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USC Pushes Oregon Before Streak Hits 13 : College basketball: Off the court, former women's coach Stanley applies to replace Parker.

March 10, 1995|ELLIOTT ALMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The USC coaching derby took another strange turn Thursday on a night when the Trojans played an inspired game despite losing to Oregon, 81-77, before 2,135 at the Sports Arena.

Marianne Stanley, the former women's coach who sued the school over a pay dispute, has applied to become the Trojans' men's coach. She hasn't heard from the school, said her attorney, Robert Bell.

In what has become a rumor-by-the-minute scenario, the coaching position remains a hotly debated topic.

Duke assistant Tommy Amaker still is interested in the job, sources close to the negotiations said, but interim Coach Charlie Parker also remains a serious candidate.

Although USC, 7-20 overall and 2-15 in the Pacific 10 Conference, lost its 13th in a row Thursday, the Trojans played the kind of intense, emotional, up-tempo basketball that left many in the sparse crowd with a favorable impression.

Parker, who met with Athletic Director Mike Garrett on Wednesday, said he was encouraged by what he was told.

"I'm still very much in the picture," he said. "I don't think I hurt my chances tonight. There has been no decision made. There has been no offer made."

With only Saturday's game against Oregon State remaining, Parker's tenure could be over.

But he did not let that bother him as he roamed the sideline with more animation than usual.

"The spirit of things," he said, explaining his histrionics. "I felt we needed an emotional lift and I had to give it."

Despite an outstanding effort, the coaching staff was disappointed with the loss.

Kenya Wilkins, one of the Pac-10's better point guards, made eight free throws in the final 46 seconds to lead Oregon (19-7, 11-6). Wilkins made all 16 of his free throws and had 23 points to lead the 25th-ranked Ducks, who are headed to postseason play.

Wilkins made his free throws, but the Trojans missed theirs. Jaha Wilson missed four and Burt Harris one when the Trojans were desperately trying to win in the final minute.

"They played hard and loose," Oregon Coach Jerry Green said of the Trojans. "They never gave up."

At times this season, USC has looked disjointed and less like a team than a group of individuals. But Thursday it played intensely on defense, helping motivate the offense.

"That's the way we want to play," Parker conceded.

And even if Parker's time is coming to a close, he plans to remain intense Saturday.

"I don't want the team to feel they're just playing the game," he said. "I don't know how much more I could have given tonight. It'll be the same thing Saturday."

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