USC Travels to the Desert
March 2, 1998
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's basketball team (11-14 overall, 6-10 in the Pacific-10 Conference), under first-year head coach Chris Gobrecht and coming off a split with the Washington schools, takes to the road for its final 2 games of the season, playing at Arizona (19-6, 12-4) on Thursday (March 5) and at Arizona State (10-15, 6-10) on Saturday (March 7). Both games are at 7 p.m. (MST). 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 assistant coach Traci Nemechek, Arizona's coordinator of basketball operations from 1996-97, will make her first return to Tucson this weekend since joining the USC staff.
RANKINGS -- Arizona is No. 9 in the AP poll. USC and Arizona State are not ranked.
ARIZONA -- The Wildcats, under seventh-year coach Joan Bonvicini, have won 8 of their last 10 games but are coming off of a loss to Stanford. The Wildcats are led by senior forward Adia Barnes, who is a averaging a team-high 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Senior center Marte Alexander is scoring at a 12.8 clip. Sophomore guard Lisa Griffith is averaging 7.5 points per game and has made a team-high 47 3-pointers. USC holds a 33-6 lead against Arizona since 1978, but the Wildcats have won 4 of the last 5. The Wildcats, who beat USC earlier this season, will be looking for only their second-ever season sweep of the Women of Troy. USC last won in Tucson a year ago, 87-72. USC last lost in Tucson in 1996, 78-73.
ARIZONA STATE -- The Sun Devils, under second-year coach Charli Turner Thorne, have lost 5 of 6 and were swept last weekend by the Bay Area schools. Arizona State is led by senior guard Stephanie Freeman, who is averaging a team-high 14.3 points and 2.9 steals per game. Sophomore center Rachel Holt leads the Sun Devils with 5.0 rebounds per game and she is scoring 10.8 points per game as well. The Sun Devils are last in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense (.466), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.377) and second to last in opponent rebounds (38.2), just ahead of USC. USC is 37-3 against Arizona State since 1978 and has won 9 in a row. USC last lost to Arizona State in Tempe in 1992, 63-62.
PROBABLE STARTERS: USC (11-14, 6-10) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 40 Tiffany Washington F 6-2 So. 8.8 5.9 22 Tashara Carter F 6-0 Fr. 7.0 5.0 30 Adrain Williams C 6-4 Jr. 12.4 6.9 20 Kiyoko Miller G 5-8 So. 7.3 2.0 32 Kristin Clark G 5-7 Jr. 16.0 2.7** Arizona (19-6, 12-4) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 30 Adia Barnes F 5-11 Sr. 21.7 6.8 42 Marte Alexander C 6-4 Sr. 12.8 6.6 23 Felicity Willis G 5-7 So. 6.8 4.0* 3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 So. 7.5 2.2 32 DeAngela Minter G 5-6 Sr. 6.8 2.7 Arizona State (10-15, 6-10) Pos. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG 20 Kisha White F 6-0 Jr. 8.3 4.3 54 Rachel Holt C 6-3 So. 10.8 5.0 55 Stephanie Freeman G 5-10 Sr. 14.3 4.4 32 Michelle Tom G 5-8 Jr. 8.1 2.7 21 Rameeka Lowe G 5-7 Sr. 6.3 4.1* *assist average **steals average
USC'S FIRST 1998 MEETING WITH ARIZONA AND ARIZONA STATE -- USC earned a split in its first weekend of Pac-10 play, beating Arizona State, 68-55, on Jan. 2 before falling in a tough battle against then-No. 10 Arizona, 81-69, on Jan. 4. Against the Sun Devils, junior guard Kristin Clark had a team-high 14 points and 3 players reached double-figures in rebounds. Freshman forward Tashara Carter added 12 points and joined junior center Adrain Williams and sophomore forward Tiffany Washington with 10 rebounds apiece. Sophomore guard Kiyoko Miller added a career-high 12 points. After taking a 29-27 halftime lead, the Women of Troy quickly went up by 10, as a steal and lay-up by Clark made it 39-29 with 16:38 to play. USC had a double-digit lead for nearly all of the second half. Clark led USC again against Arizona with 22 points, but the Wildcats, led by Adia Barnes' 30 points, were too much to handle. Clark also had a career-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals and freshman forward Whitney Houser scored 14 points off the bench. USC took a 20-16 lead with 10:02 to play in the first half, but Arizona used a 20-4 run to take control of the game at 36-24 with 3:05 to go. Arizona led at halftime, 46-33, and by as many as 19 points in the second half. USC never got the deficit back into single digits.
