Dec. 15, 1997
USC Heads to Great Northwest
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's basketball team (3-2), under first-year head coach Chris Gobrecht and coming off a non-conference win over San Diego State, prepares for its second tournament in 3 weeks as the Women of Troy head to Idaho for the Boise State Tournament. USC will take on local rival Cal State Northridge (2-5) in the first round on Saturday (Dec. 20) at 5 p.m. and will play either Boise State (2-6) or Virginia Commonwealth (4-3) on Sunday (Dec. 21) at either 1 or 3 p.m. All times are MST.
RANKINGS -- USC, Cal State Northridge, Boise State and Virginia Commonwealth are not ranked.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE -- The Matadors, under third-year coach Michael Abraham, have lost 5 of their first 7, but all have been closely contested games. Freshman guard Edniesha Curry leads Northridge with averages of 18.0 points and 3.1 steals per game and has made 25-of-56 3-point attempts (.446). Senior forward Tannea Nelson is averaging 8.3 points per game and a team-high 4.9 rebounds per game. Like the Women of Troy, the Matadors have had their troubles on the boards and have been outrebounded by an average of 45.3 to 34.0.
BOISE STATE/VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH -- The Broncos, under second-year coach Trisha Stevens, have opened 2-6. Senior guard Kellie Lewis leads Boise State with 14.3 points per game and senior forward Kim Brydges is averaging a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game. Virginia Commonwealth, under fourth-year coach David Glass, has opened 4-3. They are led by senior forward Chevette Waller's 14.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, both team highs.
LAST WEEK -- Behind 15-point efforts from both halves of USC's twin-sister combination of Kristin and Kim Clark, USC defeated San Diego State, 62-51, on Saturday. For Kim Clark, her 15 points were a career high and sister Kristin added 6 steals and 4 assists. Sophomore forward Tiffany Washington had 12 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. USC led 26-24 at the half and never trailed the rest of the way.
USC NOTES -- When identical twin sisters Kristin and Kim Clark took the court for the opening tip against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 4, it marked the first time the pair started together in a Women of Troy lineup. The last time USC had twin sisters start together was April 1, 1984, when Pam and Paula McGee started together in the NCAA Championship game . . . Kristin Clark earned Dial Soap Classic All-Tournament honors in Lawrence, Kan. She averaged 14.0 points and 4.0 assists on the weekend . . . USC Coach Chris Gobrecht's defensive emphasis is already paying dividends. USC's scoring defense (allowing only 58.6 points per game) is tops in the Pac-10. Also, USC has 4 players in the top 10 in steals average in the conference with Kristin Clark leading the way at 3.40 per game . . . 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 has been a reserve in USC's first 5 games. Parriott hasn't played since having knee surgery during the summer and won't be available until at least the end of December. She recently suffered a hand injury as well but it is not expected to keep her out longer than her knee injury. 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. Sister Kim, a 2-sport athlete and a sophomore guard, only recently began practicing with the basketball team. One of the top women's soccer players on the West Coast, Clark finished soccer season in November and is 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. Most recently, sophomore guard Kiyoko Miller had to miss the San Diego State game because of a shoulder injury suffered against Coppin State, but she should be available for the Boise State Tournament.
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 335-205 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-Montgomery (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 scorer (13.4), 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. She currently leads the Pac-10 in steals at 3.40 per game. Clark earned All-Tournament honors at the Dial Soap Classic at Lawrence, Kan., scoring a combined 28 points and dishing out 8 assists, including 15 against Coppin State (12/7). She opened the USC season against Long Beach State (11/25) by scoring a game-high 15 points to go along with 6 assists and 5 steals. She had 15 points again vs. San Diego State (12/13) to go along with 6 steals. She had 9 points against UC Santa Barbara (12/4). 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, is expected to 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. She is close to full strength but hasn't started a game yet. Williams is USC's leading shot blocker (1.2), fourth-leading scorer (9.6) and second-leading rebounder (6.0) despite averaging only 21.2 minutes per game. She scored a game-high 17 points and had 7 rebounds against Coppin State (12/7) in the Dial Soap Classic, playing a season-high 30 minutes. In USC's opener against Long Beach State (11/25), Williams scored 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. She had 10 points and 6 rebounds against Grambling State (12/6). 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.
