Basketball team looking for best start in four years.
Dec. 18, 2000
USC at Baylor
Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. CST
Listen live on... www.gobaylorbears.com
USC at Texas Tech
Friday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. CST
Listen live on... www.texastech.com
USC women's basketball (5-2) extended its winning streak to five games with a 78-60 win over Pepperdine on Friday (Dec. 15). The five wins are the most won consecutively for the Women of Troy since the 1996-97 season. This week USC travels to Texas to face Baylor on Wednesday (Dec. 20) in Waco, and Texas Tech on Friday (Dec. 22) in Lubbock. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CST.
Game #7 - vs. Pepperdine (Dec. 15)
Tiffany Elmore scored a game-high 22 points and Aisha Hollans poured in 14 more in her collegiate debut to lead USC to a 78-60 win over Pepperdine before 675 at the Sports Arena on Friday night. The Women of Troy held Pepperdine to 32.2 percent shooting for the game, as the Waves made just nine of 31 shots in the second half. USC also forced 25 turnovers. For the Trojans, Tashara Carter had a fine all-around game with 12 points, nine rebounds, five steals and four assists, while Jessica Cheeks added 10 points and Ebony Hoffman recorded 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Four of USC's players finished with double figures in points. USC got off to a 10-0 run to start the game, holding Pepperdine scoreless until the 15 minute mark of the first half. The Women of Troy went into halftime leading 38-29, but the Waves went on an 8-0 run to pull within one, 38-37, two minutes into the second half. USC then went on a 21-7 run to put the game away.
USC Women's Basketball Holiday Food Drive
Bring a nonperishable food item and receive a complimentary admission to the USC-Notre Dame game on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m. at the L.A. Sports Arena.
USC received its first votes of the season this week in the AP Women's College Basketball Poll (3 votes) and the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll (2). In the national preseason rankings, the Women of Troy were ranked No. 21 according to WOMENSCOLLEGEHOOPS.com, and No. 24 according to the Women's Basketball Journal, while receiving mention in numerous others.
Hollans Adds Spark
After missing the first six games of the season, freshman Aisha Hollans entered the lineup against Pepperdine (Dec. 15), providing a spark and a glimpse of what this freshman class is capable of. Hollans helped USC hold onto its halftime lead by hitting 4-of-4 shots off the bench, and adding a key block. For the game, she contributed 14 points (6-12) and six rebounds in just 20 minutes on the court.
Is This The Same Player?
No player has made a more drastic improvement this year than sophomore forward Tennille Grant. After only averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game last season, Grant has returned as one of the team's most effective shooters. She currently ranks second on the team with a 56.3 shooting percentage. Grant has contributed 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in an average of 11.0 minutes on the court per game.
Just Can't Get Them Past Her
Since she entered the lineup in 1999-2000, opponents just can't get their shots past her. Senior center Denise Woods finished third in the Pac-10 last season with an average of 1.47 blocks per game. This year she quickly reclaimed her spot on the charts. She leads the conference with an average of 1.86 stops per game.
Opponents With NCAA Experience
This season USC must prepare for nothing less than NCAA caliber opponents. Four of the Trojans last six opponents are 2000 NCAA Tournament teams (Drake, UCSB, St. Joseph's and San Diego), and three of the four remaining (Pepperdine, Texas Tech and Notre Dame) also went to the Big Dance. After including conference opponents, the Women of Troy will face 12 total teams that played in the postseason last year (UCLA, Stanford and Oregon... ASU went to WNIT).
With its fifth consecutive win, USC is enjoying its longest win streak since winning five straight during the 1996-97 season *** The Women of Troy have defeated their last three opponents by an average of 19.3 points per game *** Camille Norwood set a career-high with five assists against Pepperdine (Dec. 15) *** Tiffany Elmore has posted 20+ points in the last two games, after leading the team with 22 against Pepperdine (Dec. 15) *** The Trojans' 32 assists against Sac State (Dec. 9) rank sixth among program records *** USC's 26-point margin of victory over the Hornets (Dec. 9) was its largest since also beating Sac State by 42 points (84-42) last season (Dec. 11) at the Sports Arena *** Tashara Carter surpassed a career-high with seven assists against Sac State (Dec. 9) *** The USC-San Diego game was the first time the Women of Troy shot above 50 percent since January 9, 2000, when the Trojans shot 50.8 in a win over Washington *** Forward Tennille Grant surpassed a career-high with ten points and seven rebounds against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) *** Tashara Carter tied a career-high with four blocks against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) *** USC is 21-4 all-time in season openers (6-4 on the road, 10-0 at home and 5-0 at neutral sites) *** The Trojans are 22-2 all-time in home season openers.
