Dec. 31, 1997
USC Hosts Arizona and ASU to Open Pac-10 Conference Season
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's basketball team (5-4), under first-year head coach Chris Gobrecht and coming off a split at the Pac-10/Big East Challenge last weekend in Westwood, opens the Pacific-10 Conference season this weekend at home against Arizona State and Arizona. The Women of Troy host the Sun Devils (4-5) on Friday (Jan. 2) at 7 p.m. and the Wildcats (6-1) on Sunday (Jan. 4) at 2 p.m. Both games are at the Lyon Center. Arizona plays Louisiana Tech today.
TELEVISION -- The Arizona game on Jan. 4 will be televised by FOX Sports West 2 on a tape-delay basis. The game will air later that day at 6 p.m. Tom Kelly and Michael Cooper will call the action.
RANKINGS -- Arizona is No. 8 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and No. 10 in the AP poll. USC and Arizona State are not ranked.
ARIZONA STATE -- The Sun Devils, under second-year coach Charli Turner Thorne, are coming off a win over Oklahoma in its last non-conference game. Arizona State is led by senior guard Stephanie Freeman, who is averaging a team-high 16.1 points and 3.0 steals per game. Sophomore center Rachel Holt leads the Sun Devils with 4.9 rebounds per game and she is scoring 9.0 points per game as well. USC is 36-3 against Arizona State since 1978 and has won 8 in a row. In last season's meeting at the Lyon Center, USC downed Arizona State, 77-63, on Feb. 14. The last time the Women of Troy lost to the Sun Devils in Los Angeles was March, 11, 1993.
ARIZONA -- The Wildcats, under seventh-year coach Joan Bonvicini, are one of the top teams in the Pac-10. The Wildcats are led by senior forward Adia Barnes, who is a averaging a team-high 21.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior center Marte Alexander is scoring at a 17.1 clip. Sophomore guard Lisa Griffith and junior guard Monika Crank are averaging 8.3 and 7.4 points, respectively. USC holds a 33-5 lead against Arizona since 1978, but the Wildcats have won 3 of the last 4. The teams split last year, with USC winning in Tucson and the Arizona winning in Los Angeles.
LAST WEEK -- USC split a pair of games at the Pac-10/Big East Challenge last weekend (Dec. 27-28) at UCLA. The Women of Troy downed Seton Hall, 78-66, but fell to Rutgers, 77-59. Kristin Clark scored a career-high 30 points in the win over the Pirates, adding 6 steals to go along with her 12-of-19 performance from the field. Tashara Carter added a season-high 11 points and 5 steals. USC enjoyed a double-digit lead for much of the first half and led at halftime, 37-25. The Pirates came back, however, and went up 53-50 with 9:31 left to play. USC stormed back with a 12-2 run and never led by less than 3 points the rest of the way. The Women of Troy trailed wire-to-wire against the Scarlet Knights. Clark led USC with 16 points and Whitney Houser had a season-high 15 points. USC was as close as 22-17 in the first half but went into the break down, 36-23, and never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way. Forward Jodi Parriott, out with a knee injury through USC's first 8 games, made her season debut against Rutgers, connecting on a 3-pointer on her first attempt of the year. She played 7 minutes, making 1-of-2 3-pointers.
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. Adrain Williams and Tiffany Washington earned All-Tournament honors at the Boise State Christmas Classic. Kristin Clark earned both Dial Soap Classic and Pac-10/Big East Challenge All-Tournament honors . . . USC Coach Chris Gobrecht's defensive emphasis is already paying dividends. USC's scoring defense (allowing only 64.0 points per game) is fourth in the Pac-10. 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 8 of its first 9 games . . . Of USC's 11 players, 8 have started at least once. Kristin Clark is the only player who has started every game.
MISSING IN ACTION -- 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 a reserve in USC's first 5 games, finally starting both games at the Boise State Christmas Classic (Dec. 20-21). Parriott hadn't played since having knee surgery during the summer and didn't make her first appearance until Dec. 28 when she played 7 minutes against Rutgers.
