Dec. 2, 1997
USC Plays at UC Santa Barbara Before Traveling to Kansas for Dial Soap Classic
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's basketball team (1-0), under first-year head coach Chris Gobrecht and coming off a season-opening blowout win over Long Beach State, visits UC Santa Barbara (3-2) on Thursday (Dec. 4) at 7 p.m. before traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for the Dial Soap Classic on Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 6-7). USC opens the tournament against Grambling State (1-1) at 1 p.m., and is followed by host Kansas (3-1) taking on Coppin State (2-0) at 3 p.m. Sunday's consolation game is at 1 p.m. with the championship game at 3 p.m. All times in Kansas are CST.
RANKINGS - USC, UC Santa Barbara, Kansas, Grambling State and Coppin State are not ranked.
UC SANTA BARBARA - The Gauchos, under coach Mark French, are 3-2 and coming off of an impressive 88-86 win over No. 5 Florida. Sophomore forward Kristi Rohr averages a team-high 15.4 points while freshman center Nicole Greathouse is off to a 15.0 clip. Freshman guard Erin Buescher is scoring 13.4 points per game and is averaging a team-high 8.2 rebounds. USC is tied in the all-time series against UC Santa Barbara, 8-8. In the last meeting, the Women of Troy defeated the Gauchos, 98-92, in overtime, on Dec. 19, 1996, at the Lyon Center. USC has won 7 consecutive games against the Gauchos.
GRAMBLING STATE - The Lady Tigers are 1-1 in the young season, with a win over Southern University at New Orleans and a loss to Southwest Missouri State. Grambling State is coached by David "Rusty" Ponton and led by 3 returning starters: senior guard Shiakiea Carter, junior guard Temika Mitchell and junior guard/forward Felecia James. Saturday will mark the first meeting between USC and Grambling State.
KANSAS/COPPIN STATE - USC will play either Kansas or Coppin State on Sunday. USC has played the Jayhawks only once before, losing on Jan. 2, 1996, 82-77. USC and Coppin State have never met.
LAST WEEK - USC defeated Long Beach State, 84-55, in its season opener on Nov. 25 at the Sports Arena. The Women of Troy had 5 players score in double figures, led by junior guard Kristin Clark's 15 points. Freshman forward Whitney Houser had 14 points and junior forward/center Adrain Williams, sophomore forward Tiffany Washington and sophomore guard Kim Clark had 12 points apiece. USC led wire-to-wire and led 43-24 at halftime.
NOTES - The Women of Troy have been shorthanded since the preseason began, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, USC has had to deal with the injury bug. Three projected starters - junior forward/center Adrain Williams, junior forward Jodi Parriott and sophomore guard Erica Mashia - were the biggest blows.
Williams missed almost all of the preseason with a foot injury before getting in a few minutes in USC's final exhibition game. A projected starter, she is currently playing as a reserve. Parriott hasn't played since having knee surgery during the summer and won't be available until at least the end of December. Mashia, who missed all of last season with a hip injury, will miss the 1997-98 season as well with the same injury.
Also banged up but playing through the pain is starting junior guard Kristin Clark. She suffered a broken toe before USC's exhibition opener and broke her nose in practice. Her twin sister and 2-sport athlete Kim Clark, a sophomore guard, only recently began practicing with the basketball team. One of the top women's soccer players on the West Coast, Clark recently finished soccer season and is just now getting acclimated to her new sport. Ironically, it was Kim, in her first basketball practice back, who broke Kristin's nose during a scrimmage.
Fellow 2-sport athlete Antoinette Polk, a starter on the USC women's volleyball team who was a reserve guard last year, has decided to give up basketball to concentrate on volleyball. Guard Shannon Kartz, the only senior on the team who did not play last year, recently suffered a stress fracture, but is not expected to miss any time.
CHRIS GOBRECHT - Twenty years after graduating from USC in 1977 to embark on a coaching career, Chris Gobrecht has returned to campus to take the helm of the Women of Troy basketball program. Gobrecht, 42, who played basketball and volleyball while at USC, has been a head coach at the Division I level for 18 years, having guided programs at Cal State Fullerton (6 years), Washington (11) and Florida State (1).
She was a 2-time Pacific-10 Coach of the Year (1987-88) with the Huskies and has amassed a 333-203 career mark. She reached the 300-victory plateau on Jan. 19, 1995, at the age of 39, making her one of the youngest coaches to do so in America. During her 11 years (1986-96) at Washington, she compiled a 243-89 (.732) record. Gobrecht, the winningest coach in Washington history, led the Huskies to 9 NCAA Tournament berths (including advancing to the regionals 4 times), 3 conference championships (1986-88-90) and 4 second-place league finishes.
