Women's Hoops Heads to Westwood
Trojans prepare for rematch with Bruins.
Feb. 17, 1998
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's basketball team (10-12 overall, 5-8 in the Pacific-10 Conference), under first-year head coach Chris Gobrecht and coming off a split in the Bay Area, heads to Westwood to take on UCLA (15-7, 10-3) on Saturday (Feb. 21) at 2 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. Despite coming off of a 20-9 season, the USC team Gobrecht inherited lost a deep senior class and has suffered through a tremendous amount of injuries this season. In spite of the problems, Gobrecht has the shorthanded Women of Troy among the league's top defensive teams in her first year back in the Pac-10. USC has split its last 8 games.
ON THE AIR -- The USC-UCLA game will be televised by FOX Sports West 2 on a tape-delay basis. It will air at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the radio on KIEV-AM (870).
RANKINGS -- Neither USC or UCLA are ranked.
UCLA -- The Bruins, under fifth-year coach Kathy Olivier, have won 6 of their last 7 games and 10 of their last 12, with both losses coming to Stanford. UCLA earned a split in its last weekend, losing to Stanford, 105-80, and beating California, 86-54. Sophomore forward Maylana Martin leads UCLA in both scoring (19.5) and rebounding (7.9). Sophomore center Janae Hubbard is averaging 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. UCLA is the second-best scoring team in the conference (80.1) and leads the league in blocked shots (3.3). The Bruins, however, are also giving up the most points in the Pac-10 (73.5). USC swept the season series from UCLA last year and has won 11 of the last 13 meetings. The Women of Troy, who own a 28-23 lead in the series, last lost to the Bruins in Westwood on Feb. 24, 1996, 80-64.
PROBABLE STARTERS: USC (10-12, 5-8) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 40 Tiffany Washington F 6-2 So. 9.1 6.1 22 Tashara Carter F 6-0 Fr. 7.3 5.1 30 Adrain Williams C 6-4 Jr. 11.4 6.7 10 Kim Clark G 5-7 So. 10.0 2.1** 32 Kristin Clark G 5-7 Jr. 15.6 2.8** UCLA (15-7, 10-3) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 5 Marie Philman F 6-0 So. 10.0 4.0 13 Maylana Martin F 6-3 So. 19.5 7.9 34 Janae Hubbard C 6-4 So. 10.3 5.0 30 Tawana Grimes G 5-9 Sr. 6.2 3.0 10 Erica Gomez G 5-9 So. 6.9 5.9* *assist average **steals average
USC'S FIRST 1998 MEETING WITH UCLA -- Undermanned and playing through constant foul trouble, USC battled UCLA 40 minutes but fell just short in the final seconds, losing 68-64 on Jan. 23 at the Lyon Center. Junior guard Kristin Clark led all scorers with 25 points, including 5 3-pointers on a school-record tying 13 attempts, but it wasn't enough to overcome UCLA's depth. The Bruins were led by 17 points from Marie Philman and got 15 from Janae Hubbard. The Women of Troy led 38-30 at halftime and by as many as 10 early in the second half, but the Bruins fought back and eventually took a 48-47 lead with 10:45 remaining on a pair of Philman free throws. UCLA went on to lead by as many as 5 points, until Clark hit a trey with 5:05 left to give USC its last lead, 59-58. USC, which had 2 of its 8 players foul out, had a final chance to send the game into overtime, but a Clark 3-point attempt with 7 seconds left hit long off the back of the rim. It was UCLA's first win at USC since 1991.
