (12/29) and had 16 points against New Orleans (12/28) to go along with 4 blocks and a career-high 5 assists. She had 15 points and tied a season high with 13 rebounds vs. Long Beach State (12/21) to go along with 4 blocks. Campbell had 14 points and 13 rebounds vs. UC Santa Barbara (12/19), 10 points against Utah (12/14), 11 rebounds and 3 blocks vs. Colorado State (12/13) and 9 rebounds against Louisiana Tech (12/7). One of only 2 fifth-year seniors on the team (Rashida Jeffery is the other), Campbell was second on the Pac-10's active career leader board in blocked shots entering her senior season and now has 126. Campbell was a key reserve off the bench in 1995-96 as a junior, averaging 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in just 13.4 minutes.
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 entering this season, 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), had 9 points again vs. Utah (12/14) and New Orleans (12/28), had 8 points (all on free throws) and 5 rebounds vs. UC Santa Barbara (12/19), had 8 points, 4 assists and 3 steals vs. Long Beach State (12/21) and had 7 points and 5 rebounds against Louisiana Tech (12/7). Jackson, who had a career-high 10 assists vs. Western Kentucky (12/29), leads USC in assists and has opened the season hot at the free throw line, making 24 of her first 31 attempts (77.4%), including a stretch of 17 in a row, which ended against the Gauchos. 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.
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 Erica Mashia's hip injury. Clark looked sharp in the preseason and has continued her solid play into the regular season as the team's third-leading scorer (10.8). In USC's overtime win over UC Santa Barbara (12/19), Clark hit the game-tying shot, a 12-footer with 14 seconds to go, that sent the game into the extra period. She finished with 11 points and 6 steals in the win. She has scored a career-high 19 points twice, once in the win over Utah (12/14) and again in the win over New Orleans (12/28). In the second game of the Pac-10/Sun Belt Challenge vs. Western Kentucky, Clark played all 50 minutes of the double-overtime affair, scoring 12 points and dishing out 8 assists. She opened the season with 12 points and 6 rebounds against San Diego State (12/1), had 9 points vs. Colorado State (12/13) and had a game-high 5 assists vs. Western Illinois (12/6). 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 and leads USC in steals (2.2) and floor burns. 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, starting 3 times.
Adrian 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 and she can get out on the break or pull up for a jumper. She is fifth in scoring (8.2) and third in rebounding (6.6) and posted the best game of her USC career against Colorado State (12/13) with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Williams put together her second double-double of the season in the win over Long Beach State (12/21) with 13 points and 11 rebounds. She posted 11 points and 4 steals against Western Illinois (12/6), had 11 points vs. New Orleans (12/28) and 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).
Jodi Parriott - A versatile forward, 6-2 sophomore Jodi Parriott has seen her role increase in 1996-97 as she provides Coach Williams with options at both the 3 and 4 positions. Parriott, USC's fourth-leading scorer (8.5), has come on strong as of late, scoring a career-high 22 points vs. Western Kentucky (12/29) on 9-of-16 shooting just 10 days after posting 20 points (including 7 in overtime) and 8 rebounds against UC Santa Barbara (12/19). She opened the season with 8 points and 3 steals off the bench against San Diego State (12/1), had 8 points vs. Long Beach State (12/21), had 6 points and 4 rebounds vs. Western Illinois (12/6) and had 6 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. Utah (12/14). Playing in all but 1 game, all off the bench, as a 1995-96 freshman, Parriott averaged 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in an average of 9.6 minutes per outing.
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. A lower back injury kept her out of early action this season, but Clark made her season debut against Long Beach State (12/21), playing 6 minutes, making 1 of 2 shots to go along with 1 rebound and 1 assist. She has played in 2 games this season. She is one of 2 2-sport athletes on the team (freshman Antoinette Polk is the other) and was a starting midfielder on the USC soccer team. Clark scored 6 goals this year and had 3 assists.
Rashida Jefferr - 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, who missed the last 7 games due to a knee sprain, 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.