Despite its shooting woes, USC has found success over the last three years thanks to a tough defensive effort. In 1998-99 and 1999-2000, the Women of Troy led the conference in turnover ratio, forcing an average of 2.5 more turnovers per game. This season is no different. In seven games, the 2000-01 squad is forcing an average of 6.6 more turnovers in each game (USC 15.7, Opponents 22.3). The Trojans are also averaging 10.3 steals per game, while holding opponents to 6.7.
Freshman Aisha Hollans, who has been sidelined while rehabbing a lower back injury (slipped disk), began practicing with the team the week of Dec. 4 and entered her first game on Dec. 15.
The Three-Year Vet
Senior Tashara Carter enters the 2000-2001 season as the team's lone three-year veteran of the program, and the only player to play under Coach Gobrecht all three years. A recruit of former USC head coach Fred Williams, Carter endured the first years of instability and transition as the 1998-99 squad posted a 7-20 overall record and finished tied for ninth in the Pac-10. In three years, Carter has played in all 84 games and only missed four starts, helping guide the Women of Troy back to nation prominence.
Mitchell Paid Her Dues
Redshirt freshman Portia Mitchell is back in the lineup much to everyone's delight. A highly touted 1999 recruit out of Narbonne High, Mitchell sat out during the 1999-2000 season after not meeting conditioning requirements. So a year of relentless training has paid-off for the 6-4 center after she proudly met her qualifying times (1 1/2 miles in under 13 minutes) in early September and began practicing with the team on Oct. 14.
Freshmen Among Nation's Best
The 2000-2001 freshman class was ranked as high as No. 14 by the Women's Basketball Journal and No. 16 by Athlon. In USA Today, Nancy Lieberman Cline named Ebony Hoffman as one of her top five freshmen of influence. Hoffman was ranked the No. 2 prep recruit of 2000 by USA Today and the Women's Basketball Journal. Guard Aisha Hollans was ranked 21st by the All-Star Girl's Report and the Women's Basketball Journal. The freshman class also includes 5-foot-7 guard Ryane Alexander.
The freshman class only becomes stronger by adding two 1999-2000 high school recruits. Center Portia Mitchell enters first season as an active player at USC after sitting out last year, and guard Jessica Cheeks also enters her first season after taking junior college courses in 1999-2000. Together, they were originally part of the top-10 recruiting class of 1999 (No. 8 by Athlon and No. 9 by the Women's Basketball Journal).
Head Coach Chris Gobrecht
Chris Gobrecht enters her fourth season at the helm of the USC women's basketball program. Replacing former head coach Fred Williams on May 8, 1997, Gobrecht returned to her alma mater to help guide the Women of Troy back to national prominence. Throughout 22 years of head coaching experience, Gobrecht has amassed a 372-254 (.594) career record with her programs at Cal State Fullerton (six years), Washington (11), Florida State (one) and USC. During her 11-year tenure at Washington, she was twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1987 and 1988). Gobrecht remains the second-winningest coach in conference history with a 162-84 (.659) mark, and she ranks 37th among active Division I coaches with 372 career victories.
This Week's Opponents
Baylor enters this week with an unblemished record and its best start since the 1980-81 season when the team won its first nine games ... Under first-year head coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson, the Lady Bears have defeated Miami-Ohio (75-62), Yale (81-52), Louisiana-Lafayette (101-56), Bethune-Cookman (108-45), Air Force (78-53), Denver (95-82) and, most recently, Arkansas-Pine Bluff ... Baylor has defeated its opponents by an average of 32.9 points per game ... In the last game (Dec. 9), the Lady Bears defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 89-47 at home ... The team was led by a 20-point effort from guard Shelia Lambert and 12 rebounds from post Monica Arnold ... Lambert currently leads the Lady Bears averaging 22.6 points, 3.7 steals and 5.4 assists per game ... Forward Danielle Cockrom leads with 10.9 rebounds per contest and a 66.7 shooting percentage from the field ... Baylor returns eight players from the 1999-2000 squad which finished 7-20 overall and 2-14 in the Big 12 (12th place).
USC-Baylor Series Record
USC and Baylor met for the first time last season on Dec. 19 in the Sports Arena. The Women of Troy defeated the Lady Bears 71-53.