Her teams won at least 16 games each season (including getting 20 wins 8 times). Gobrecht comes to USC after spending the 1997 season at Florida State. She began the process of reconstructing a downtrodden Seminole program and finished with a 5-22 record.
NEW STAFF - Joining Gobrecht on the new staff are first-year coaches Stacy McIntyre (Kentucky '94), Erika Lang (Florida '95) and Traci Nemechek (Metropolitan State College at Denver '87).
KRISTIN CLARK - A feisty guard who can change the face of a game with her intense play, 1997-98 junior Kristin Clark (identical twin of USC guard Kim Clark) returns as a starting guard for the Women of Troy. A solid ball-handler and outside shooter who is USC's leading returning scorer (11.4), 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 can cause havoc in the backcourt. Clark opened the USC season against Long Beach State by scoring a game-high 15 points to go along with 6 assists and 5 steals.
She earned 1997 All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors last year, leading USC in steals (2.6) and tying for third in the Pac-10 in that category. Clark scored a career-high 25 points at Arizona (1/16), making 5-of-6 3-pointers in the process. Clark bettered her trey marksmanship record with a 6-of-7 effort from behind the 3-point line against Washington State (3/6), scoring all of her 18 points on 3-pointers. She finished the season tied with teammate Tina Thompson with 41 3-pointers and led the team with 36.0% shooting from behind the arc (tied for seventh in the Pac-10). In conference games, she hit 41.9% of her 3-pointers (31-of-74).
ADRAIN WILLIAMS - Adrain Williams, a junior forward/center, will see her role expand in 1997-98. The talented Williams can run the court like a guard and finish as well as anyone in the Pac-10. But she will be most valuable to the Women of Troy in the paint where her rebounding and scoring will have to help make up much of the slack left by departed seniors Tina Thompson and Michelle Campbell. She spent most of the preseason recovering from a foot injury, but is close to full strength.
In USC's opener against Long Beach State (11/25), Williams did not start but played 14 minutes as a reserve, scoring 12 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. As a 1996-97 sophomore, Williams started 9 games for the Women of Troy before finishing the season as a valuable reserve. She finished fifth on the team in scoring (8.1) and third in rebounding (5.6) and blocked shots (0.7) in only 21.1 minutes per game. She posted the best game of her USC career against Colorado State (12/13) with 21 points and 14 rebounds. It was one of 4 double-doubles she had on the year.
TIFFANY WASHINGTON - One of the top young rebounders in the Pac-10, 1997-98 sophomore forward Tiffany Washington will see her role increase as a force in the paint at both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. She made her first career start against Long Beach State (11/25), scoring a career-high tying 12 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and getting a career-high 6 steals. Washington was named a 1996-97 Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention selection as a forward/center last season, averaging 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.2 minutes per game. Playing in 28 games off the bench at either the power forward or center positions, Washington made 31-of-60 field goal attempts (51.7%) on the season and her 40 offensive rebounds were fourth best on the team.
KIYOKO MILLER - A fine outside shooter and all-around player, Kiyoko Miller will compete for time at both guard positions as a 1997-98 sophomore. She made her second career start against Long Beach State (11/25) in USC's opener, scoring a career-high 8 points. Miller played in every game as a 1996-97 freshman guard, starting once at Arizona (1/16). Playing an average of 13.3 minutes per game as a back-up at both the point and shooting guard, Miller averaged 2.6 points and 1.1 assists per game. She scored a season-high 7 points vs. Utah (12/14) and had a season-high 5 rebounds vs. New Orleans (12/28).
KIM CLARK - A scrappy player who brings darting quickness and aggressive play to every game, 1997-98 sophomore guard Kim Clark fits well into Coach Chris Gobrecht's defense-oriented style of play and will see her time increase this year. In USC's season-opener against Long Beach State (11/25), she scored a career-high 12 points. Clark (identical twin of USC guard Kristin Clark) added speed and depth to USC as a reserve in 1996-97. She came on toward the end of the season as a defensive catalyst and as a back-up ball-handler.
A lower back injury kept her out of early action, but Clark played in 17 games on the season, averaging 8.4 minutes per game. She made her season debut against Long Beach State (12/21) and less than a month later, she set a career high with 11 points vs. California (1/10) on 5-of-6 shooting in only 8 minutes. A 2-sport athlete, Clark an All-Pac-10 first team selection on the USC soccer team as a midfielder in 1997. She was USC's leading scorer with 43 points (13 goals, 17 assists) and is considered one of the West Coast's top players.