She recently suffered a hand injury as well but it is not severe enough to keep her out of action. 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, didn't begin participating with the basketball team until the end of the preseason. One of the top women's soccer players on the West Coast, Clark didn't finish soccer season until November. Ironically, it was Kim, in her first basketball practice back, who broke Kristin's nose during a scrimmage. Kim recently suffered a back injury at Boise State and missed both games of the Pac-10/Big East Challenge, but she is expected to play this weekend. Fellow 2-sport athlete Antoinette Polk, a starter on the 1997 USC women's volleyball team who was a reserve guard last year, has decided to give up basketball to concentrate on volleyball. Sophomore guard Kiyoko Miller had to miss the San Diego State game because of a shoulder injury suffered against Coppin State, but has been able to play since then. Most recently, sophomore forward Tiffany Washington suffered an ankle sprain against Rutgers in USC's last game, but should be available this weekend.
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 337-207 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) is in her second year as a starting guard for the Women of Troy. A solid ball-handler and outside shooter who is USC's leading scorer (14.7), 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 can cause havoc in the backcourt. She currently leads the Pac-10 in steals at 3.3 per game. Clark earned All-Tournament honors at both the Dial Soap Classic at Lawrence, Kan. and at the Pac-10/Big East Challenge at UCLA. She scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-19 field goals and had 6 steals against Seton Hall (12/27). At Kansas, she scored a combined 28 points and dished out 8 assists, scoring 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 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 set a USC record by making 6-of-7 3-pointers against Washington State (3/6).
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 has started the last 4 games.
She earned All-Tournament honors at the Boise State Christmas Classic. 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). Williams is USC's top shot-blocker (1.0), second-leading rebounder (6.1) and the third-leading scorer (10.0). 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). She posted the best game of her USC career against Colorado State (12/13) with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
JODI PARRIOTT -- A versatile forward, 1997-98 junior Jodi Parriott made her season debut in USC's last game against Rutgers (12/29), playing 7 minutes, making 1-of-2 shots (both 3-pointers) and getting a pair of steals. After starting for most of the 1996-97 season, Parriott, who creates mismatches for defenses, was to start at either forward positions in 1997-98. She was forced to miss the first 2 months of the season while rehabilitating from summer knee surgery. She recently suffered a hand injury as well, but she is still able to play. 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).
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 second-leading scorer (10.9) and leading rebounder (6.6), starting 8 of 9 games. Washington earned All-Tournament honors at the Boise State Christmas Classic, scoring a combined 37 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Against the Broncos in the tournament finale (12/21), she posted a career-high 21 points, which followed a 16-point, 9-rebound effort against Cal State Northridge (12/20). 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.
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, who missed USC's last 2 games with a sore back but is expected to play this weekend, 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, and has started 5 times this season. 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 18 overall. She had 9 points and 5 steals against Seton Hall (12/27). She missed the San Diego State game while resting a sore shoulder injured against Coppin State but has played since. At the Boise State Christmas Classic, she scored a combined 12 points, including 8-of-8 from the foul line. In fact, Miller made 10 free throws in a row at one point this season. 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 positions.
WHITNEY HOUSER -- Whitney Houser has been a pleasant surprise as a 1997-98 freshman forward. A 6-time starter already, she is USC's fourth-leading scorer (8.8) and is averaging 4.9 rebounds per game. She posted her first career double-double with season highs in points (15) and rebounds (10) against Rutgers (12/28), making 6-of-7 shots. 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 had 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 7 games, gives the Women of Troy's offense another option. She had a season-high 11 points against Seton Hall (12/27) and had 5 steals. 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 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 86 minutes in 8 games, averaging 1.0 points per game.
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 saw her most action of the season at the Pac-10/Big East Challenge in Westwood, scoring 8 points against Rutgers (12/28) and 6 against Seton Hall (12/27). She is averaging 2.9 points per game in 7 appearances. 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.
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 just finished a stretch 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 Nov. 25 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.