The Last Time Against Baylor
USC defeated Baylor, 71-53, as the team shot nearly 50 percent in the game and four players posted season-high performances. Utilizing the fifth-different starting lineup combination of the season, the Women of Troy were led by Danielle Golay (19 points), Carmen Krause (11 points), Tiffany Elmore (14 points) and Tashara Carter (14 points, 6 assists). USC opened the game with a 11-4 lead (14:42), but allowed the Lady Bears to add the following eight points. With 6:23 remaining in the first half, Baylor would lead for the last time in the game, 20-19. The Trojans entered the half with a 13-point advantage after out-scoring the Lady Bears, 15-4 in the final four minutes. The Women of Troy led by as many as 24 points in the second half and did not allow Baylor within 12 points for the final victory.
Texas Tech (6-1)
11th-ranked Texas Tech has lost only one game upon entering the week ... The Lady Raiders were defeated by North Carolina State, 59-51, on the road on Dec. 9 ... Following the loss, TTU returned home to defeat No. 23 Oregon in overtime, 79-75, in front of a crowd of 12,822 (the team averages 11,498 at home) ... Forward Plenette Pierson led the squad with 20 points against the Ducks, while center Tanisha Ellison led with nine rebounds ... With a season-high 24 points against New Mexico on Dec. 4, Pierson is averaging a team-leading 14.9 points per outing ... Ellison tops the squad with 6.4 rebounds per game ... Guard Jia Perkins has been a force off the bench with a team-best 4.1 assists and 3.6 steals per game ... Last season, Texas Tech finished with a 28-5 overall record after winning its third-straight Big 12 title with a 13-3 record, and advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight ... The Lady Raiders were ranked 11th according to the AP at the conclusion of the season ... Head Coach Marsha Sharp returns for her 19th season at the helm of the women's basketball program and boasts a 434-134 career record ... The team returns five letterwinners and two starters from last year's squad.
USC-Texas Tech Series Record
Friday's game will mark the fourth meeting between Texas Tech and USC. The Lady Raiders own a 2-1 advantage in the series after defeating the Women of Troy in overtime, 66-63, last season on Nov. 29 at the Sports Arena.
The Last Time Against Texas Tech
Despite season-high performances from Denise Woods (19 points, 8 rebounds) and Danielle Golay (14 points), USC fell to 17th-ranked Texas Tech, 66-63, in overtime. The Trojans led by as many as nine points in the first half, entering halftime with a 33-21 lead. USC maintained the lead through the second half until two Trojan turnovers led to fouls, sending Texas Tech to the line to bring the score within two points, 55-53. A layup by Plenette Pierson tied the score with 1:44 remaining on the clock. Following a layup by Woods, another shot by Pierson tied the score 57-57 at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The Lady Raiders made 4-of-7 shots in the extra session and out-scored the Women of Troy, 9-6. USC was just 1-of-7 in overtime.
2000-2001 Women of Troy
#1 Ayeshia Smith
Guard * 5-5 * Senior * Philadelphia, Pa. * Cowley County CC
Ayeshia Smith begins her senior year at USC and second year in the basketball program... Looking to make an impact this year after losing her junior season to injury (broken finger)... A scoring threat on the floor, she adds energy to the point guard position.
This Season: Has made 1 start and appeared in 5 games.
Started against Creighton (Nov. 17) and collected one steal and two assists in 15 minutes ... Against Drake (Nov. 19), went 2-for-5 in 13 minutes ... Played three minutes off the bench against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Did not play against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Came off the bench to add four points, three rebounds and two assists against Sac State (Dec. 9) ... Did not play against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#3 Tiffany Elmore
Guard * 5-10 * Junior * Sacramento, Calif. * Florin HS
Tiffany Elmore begins her junior season with the Women of Troy as one of two returning starters... Primarily a two-guard, she was the go-to player last season and played a big role in a lot of key wins... Will establish herself as one of the top guards in the conference this season... A 2000 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection and Pac-10 Player of the Week (Feb. 21).
This Season: Has made 7 starts.
Against Creighton (Nov. 17) she collected eight points (4-12) ... Led with 11 points (4-9), two assists and two steals at Drake (Nov. 19) ... Added 14 points and four steals against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Struggled offensively, hitting 1-of-9 shots, but provided two blocks and four steals against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Collected six rebounds against San Diego (Dec. 2) despite shooting 1-for-6 ... Returning to her hometown, she led with 20 points (8-14) against Sac State (Dec. 9) ... Has her second-straight 20+ point game, leading the team with 22 points against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#5 Camille Norwood
Guard * 5-8 * Junior * Los Angeles, Calif. * Washington HS
Camille Norwood enters her junior season with the Women of Troy... A player who has proven to be one of the steadiest performers on the team... Her progress made a huge impact last season and she expects to do the same this year... A dependable player who is tough to rattle at the point.