TIFFANY WASHINGTON -- One of the top young rebounders in the Pac-10, 1997-98 sophomore forward Tiffany Washington has seen her role increase as a force in the paint at both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. She is USC's leading rebounder (7.8) and also is averaging 10.8 points per game, second best on the team. Washington, who has started every game, had her first double-double of the season against Grambling State (12/6) in the Dial Soap Classic, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. She had her second double-double against San Diego State (12/13) with 12 points and 10 rebounds. She made her first career start against Long Beach State (11/25), scoring 12 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and getting a career-high 6 steals. She also had 12 points at UC Santa Barbara (12/4). 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.
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 has seen her time increase this year. She scored a career-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting vs. San Diego State (12/13). In USC's season-opener against Long Beach State (11/25), she scored 12 points and followed that by making her first career start at UC Santa Barbara (12/4). She scored 11 points and made 3-of-3 3-point attempts against Grambling State (12/6). She has made 5-of-9 3-point attempts in the young season. 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 then-career high with 11 points vs. California (1/10) on 5-of-6 shooting in only 8 minutes. A 2-sport athlete, Clark was an All-Pac-10 and All-West Region 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.
KIYOKO MILLER -- A fine outside shooter and all-around player, Kiyoko Miller has seen 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 8 points. Starting again at UC Santa Barbara (12/4), she scored a career-high 10 points and had 4 steals. She had a career-high 5 steals vs. Coppin State (12/7) and is tied for the team lead with 11. She missed the San Diego State game while resting a sore shoulder injured against Coppin State but she should be back for this week's action. 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).
WHITNEY HOUSER -- Whitney Houser has been a pleasant surprise as a 1997-98 freshman forward. As a starter in each of USC's 5 games, she is USC's third-leading scorer (10.0) and is averaging 4.4 rebounds per game, fourth on the team. She is also only 1 of 2 Women of Troy players making more than half of her shots (21-of-40, .525) and she has made 8-of-9 free throws. 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). She followed that by scoring 12 points at UC Santa Barbara (12/4). Against Coppin State (12/7), she tied her season high with 14 points and also had 7 boards. 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.
TASHARA CARTER -- Tashara Carter, a 1997-98 freshman, has seen time right away at the small forward position but her excellent ball-handling skills have earned her time at guard as well. A fine athlete with the ability to shoot outside, Carter, who has started 3 games, gives the Women of Troy's offense another option. She scored 9 points in her USC debut against Long Beach State (11/25), adding 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Coming off the bench at UC Santa Barbara (12/4), Carter scored 9 points again and had a team-high 6 rebounds. She had 8 points and 5 assists against San Diego State (12/13). 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.
SHANNON KARTZ -- The only senior for the 1997-98 Women of Troy, Shannon Kartz adds 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. Kartz started the second game of her career against Coppin State (12/7), but didn't score. She has played 38 minutes in USC's first 5 games but is still pointless.
ADRIA SNEED -- Adria Sneed, who transferred from Ventura (Calif.) College, has seen time at the small and power forward positions as a 1997-98 junior. She has 6 points and 7 rebounds in 31 minutes of action in 4 games. 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. She recently suffered a hand injury as well, but it is not expected to keep her out longer than the knee injury. 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 has appeared in 2 games, scoring 2 points in 5 minutes. She wears No. 21.
ROAD WARRIORS -- After opening the season at home against Long Beach State, USC is in the middle of playing 7 of 8 games on the road. Last Saturday's home game against San Diego State on Dec. 13 at the Lyon Center was USC's only game on campus between the Dec. 4 game at UC Santa Barbara and the Pac-10 season-opener against Arizona State on Jan. 2.
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.
CONGRATULATIONS -- USC assistant coach Erika Lang was married over Thanksgiving weekend to Larry Montgomery. Her new surname is Lang-Montgomery.
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.