LAST WEEK -- USC earned a split last week in the Bay Area, beating California, 62-50, on Feb. 12, before falling to Stanford, 91-63, on Feb. 14. Against the Bears, sophomore guard Kim Clark scored a game-high 16 points, tying her career high, to go with 4 assists and 3 steals. Junior center Adrain Williams had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Kristin Clark had 10 points, 4 steals and 3 assists. USC shot just 34.6 percent, but the Golden Bears were only slightly better at 36.2 percent. Cal also had a big rebounding edge, 47-35, but committed more turnovers, 28-20. The Women of Troy enjoyed an advantage at the foul line, making 20-of-31 (.645) to the Bears' 8-of-17 (.471). USC survived a drought in the second half, scoring only 1 point in a span of almost 9 minutes. USC had a 1-point lead with 3:18 left, and Williams hit a jumper, Kristin Clark hit a 3-pointer and Kim Clark made 3-of-4 free throws to give USC a 55-46 lead with 1:49 left. Kristin Clark led USC against Stanford, scoring a team-high 16 points, including 4 3-pointers, but it wasn't enough to topple the deep Cardinal. The Women of Troy fought Stanford to a draw for much of the first half. USC led 11-4 early in the game and still led as late as 8:13 in the first half at 26-25. Troy was only down, 34-33, with 3:14 to play in the first half when Stanford went on a 12-1 run to take a 46-34 halftime lead. Stanford used a 9-0 run to open the second half, but USC maintained striking distance, closing to within 64-49 with 11:07 to play. Stanford, however, scored 6 straight points and never led by less than 19 the rest of the way.
TURNED OVER -- USC's turnovers are down from a year ago as it is averaging 18.5 turnovers, compared to 21.2 last season. USC is also forcing more turnovers. Opponents are averaging 24.9 this year compared to 22.7 last year. USC has had less turnovers than its opponents in 18 of 22 games. USC is 10-8 in games when it has less turnovers than its opponents and 0-4 when it has more. On the year, USC has 141 less turnovers than its opponents (407-548).
BEEN CAUGHT STEALING -- As a team, USC is averaging 11.5 steals per game, 1.3 better than the 1996-97 average of 10.2. Kristin Clark leads USC with 2.8 steals per game, while Kim Clark is averaging 2.1, Adrain Williams is averaging 1.9 and Tashara Carter 1.8. Overall, USC has 253 steals compared to 181 for its opposition.
IN OUR DEFENSE -- USC Coach Chris Gobrecht's defensive emphasis is paying big dividends. USC's turnover margin (6.4) leads the league, its scoring defense is third (66.1) and its team steals (11.5) are fourth.
WHERE's the 3-point line? -- The Women of Troy have shackled opponents from long range. USC is allowing only 2.1 makes from 3-point land in 6.5 attempts per game. Last season, opponents averaged 4.9 makes in 15.9 attempts. In fact, USC's Kristin Clark is 41-of-139 from 3-point land compared to 45-of-142 for USC's opponents. In the Pac-10, Clark has 28 treys to USC's opponents' 29.
Clark climbing the RECORD ladder -- USC junior guard Kristin Clark's 41 treys this season equal the total she had all of last year, albeit with 25 more attempts. She needs 16 3-pointers in 5 games to break USC's all-time season record, held by Tammy Story with 56 in 1991. Clark needs only 4 to pass second-place Karon Howell, who had 44 in 1988. For her career, Clark is USC's third all-time leading 3-point shooter wtih 89 makes. She trails only Jody Anton (103) and Story (110). Her 139 3-point attempts on the season leave her only 5 short of breaking Story's record 143 in the 1991 season.
At the starting LINE -- Of USC's 11 players, 9 have started at least once. Kristin Clark is the only player who has started every game and she has started USC's last 51 games. In fact, because of injuries and other reasons, USC Coach Chris Gobrecht has been forced to use 10 different starting lineups in 22 games, although the lineup of guards Clark and Kiyoko Miller, forwards Tashara Carter and Tiffany Washington and center Adrain Williams has started 10 of the last 15 games. The only USC players not to have made a start this year are Jodi Parriott, who is out for the year after playing in only 2 games, and walk-on Rachel Whitlow, who has played in only 3 games.
FIND THE MAP HOME -- USC is 2-6 on the road so far this year. USC is also 3-2 at neutral sites (5-8 overall) when away from USC. After opening the Pac-10 season with 5 of its first 7 games at home at the Lyon Center, USC will now finish with 5 of its last 7 on the road.
WONDER TWINS -- 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. The Clarks have started together six times, most recently at Stanford (2/14) and USC is 3-3 in those games. The Clarks' highest combined scoring output is 31 points, against Oregon State (2/6) when Kim had 16 and Kristin had 15.