This Season: Has made 1 start and played in 5 games.
Is expected to played limited minutes in nonconference play while still rehabbing from ACL surgery she underwent in July ... Played eight minutes off the bench against Creighton ... Played eight minutes off the bench and made one steal against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Contributed two assists and two points in 18 minutes against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Played 14 minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2) ... Made her first start of the season against Sac State (Dec. 9), adding four assists despite four turnovers ... Set a new career-high with five assist against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#10 Jessica Cheeks
Guard * 5-9 * Freshman * Los Angeles, Calif. * Narbonne HS
Jessica Cheeks begins her first season with the Women of Troy... A player with great instincts for the game... An excellent shooter who provides a terrific backcourt threat... Will be able to play well with a three guard lineup.
This Season: Has made 5 starts and appeared in 6 games.
Led with 10 points (3-8), seven boards and three assists against Creighton (Nov. 17) ... Made her first collegiate start against Drake (Nov. 19) but had nine points with a 3-of-13 effort ... Added eight points, four steals and hit 2-of-4 from three-point range against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Added eight points against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Posted double figures against San Diego (Dec. 2) with 13 points hitting 6-of-8 from the field ... Did not play against Sac State (Dec. 9) ... Contributed 10 points and two assists against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#13 Denise Woods
Center/Forward * 6-3 * Senior * Richmond, Calif. * Univ. of San Francisco
Denise Woods begins her senior year with the Women of Troy... She will be looked upon for her maturity and leadership on a young team... She has made a huge commitment in her final season and is prepared to play at a peak level... Will make an impact in the conference in the post.
This Season: Has made 7 starts.
Shot 50.0 percent (3-6, 7 points) with two boards against Creighton (Nov. 17) ... Had six rebounds and three blocks against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Led with 16 points , three blocks and five boards against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Hit 4-of-6 for 11 points against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Continues to improve with another top performance against San Diego (Dec. 2), including a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds ... Began USC's first scoring run against Sac State (Dec. 9) by accounting for the first five of six field goals in the game and finishing 14 points (7-9) ... Despite 3-of-12 shooting, she led with three blocks and added nine points against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#14 Carmen Krause
Forward * 6-1 * Junior * Prescott, Ariz. * Prescott HS
Carmen Krause returns for her junior season with the Women of Troy... An athlete who plays with passion and intensity... Her defense has improved tremendously over the past two seasons and the team will rely on her toughness at the post.
This Season: Has made 1 start and played in 6 games.
Played 13 minutes against Creighton (Nov. 17) and 23 minutes with nine points (2-5) against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Hit 2-of-4 off the bench against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Made her first start against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) and contributed four points, rebounds and assists ... Did not play against San Diego (Dec. 2) ... Hit 2-of-4 from the field, including 1-of-1 three-pointers for six points against Sac State (Dec. 9).
#15 Lauren Smith-Hams
Guard * 5-7 * Sophomore * Los Altos, Calif. * Pinewood HS
Lauren Smith-Hams begins her sophomore season with the Women of Troy... Recruited to be a shooting force for the team at guard, but instead became one of the team's most solid defenders... This season, she will again be utilized on defense and will be relied on as one of the team's most reliable shooters off the bench.
This Season: Has played in 5 games.
Added four points in 13 minutes against Creighton (Nov. 17) and five points in 22 minutes against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Did not play against UCSB (Nov. 24) and St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Came off the bench for 11 minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2) and hit 2-of-3 from the field ... Was 2-of-3 from three-point range for six points against Sac State (Dec. 9).
#20 Tennille Grant
Forward * 5-10 * Sophomore * Kansas City, Mo. * Northeast HS
Tennille Grant returns for her sophomore season with the Women of Troy... She has worked hard in the off-season to get stronger and improve her defense... Will likely be used as a post or wing player this year... A natural player who can score with her back to the basket.
This Season: Has played in 7 games.
Recorded eight points on 4-of-6 shooting against both Creighton (Nov. 17) and Drake (Nov. 19) Only played two minutes off the bench against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Surpassed her previous career-highs with 10 points and seven rebounds against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Played 14 minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2) with four points and two rebounds ... Shot 50.0 percent (3-6) and added seven rebounds against Sac State (Dec. 9).
#21 Erin Young
Guard * 5-11 * Sophomore * Dallas, Tex. * Highland Park HS
Erin Young enters her sophomore season with the Women of Troy as a walk-on guard... Will return to the court with high expectations after a solid freshman campaign... Looks to become a more consistent shooter, primarily at the two... Has an exceptional ability to learn and will continue to get better with each season.