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 four freshmen to his roster this season, including 2 who are seeing 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 Division 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. Miller scored a season-high 7 points vs. Utah (12/14), had a season-high 5 rebounds vs. New Orleans (12/28), had 6 points, 3 assists and 2 steals vs. Long Beach State (12/21) and had a combined 10 points in USC's 2 games in the Dial Soap Classic (12/6-7). Instinctive on the court, Miller had 3 assists and 2 steals in both games at the UC Irvine Tournament. Washington posted a double-double in only her second game, scoring 12 points and getting 11 rebounds against Western Illinois (12/6) and then scored 11 points (on 5-of-5 shooting) with 7 rebounds vs. Colorado State (12/13). She has made 12 of 17 shots on the season and is averaging 3.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. Coach Williams has welcomed to the squad Antoinette Polk, a 5-10 guard who recently finished her first season with the volleyball team. Polk spent the volleyball season as a redshirt, but began basketball practice on Monday (Dec. 16) and made her USC debut in the final 3 minutes of the Long Beach State game. She made 1 of 2 shots in her first appearance and went scoreless in her other appearance against New Orleans (12/28). 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. She has played in 4 games this season, making 2 of 7 shots.
USC in the Pac-10 (12/30) - Tina Thompson leads the Pac-10 in scoring (23.6) and rebounding (10.6), is third in blocked shots (1.9), 3-point percentage (.419) and fourth in field goal percentage (.566). Erica Jackson is fourth in free throw percentage (.774) and sixth in assists (3.8) and Michelle Campbell leads the Pac-10 in blocked shots (2.9) and is seventh in rebounding (9.3) and field goal percentage (.532). As a team, USC leads the Pac-10 in rebounding (49.4) and is third in scoring offense (79.0) and field goal percentage defense (.350). USC's 45 free throws vs. UC Santa Barbara (12/19) and 32 made against Utah (12/14) are both Pac-10 highs and its 59 rebounds against Colorado State (12/13) is tied for a Pac-10 high. Campbell's 7 blocks vs. Western Kentucky (12/29) are a Pac-10 high, as are Thompson's and Rashida Jeffery's 17-rebound efforts.
Schedule - The Trojans face three teams currently in the AP Top 25 this season: Louisiana Tech, Stanford and Western Kentucky. USC already faced then-No. 3 Louisiana Tech in the Dial Soap Classic, falling 66-47, as well as then-No. 9 Western Kentucky, falling 85-82 in double overtime.
Washington - The Huskies, under first-year coach June Daugherty, are led by sophomore guard Jamie Redd, who is averaging a team-high 20.9 points and 4.9 assists. Three other players also are averaging in double figures, including sophomore forward Amber Hall, who is scoring 12.9 points per game and is averaging 10.3 rebounds per game. The Huskies have won 4 consecutive games and have played one common opponent of USC's, Louisiana Tech, falling to the Lady Techsters, 73-70.
Washington State - Led by 15th-year coach Harold Rhodes, the Cougars opened the season 4-1 before losing 2 of their last 3. Junior center Yvonne Kunze leads Washington State with 13.5 points and 6.4 rebounds and senior forward Kristin Erickson is averaging 12.3 points and 3.0 rebounds. In 8 games, the Cougars have 7 blocks, or as many as USC center Michelle Campbell had in USC's game against Western Kentucky.
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.
Early Signing - USC signed one player in the early signing period, forward Tashara Carter, a 6-0 forward from Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.). Carter averaged 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds as a junior last season when she teamed with current Trojan freshman forward Tiffany Washington. Carter was recently tabbed a 1996-97 Street & Smith All-American honorable mention. Other honors include: All-State Division III as a junior in 1996, All-CIF Division III in 1995 and 1996, 1995 Los Angeles Times All-South Bay, 1995 and 1996 Daily Breeze All-South Bay, 1995 Del Rey League MVP and 2-time All-Del Rey League selection. Carter, who averaged 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore, helped lead Bishop Montgomery to the Division III-AA state championship in 1995.
Shorthanded - USC Coach Fred Williams has been without his full complement of players so far this season. It starts with the likely season-long loss of starting sophomore guard Erica Mashia because of a hip injury. He had been without the services of both redshirt freshman guard Kim Clark (because of a nagging back injury) and freshman guard Antoinette Polk, who has been with the volleyball team. Both made their debut in USC's game against Long Beach State (12/21). Williams also has had to do without senior forward Rashida Jeffery for the last 7 games because of a sprained knee. Jeffery is questionable for this week's games.
Williams Says - "I told my team after the Western Kentucky game that you break the season into four quarters and we just finished the first, which is the preseason. We're 6-3 and I'm pleased with where we're at, going into the second quarter, which is the Pac-10 schedule. The third quarter is the NCAA Tournament and the fourth quarter is the Final Four. I like the direction we're headed in now and look forward to the start of the Pac-10 season. Washington and Washington State are both good ballclubs and this weekend will offer an immediate challenge playing them on the road."