Season finishes -- USC needs 4 wins in its final 5 games to avoid its sixth losing season in the program's history (beginning when scholarships were first given out in 1976-77). USC has finished above .500 16 times. The Women of Troy need 3 wins in its final 5 games to avoid its lowest win total since earning only 8 wins under Marianne Stanley in the 1989-90 season. USC's last losing season came in 1995-96 when the Women of Troy finished 13-14 under Fred Williams. USC has had only 3 losing seasons in the last 19 years.
PLAQUES AND SUCH -- 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.
Wipe away that streak -- USC's loss to Stanford on Jan. 16 gave it a 4-game losing streak and put the Women of Troy in danger of losing its fifth in a row for the first time since dropping 7 straight in the 1989-90 season. Fortunately, USC downed Marianne Stanley-coached California on Jan. 18, snapping the streak. Interestingly, it was Stanley, in her first season as the coach of USC, who was at the helm during the 7-game loss streak, the worst in school history. The Women of Troy's 4-game Pac-10 loss streak was actually a dubious first. USC had lost 4 consecutive Pac-10 games before, but never in the same season. The last time USC lost 4 in a row at any time in the Pac-10 came in the last 2 games of the 1995 Pac-10 schedule and the first 2 games of the 1996 conference season. USC has never lost 5 Pac-10 games in a row.
COACH DOWN! -- USC's injury situation in 1997-98 has been severe. How severe? Well, not even Women of Troy coaches have been exempt. First-year assistant coach Stacy McIntyre, a former star at Kentucky, was scrimmaging in practice on Jan. 15 when she suffered a broken nose under the boards on a play with USC freshman forward Tashara Carter.
JUICY LITTLE TIDBITS -- USC's .278 field goal percentage (20-of-72) in its win at Washington State (1/29) marked the Women of Troy's worst shooting effort ever in a victory. The previous worst was in a 47-45 win at Oregon (1/8/94) when USC shot .279 (19-of-68). In addition, the combined 36-point first-half total (18-18) from the Wazzou game is the lowest in school history. USC's 57-point win total against Washington State was also its lowest since beating UCLA, 56-55, on Feb. 4, 1995 . . . USC has had 5 different players reach double figures in rebounds in a game (Tiffany Washington, Adrain Williams, Whitney Houser, Tashara Carter and Adria Sneed), but none of them had more than 10 until the second Washington State game when Williams had 12. Washington has also eclipsed the barrier with 11 in the second Oregon game . . . USC has held opponents to 61 or less points 10 times this season . . . A sign of USC's injuries affecting its depth shows up in the amount of times Women of Troy players have fouled out this season. USC players have fouled out 16 times in 22 games, compared to only 8 times all of last season . . . In USC's first 13 Pac-10 games, USC Coach Chris Gobrecht has used 9 players twice, 8 players 8 times and 7 players 3 times . . . USC has yet to make more than 50 percent of its field goals in a game this year. Its high is .473 in a loss to Boise State (12/21) . . . Kristin Clark's 13 3-point attempts vs. UCLA (1/23) tied a USC record held by Karon Howell (2/3/89 vs. Oregon) . . . Clark has led USC in scoring in 14 of 22 games . . . Oregon State's 30 fouls against USC (2/6) tied for the fourth-most opponent fouls ever in a game. USC's reserves scored 52 of its 80 points in the win over Oregon State . . . USC's 19 rebounds against Stanford (2/14) were an all-time low for a game. The previous low was 20 against San Diego State on Dec. 3, 1990.