This Season: Has played in 5 games.
Played nine minutes against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Came off the bench early and played nine minutes with two assists against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Played three minutes against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Added one rebound and one steal in four minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2) ... Grabbed five rebounds in 15 minutes on the court against Sac State (Dec. 9) ... Did not play against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#22 Tashara Carter
Forward * 6-0 * Senior * Harbor City, Calif. * Bishop Montgomery HS
Tashara Carter begins her senior season with the Women of Troy as one of two returning starters... A do-everything player at forward, she contributes points, rebounds, assists and steals... She brings experience as the only three-year starter on the team... A 2000 All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection.
This Season: Has made 7 starts.
Contributed six points and six rebounds against Creighton (Nov. 17) ... Added six points, 10 rebounds against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Fouled out after only adding four points and two boards against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... With an outstanding performance, she led with 14 points (4-10), 10 rebounds, four blocks and four assists against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Was the second-leading scorer against San Diego (Dec. 2) with 14 points (6-8) in addition to two assists, two steals and five rebounds ... Added a career-high seven assists and three steals against Sac State (Dec. 9) ... Had 12 points after hitting 8-of-10 at the line, in addition to four assists and five steals against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#23 Aisha Hollans
Guard * 5-10 * Freshman * Berkeley, Calif. * Berkeley HS
Aisha Hollans begins her first season with the Women of Troy... An extremely talented young athlete who possesses all the qualities of a great wing player... Brings a completely different dimension to the game with her ability to create opportunities... A gifted and knowledgable basketball player.
This Season: Has played in 1 game.
Missed first six games due to a back injury ... Began practicing with the team the week of Dec. 4 ... Entered her first collegiate game on Dec. 15 against Pepperdine and contributed six rebounds and 14 points off of 6-of-12 shooting.
#24 Ryane Alexander
Guard * 5-7 * Freshman * Copperas Cove, Tex. * Copperas Cove HS
Ryane Alexander begins her first season with the Women of Troy... A classic point guard who likes to dish the ball and run the show when she is on the court... A hard-nosed player with great intensity and toughness... The type of player who does what the team needs her to do at all times.
This Season: Has played in 4 games.
Made her collegiate debut against UCSB (Nov. 24) and played 15 minutes in which she made a crucial defensive stop to clinch the win for the Trojans ... Played seven minutes against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Played seven minutes against San Diego (Dec. 2) ... Played six minutes against Sac State (Dec. 9) ... Did not play against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#32 Ebony Hoffman
Forward * 6-2 * Freshman * Harbor City, Calif. * Narbonne HS
Ebony Hoffman enters her first season with the Women of Troy... A player with the potential to have a dominating influence and make a significant impact on the team... One of the country's best post players, she can run the floor and hit an outside shot... She plays a power-quickness game which will make her an exceptional player in the Pac-10.
This Season: Has made 6 starts and appeared in 7 games.
Made first collegiate start against Creighton (Nov. 17) and went 1-for-12 from the field with five points and three rebounds ... Against Drake (Nov. 19), she led with 11 rebounds but still suffered with 2-of-10 shooting ... In her best performance, she added 12 points (5-10), five rebounds and three assists against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Did not start but led with 14 points (4-8) and added four rebounds and two blocks against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Resumed her starting position against San Diego (Dec. 2) and led with eight rebounds and three steals, in addition to 11 points ... Was one rebound and two assists shy of a triple-double against Sac State (Dec. 9) after contributing 14 points and a team-high nine boards and eight assists ... Contributed a team-high 11 rebounds and three blocks against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).
#35 Portia Mitchell
Center * 6-4 * RS Freshman * Los Angeles, Calif. * Narbonne HS
Portia Mitchell begins her redshirt freshman year at USC... A player with great size, a soft touch around the basket and excellent skills... Her commitment to her conditioning last year has already payed off this season... Mitchell ran a mile and a half in 13 minutes, one second on Sept. 8 to fulfill her requirements and begin team workouts... The team will benefit greatly from having her at the post.
This Season: Has played in 6 games.
Made her collegiate debut against Creighton (Nov. 17), collecting three rebounds in six minutes ... Played two minutes against Drake (Nov. 19) ... Added three rebounds in six minutes of play against UCSB (Nov. 24) ... Did not play against St. Joseph's (Nov. 26) ... Collected three rebounds in seven minutes off the bench against San Diego (Dec. 2) ... Played eight minutes against Sac State (Dec. 9) but hit only 1-of-7 from the field ... Played three minutes against Pepperdine (Dec. 15).