SHANNON KARTZ - The only senior for the 1997-98 Women of Troy, Shannon Kartz will add depth at the 2-guard and a lot of hustle all over the court. She returns to the team after a year off spent concentrating on academics.
TASHARA CARTER - Tashara Carter, a 1997-98 freshman, will add depth at the small forward position but her excellent ball-handling skills may earn her time at guard as well. A fine athlete with the ability to shoot outside, Carter, who will challenge for starting time, will give the Women of Troy's offense another potent option. She scored 9 points in her USC debut against Long Beach State (11/25), adding 4 rebounds and 2 steals. As a prep senior in 1996-97, Carter was a 1997 USA Today Honorable Mention All-American, 1996-97 Street & Smith preseason All-American honorable mention, 1997 All-CIF Southern Section Division III Player of the Year and first-team selection and the 1997 South Bay Daily Breeze Player of the Year.
WHITNEY HOUSER - Whitney Houser, a forward, will add depth to the USC rebounding corps as a 1997-98 freshman. She opened her USC career with a flourish, scoring 14 points and grabbing 7 rebounds as a starting forward against Long Beach State (11/25). Houser, who prepped at Laguna Hills (Calif.) High, is a 2-time All-Pacific Coast League (1996-1997) first team selection and a 1997 All-CIF Division II second team pick. She helped lead Laguna Hills High to the 1997 state and Southern Section Division II titles.
ADRIA SNEED - Adria Sneed, a forward who transferred from Ventura (Calif.) College, adds another legitimate rebounding force to the Women of Troy ranks and will compete for time at the small and power forward positions as a 1997-98 junior. She scored 2 points in 4 minutes in USC’s opener against Long Beach State (11/25). Sneed, a 1996-97 J.C. All-State first team selection, averaged 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a 1997 sophomore at Ventura (Calif.) College, leading the Pirates to their second consecutive California J.C. State Championship. A 2-time Western State Conference (1996-1997) first team selection, she also was a 1996 J.C. All-State second team pick as a freshman.
JODI PARRIOTT - A versatile forward, 1997-98 junior Jodi Parriott is USC's second-leading returning scorer (8.5 points). After starting for most of the 1996-97 season, Parriott, who also create mismatches for defenses, was to start at either forward positions. She will, however, be forced to miss the first 2 months of the season while rehabilitating from summer knee surgery. She is expected back near the end of December. USC's fourth-leading scorer in 1997, she started at small forward every game during the Pac-10 season and became a valuable contributor offensively and defensively for USC. She finished tied for third on the team with 14 3-pointers, but her 35.0% on treys (14-of-40) was good for second. Her 46.4 field goal percentage was third on the team (of those that attempted at least 100 shots) and she finished fourth in steals (1.0) and blocked shots (0.6).
ERICA MASHIA - Erica Mashia, a redshirt sophomore who was forced to miss the entire 1996-97 season with a hip injury, hoped to back as a starting guard in 1997-98. But Mashia, who established herself as one of the top guards in the conference as a freshman in 1995-96, will be forced to miss this year as well with the same injury.
WALK-ON ADDED - There is one addition to the USC roster that is not in the media guide. Walk-on Rachel Whitlow, a 5-10 sophomore guard, has been added to the team. Whitlow prepped at Hueneme High School in Oxnard, Calif., where she was a 2-time All-Channel League performer. She will wear No. 21.
ROAD WARRIORS - After opening the season at home against Long Beach State, USC will play 7 of its next 8 games on the road, beginning with the UC Santa Barbara match-up on Dec. 4 and concluding with the Pac-10/Big East Challenge on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 against Seton Hall and Rutgers at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood. The only game on USC's home court is a Dec. 13 date with San Diego State at the Lyon Center.
SCHEDULE - USC will face 5 schools that were either ranked or received votes in the Preseason AP Top 25. They are Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Washington. Kansas, which USC may face in the Dial Soap Classic (Dec. 6-7), would be a sixth team.
GOBRECHT SAYS - "I hadn't won a game in a long time, so beating Long Beach State in the season opener felt really good. It doesn't matter who we play right now. Every game is important as we get better as a team. We're not at full strength yet, but when we get it going, we'll be tough."
NEXT YEAR - USC and the Sports Arena will play host to the NCAA Tournament West Regional next season (1999). Games will be played on March 20 and 22.