LAST WEEK -- For the sixth time this season, USC earned a split in its weekend of Pac-10 play. USC first upset No. 23 Washington, 65-63, on Friday (Feb. 27), but fell flat against Washington State and lost, 68-65, on Sunday (March 1). Against the Huskies, USC was led by 20 points from junior center Adrain Williams and 19 from junior guard Kristin Clark. The win was USC's first win over a ranked opponent since beating No. 14 Oregon State, 67-66, on March 2, 1996. For USC first-year coach Chris Gobrecht, the game marked her first win against her former team of 11 years since taking the USC job. Gobrecht coached Washington from 1986-96 and saw her USC team fall to the Huskies earlier in the year in Seattle in a tough 67-60 loss. USC led by as many as 13 points in the first half but Washington cut into the lead and trailed only 30-24 at halftime. The Huskies took their first lead of the second half at 36-34 with 15:03 to go. USC went back up and led by as many as 10 points at 52-42 with 7:48 left to play. Washington rallied and took a 57-56 lead with 2:39 to play on a Hall jumper. USC scored 5 straight points to take a 4-point lead with 1:30 to go. Two Clark free throws with less than 10 seconds to play gave USC a 65-61 lead, clinching the win. USC only had 10 turnovers in the win. Against the Cougars, Clark had a team-high 18 points and Williams had 16 points and 3 blocks, but it wasn't enough for the win. Washington State was led by senior center Yvonne Kunze's 20 points and 13 rebounds. The Women of Troy held a small lead for most of the first half and went into halftime up 29-24. Leading 43-39 with 13:40 to play, USC used a 7-0 run over 2 minutes to take a 50-39. The Cougars, however, battled back, outscoring the Women of Troy 17-2, taking a 56-52 lead with 5:27 to play. The Cougars built their lead to 64-56 with 1:56 left. USC rallied, however, and when Clark hit her fourth trey of the game with 18 seconds left, it brought USC to within 66-65. Guard Tricia Lamb sank 2 free throws to make it 68-65 with 12 second left. USC had a final chance to send the game into overtime, but Clark's 12th 3-point attempt of the game went long with 3 seconds left, sealing the Cougars' win.
Who's hot in the last 4 games
TURNED OVER -- USC's turnovers are down from a year ago as it is averaging 18.4 turnovers, compared to 21.2 last season. USC is also forcing more turnovers. Opponents are averaging 24.7 this year compared to 22.7 last year. USC has had less turnovers than its opponents in 21 of 25 games. USC is 11-10 in games when it has less turnovers than its opponents and 0-4 when it has more. On the year, USC has 159 less turnovers than its opponents (459-618).
BEEN CAUGHT STEALING -- As a team, USC is averaging 11.2 steals per game, a full steal more per game than last year. Kristin Clark leads USC with 2.7 steals per game, while Kim Clark is averaging 1.9, Adrain Williams is averaging 1.8 and Tashara Carter 1.7. Overall, USC has 280 steals compared to 206 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 (66.9) and its team steals (11.2) 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 6.6 attempts per game. Last season, opponents averaged 4.9 makes in 15.9 attempts. In fact, USC's Kristin Clark is 49-of-160 from 3-point land compared to 52-of-165 for USC's opponents. In the Pac-10, Clark and USC's opponents have 36 treys apiece.
Clark climbing the RECORD ladder -- USC junior guard Kristin Clark's 49 treys are a career best for a season, as are her 160 attempts. The latter mark is a USC record, breaking Tammy Story's total of 143 in 1991. Clark needs 8 3-pointers in USC's last 2 games to break the school's season record, held by Story with 56 in 1991. Clark just passed Karon Howell (44) for second place on the season list. For her career, Clark is USC's third all-time leading 3-point shooter with 97 makes. She trails only Jody Anton (103) and Story (110).
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 54 games. In fact, because of injuries and other reasons, USC Coach Chris Gobrecht has been forced to use 10 different starting lineups in 25 games, although the lineup of guards Clark and Kiyoko Miller, forwards Tashara Carter and Tiffany Washington and center Adrain Williams has started 12 of the last 18 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 2-7 on the road so far this year. USC is also 3-2 at neutral sites (5-9 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 is finishing 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 7 times, most recently at UCLA and USC is 3-4 in those games. The Clarks' highest combined scoring output is 31 points, against Oregon State on Feb. 6 when Kim had 16 and Kristin had 15.
Season finishes -- With only 2 games remaining, USC is guaranteed 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 wins in both of their final games to avoid their 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 needs at least 1 win in its final 2 games to avoid tying its worst ever Pac-10 mark, which is 6-12, set under Marianne Stanley in the 1989-90 season. USC's second-worst mark is 8-10, set twice, last in 1995-96 under Fred Williams.
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.