THE WALKING WOUNDED -- 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 severe injury problems. 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). She has started in 15 of the last 17 games. Parriott had knee surgery in July, missing all of the preseason. She saw a few minutes in 2 games this season, against Rutgers (Dec. 28) and Arizona State (Jan. 2), but the knee is still bothering her and she will miss the remainder of the season. Mashia, who missed all of last season with a hip injury, will miss the 1997-98 season as well with the same injury. 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. She is also playing with a knee sprain. Sister Kim Clark, a 2-sport athlete and a sophomore guard, started 5 of USC's first 7 games before a back injury kept her out of 11 straight games. She was finally cleared to play and ended 6 weeks of inactivity by playing against the Oregon schools and has played in the last 4 games. Clark didn't even begin participating with the basketball team until the beginning of the regular season. 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. Fellow 2-sport athlete Antoinette Polk, a starter on the 1997 USC women's volleyball team who was the 1997 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, was a reserve guard last year. She has decided, however, 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. She reaggravated the injury at Washington but has been able to play through the pain. Freshman forward Whitney Houser bruised her back in the second half of the Oregon game and only played 8 minutes, but has been able to play since. Freshman forward Tashara Carter suffered a sprained toe at Washington State, but, with the aid of a splint, started at Washington and scored a career-high 17 points. The latest victim is sophomore forward Tiffany Washington, who earlier this year suffered an ankle sprain against Rutgers and resprained the same ankle at Oregon State. Against Oregon (2/8), Washington collided with Oregon freshman Lindsey Dion, head-to-head. Washington suffered a 2-inch long gash above her right eyebrow that required 11 stitches. She came back to play 14 minutes at California and then started against Stanford.
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 342-215 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 (15.6), 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 leads USC in steals at 2.8 per game and has had at least 2 steals in 18 of 22 games. Clark, who has scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games, 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). Clark had 25 points against UCLA (1/23), including 5 treys out of a school-record tying 13 attempts. She had 22 points, a career-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals against Arizona (1/4). She matched her career high of 8 rebounds and had 18 points at Washington State (1/29). She had 20 points vs. Stanford (1/16), 19 points at Oregon (1/8), 18 points at Washington (1/31) and 17 points and 5 steals vs. California (1/18). She had 16 points and a season-high 7 assists vs. Stanford. She has had at least 4 steals in a game 8 times and has had at least 3 3-pointers 6 times. 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 last season.
ADRAIN WILLIAMS -- Adrain Williams, a junior center, has seen 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 take up much of the slack left by departed seniors Tina Thompson and Michelle Campbell. She spent all of the preseason recovering from a foot injury, but has started 15 of the last 17 games. Williams, who has 5 double-doubles this year, is USC's top shot-blocker (0.7) and rebounder (6.7) and the second-leading scorer (11.4). Coming off the bench vs. Oregon State (2/6), she scored a career-high 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. She followed that with 19 points vs. Oregon (2/8) in a career-high 37 minutes. 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). She had her second double-double vs. California (1/18) with 16 points and 10 rebounds and her third at Washington State (1/29) with 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds. She scored 17 points and had 7 rebounds against Coppin State (12/7) in the Dial Soap Classic and had 17 points and 3 steals at Oregon State (1/10). She had 13 points and 10 rebounds at California (2/12). In USC's opener against Long Beach State (11/25), Williams scored 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. She had 12 points vs. Arizona (1/4) and had 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and a career-high 6 steals vs. Arizona State (1/2). 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).
KIM CLARK -- A scrappy player who brings darting quickness and aggressive play to every game, 1997-98 sophomore guard Kim Clark (identical twin of USC guard Kristin Clark) made her first appearance after an 11-game layoff against Oregon State (2/6). She had missed 6 weeks with a back injury, but returned in fine style, tying her career high in points with 16 in 22 minutes off the bench. She returned to the starting lineup against Stanford and had 11 points and 2 steals. Clark was clearly a good fit in Coach Chris Gobrecht's defense-oriented style of play from the beginning and saw her time increase this year. But after starting 5 of USC's first 7 games, she suffered a back injury at Boise State (12/21). She had 16 points against Boise State (12/21) in the game in which she was injured, making 3-of-7 3-point attempts and getting 4 steals. She is averaging 10.0 points per game, third best on the team, and has made 13-pf-35 3-point attempts. She had 16 points for the third time this season at California (2/12). 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) and matched that vs. Oregon (2/8). 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 nation's top players.
