Gilbreath’s opening act rewarded

Well that didn’t take long.

Only 40 minutes into her much-anticipated junior season, USC forward Briana Gilbreath already has some new hardwood to ring in the new year.

After her dominating 21-point, 10-rebound performance during the Women of Troy’s upset of No.22 Gonzaga last Friday, it appears the junior’s do-it-all opening act drew the eye of the Pac-10 Conference.

On Monday, Gilbreath was honored as the first recipient of the Pac-10 Player of the Week award for the 2010-2011 season.

In addition to her career-high 21 points, the Katy, Texas-native’s key bucket with 33 seconds remaining in the second half put the Trojans’ home opener out of reach at 78-71.

Monday’s announcement marked the first time the 2009-2010 Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year had won the weekly award — a feat the junior leader hopes to duplicate as she helps to lead the Trojans back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in her collegiate career.

Last season, Gilbreath led the team in rebounds (5.9 per game), blocks (1.6 per game) and steals (1.8 per game), while also finishing second in points (15.1 per game).