Dec. 22, 1997
USC Travels Across Town to Play in Pac-10/BIG EAST Challenge
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's basketball team (4-3), under first-year head coach Chris Gobrecht and coming off a second-place finish at the Boise State Christmas Classic, will travel west this weekend -- about 10 miles -- to Westwood to play in the Pac-10/Big East Challenge co-hosted by USC and UCLA. The Women of Troy will play Seton Hall (2-5) on Saturday (Dec. 27) at 5:30 p.m. and will take on Rutgers (4-3) on Sunday (Dec. 28) at 3:30 p.m. UCLA (3-4) will play Rutgers on Saturday and Seton Hall on Sunday. All games are at Pauley Pavilion.
RANKINGS -- USC, UCLA, Seton Hall and Rutgers are not ranked.
SETON HALL -- The Pirates, under 13th-year coach Phyllis Mangina, are led by junior center Danielle Golay, who leads the team in scoring (14.4) and rebounding (6.4). Senior guard Sandy Mitchell is scoring 12.3 points per game and sophomore forward Sarah Fisher is chipping in with 12.0 per game. The Pirates have played 1 Pac-10 team so far, falling to Oregon State, 79-54.
RUTGERS -- C. Vivian Stringer is in her third season with the Scarlet Knights and 26th as a head coach. Her squad this season is led by its backcourt of freshman Natasha Pointer and Tomora Young, who account for the bulk of the team's offensive production. Young is Rutgers' leading scorer at 14.4 points per game and Pointer is averaging 13.3. Pointer has a team-high 24 steals and sophomore Shawnetta Stewart leads the Scarlet Knights in rebounds (5.3). Rutgers won 4 of its first 5 games.PROBABLE STARTERS:
USC (4-3) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 40 Tiffany Washington F 6-2 So. 13.0 7.7 22 Tashara Carter F 6-0 Fr. 5.9 4.4 30 Adrain Williams C 6-4 Jr. 11.4 7.0 10 Kim Clark G 5-7 So. 8.6 2.5 32 Kristin Clark G 5-7 Jr. 12.3 3.3** Seton Hall (2-5) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 35 Sarah Fisher F 5-11 So. 12.0 5.9 44 Danielle Davis F 6-2 Jr. 4.9 3.7 43 Danielle Golay C 6-2 Jr. 14.4 6.4 24 Sandy Mitchell G 5-6 Sr. 12.3 4.4 11 Christine Koren G 5-6 Jr. 4.0 6.6* Rutgers (4-3) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 13 LaTana Lillard F 5-10 So. 4.4 1.8 4 Jen Clemente F 6-2 Jr. 2.3 3.1 5 Coko Eggleston C 6-2 So. 2.8 2.3 43 Natasha Pointer G 5-6 Fr. 13.3 3.3 23 Tomora Young G 5-10 Jr. 14.4 4.4 *assist average **steals average
LAST WEEK -- USC took second place in the Boise State Christmas Classic (Dec. 20-21), defeating Cal State Northridge, 67-60, in the opening round but falling to Boise State, 80-70, in the championship game. Sophomore forward Tiffany Washington and sophomore guard Kim Clark posted career-high efforts with 21 and 16 points, respectively, against Boise State, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Broncos' 38-26 rebounding edge. USC actually led, 56-51, with 10:16 to play, but Boise State used a 12-2 run to take over the game, never trailing again.
Against Northridge, junior center Adrain Williams posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, both season highs, and Washington scored 16 points and had 9 rebounds. The game was tight throughout and no team had more than a 4-point lead at any point in the first half, which ended tied, 34-34. The Matadors opened the second half with a 12-4 run and led 46-38 with 13:47 to play. But USC outscored Northridge, 13-2, in the next 4 minutes to reclaim the lead. With the game tied at 57-57 with 6:17 to go, USC held Northridge to only 3 points the rest of the way to ice the win.
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. Through 7 games, the twins each have 8 3-pointers.
Adrain Williams and Tiffany Washington earned All-Tournament honors at the Boise State Christmas Classic. Kristin Clark earned Dial Soap Classic All-Tournament honors in Lawrence, Kan.
USC Coach Chris Gobrecht's defensive emphasis is already paying dividends. USC's scoring defense (allowing only 61.9 points per game) is second in the Pac-10. In fact, USC has allowed more than 61 points only 2 times. Also, USC has 3 players in the top 10 in steals average in the conference with Kristin Clark leading the way at 3.3 per game USC has had less turnovers than its opponent in each of its first 7 games.
INJURY BUG -- 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 was reserve in USC's first 5 games, finally starting both games at the Boise State Christmas Classic (12/20-21).
Parriott hasn't played since having knee surgery during the summer and won't be available until at least January. 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 participating with the basketball team. One of the top women's soccer players on the West Coast, Clark finished soccer season in November, missing almost all of the preseason. 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 was able to play at the Boise State Christmas Classic.
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 336-206 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 --
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 11 points and 4 steals against Cal State Northridge (12/20). 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.
ADRAIN WILLIAMS -- Adrain Williams, a junior center, is seeing 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 has been most valuable to the Women of Troy in the paint where her rebounding and scoring are helping 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 started both games at the Boise State Christmas Classic, earning All-Tournament honors. She scored a combined 32 points and had 19 rebounds, including a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds against Cal State Northridge (12/20), playing a career-high 32 minutes. Williams is USC's third-leading scorer (11.4) and second-leading rebounder (7.0).
She scored 17 points and had 7 rebounds against Coppin State (12/7) in the Dial Soap Classic. 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 --
Washington 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.
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. Clark, who has started 5 times this season, posted a career-high 16 points against Boise State (12/21), making 3-of-7 3-point attempts and getting 4 steals. Clark is averaging 8.6 points per game and has made 8-of-19 3-point attempts on the season. She scored 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 had a career-high 5 steals vs. Cal State Northridge (12/20). 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. Clark played in 17 games on the season, averaging 8.4 minutes per game. A 2-sport athlete, Clark was a third team All-American and garnered All-Pac-10 and All-West Region first-team honors as a midfielder on the USC soccer team 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 has 13 overall. She missed the San Diego State game while resting a sore shoulder injured against Coppin State but played in both games at the Boise State Christmas Classic, scoring a combined 12 points, including 8-of-8 from the foul line. 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.
WHITNEY HOUSER -- Whitney Houser has been a pleasant surprise as a 1997-98 freshman forward. A starter in USC's first 5 games, she is USC's fifth-leading scorer (8.0) and is averaging 4.1 rebounds per game. She has made 8-of-9 free throws on the year. 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). She had a combined 13 points at the Boise State Christmas Classic. 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 50 minutes in USC's first 7 games and has 2 points.
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 34 minutes of action in 5 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 3 games, scoring 2 points in 6 minutes. She wears No. 21.
ROAD WARRIORS -- After opening the season at home against Long Beach State, USC is in the midst of playing 7 of 8 games on the road. The 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.