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 fourth-leading scorer (9.1) and is second in rebounds (6.1), starting 19 of 22 games despite nursing a sprained ankle she aggravated against both Rutgers (12/28) and Oregon State (1/10). Washington had 12 points and tied a career high with 11 rebounds vs. Oregon (2/8) for her third double-double. She had to leave the game with less than a minute to play, however, after she collided head-to-head with Oregon freshman Lindsey Dion. Washington suffered almost a 2-inch gash above her right eyebrow that required 11 stitches. She came back to play 14 minutes at California (2/12). 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). At Oregon (1/8), she scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. 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. At Washington State (1/29), she had 8 points and 10 rebounds. 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.
KIYOKO MILLER -- A fine outside shooter and all-around player, Kiyoko Miller has seen time at both guard positions as a 1997-98 sophomore, starting in 17 of her 21 games. Against Arizona State (1/2), Miller posted career highs in points (12), field goals (6), assists (5) and minutes (38). She is averaging 7.0 points per game and is 7-of-18 from 3-point land. At Washington (1/31), she scored 11 points and had 3 steals. At UC Santa Barbara (12/4), she scored 10 points and had 4 steals and she had 10 again at Stanford (2/14). She had a career-high 5 steals vs. Coppin State (12/7) and has 31 overall. At Oregon State (1/10), she had a career-high 6 rebounds and 3 steals. She had 9 points and 5 steals against Seton Hall (12/27). She missed the San Diego State game (12/13) while resting a sore shoulder injured against Coppin State. She reaggravated the injury at Washington, but was able to play through the pain. 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.
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 20 games, gives the Women of Troy's offense another option. She put together her most complete game of the season at Washington (1/31) with career highs in points (17) and steals (6) to go along with 2 blocks and 6 rebounds. She did all of that despite playing on a sprained toe she suffered against Washington State the game before. Carter posted her first career double-double against Arizona State (1/2) with 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds (8 offensive). Carter, USC's third-leading rebounder (5.1) and second-leading shot blocker (10), had 11 points against Seton Hall (12/27) and had 5 steals. She had 10 points and a block vs. Stanford (1/16), 10 points vs. UCLA (1/23) and 10 points and 7 rebounds at Washington State (1/29). She had 10 points at California (2/12). 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 has been much more than a pleasant surprise as a 1997-98 freshman forward. A 7-time starter, she is averaging 5.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. She is third on the team in blocked shots (8). She posted her first career double-double with career highs in points (15) and rebounds (10) against Rutgers (12/28), making 6-of-7 shots. Houser played only 8 minutes at Oregon (1/8) because of a bruised back but came back against Oregon State (1/10) and scored 9 points. 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 matched that vs. Arizona (1/4), scoring 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with a pair of blocks and against Coppin State (12/7). She scored 12 points at UC Santa Barbara (12/4) and had 12 off the bench against Oregon State (2/6). 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.
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 has returned to the team after a year off spent concentrating on academics. Kartz started the second game of her career against Coppin State (12/7). She has played in 16 games, averaging 10.3 minutes and 1.4 points per game. She posted a career-high 8 points vs. Arizona State (1/2) on 3-of-5 shooting and 2 free throws.
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 made her first career start against California (1/18) and made the most of it, getting a career-high 10 rebounds in only 19 minutes. She saw major time as a reserve at the Pac-10/Big East Challenge in Westwood, scoring 8 points against Rutgers (12/28) and 6 against Seton Hall (12/27). Sneed, who also started vs. Oregon State (2/6) and California (2/12), is averaging 2.3 points per game in 19 appearances, averaging 10.0 minutes per game. 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 out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Parriott, who missed all of the preseason rehabilitating from summer knee surgery, saw brief action in 2 games this season. She made her season debut against Rutgers (12/29), playing 7 minutes, making 1-of-2 shots (both 3-pointers) and getting a pair of steals. She also saw action in USC's Pac-10 opener vs. Arizona State (1/2), making 2-of-2 free throws in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, she still experienced problems with the knee and is forced to miss the rest of the year. 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. 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 be 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.
SCHEDULE -- USC has faced 5 schools that were either ranked or received votes in the Preseason AP Top 25. They are Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA and Washington. USC is currently 0-7 against that group, with losses to the Wildcats (1/4), Ducks (1/8, 2/8), Cardinal (1/16, 2/14), UCLA (1/23) and Washington (1/31).
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.