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Photo Gallery: Cardiac Opener

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No. 2 USC women's tennis survived a scare at home in its season-opening dual match, coming back to defeat No. 59 UC Santa Barbara, 4-3, thanks to Meredith Xepoleas coming through in the clutch. The sophomore dropped the first set, 3-6, before fighting back to earn the clinching point, 6-4, 6-4.

Click here for the recap.

The Women of Troy also benefited from singles victories by Giuliana Olmos, Madison Westby and Jessica Failla, a freshman who slotted directly into the No. 4 slot. USC will next host Pepperdine on January 29 and then Saint Mary's on January 30.

Here are John McGillen's photos:


Basketball Season Ticket Sweepstakes

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contibutor

Announced on Monday, Quicken Loans is now the proud mortgage partner of USC Athletics. In celebration of the new partnership, Quicken Loans is launching a sweepstakes to give fans the opportunity to win 2016-17 season tickets for USC men's basketball.

To enter, click here.

The sweepstakes is running now through April 1. You must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen to enter.

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Dads and Daughters Day at Women's Basketball

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USC women's basketball hosts Cal on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Galen Center, and the afternoon promises to be a special one for all dads and daughters in attendance. As part of the "Dads and Daughters" package, you will receive two tickets to the game, two lunches (soda with choice of pizza or hot dog) and a watch set that includes one for dad and one for daughter (pictured)

Click here to purchase the package!

The Women of Troy are 14-4 overall. Before Sunday, they host Stanford on Friday at 8 p.m.

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News from Down Under

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USC tennis alums Steve Johnson, Robert Farah and Maria Sanchez have combined to go 4-0 over the first three days of the Australian Open. Johnson, the No. 31 seed in the men's singles draw, won his opening match in straight sets to advance to round two tonight against Thomaz Bellucci from Brazil.

In the men's doubles tournament, Johnson is paired with fellow American Sam Querrey, and they needed only two sets to cruise into the next round. Farah teamed up with his Colombian countryman, Juan Sebastian Cabal, and the No. 12 seed won in straight sets to advance.

In the women's doubles draw, Sanchez and her partner, Stephanie Vogt, survived a third set tiebreaker to move on in Melbourne. Farah is also playing mixed doubles with Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

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NFLPA Bowl Duo

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Trojan seniors Antwaun Woods and Greg Townsend Jr., who recently wrapped up their collegiate careers at USC, will both play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday January 23 (3 p.m. PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson. Considered the "premier post-season all-star game for draft eligible college players", the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl serves as an opportunity for players to showcase their talent and learn from current and former NFL players just three months before the NFL Draft.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, click here.

Woods and Townsend will both play for Team American on Saturday, alongside nine other Pac-12 players. Three more conference players will be featured in the game representing Team National. A captain in his senior season, Woods finished his Trojan career with 113 tackles and 8 sacks. Townsend also served on the defensive line, tallying 68 tackles and 5.5 sacks in the last four years.

The game will kick off at 3 p.m. PT and will be televised on ESPN2.

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Robinson Ready to Run

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USC head coach Clay Helton has welcomed another successful assistant back to Troy, announcing the return of Tommie Robinson from the University of Texas to coach the running backs and serve as the run game coordinator.

Robinson was the running backs coach (along with passing game coordinator) at USC in 2013, guiding Buck Allen and Tre Madden to breakout seasons. The Trojans scored 29 rushing touchdowns that year, the most in a single campaign since 2005 (51).

"We are thrilled to welcome back Tommie to the Trojan Family," said Helton. "He is one of the most respected running back coaches in our profession.  He has had an extensive career in both the NFL and college and he will pass on that knowledge to our young running back group.  I have had the good fortune to work with Tommie on two different occasions, at USC and at Memphis, and have seen firsthand how he develops young men both on and off the field.  He is a true professional and a terrific recruiter."

As part of this announcement, Helton explained that he is reorganizing his current assistant coaching staff to make room for Robinson. Johnny Nansen, who previously coached running backs and special teams, will become the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, while retaining his assistant head coach role. Nansen, who played linebacker at Washington State, coached linebackers for three years (2004-06) at Idaho and has spent 13 of his 18 coaching years on the defensive side of the ball.

Also, Tyson Helton, who was hired earlier this month as the running backs coach and pass game coordinator, will now coach USC's quarterbacks. And, special teams coordinator John Baxter will add tight ends coach to his duties.

Robinson, 52, has 30 years of coaching experience.  As Texas' running backs coach in 2014 and 2015, he helped the Longhorns rank 17th in the nation in rushing in 2015, averaging 224.8 yards a game while scoring 27 times on the ground.

Before USC, he was in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, coaching their backs from 2010-12. He also enjoyed extended stints with the Dallas Cowboys (1998-2000), Miami Hurricanes (2007-09) and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2002-05).

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2016 NFL Divisional Round

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palmer4-nfl.jpgThe Best

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals

The MVP candidate got off to a slow start on Saturday night, but he was simply setting things up for a classic finish. With Arizona trailing 13-10 entering the fourth quarter, Palmer led an 80-yard TD drive, capped by a fortuitous pass to Michael Floyd for six. After the game was shockingly sent to overtime thanks to a Hail Mary, Palmer athletically scrambled to find his favorite target Larry Fitzgerald for a 75-yard catch-and-run on the first play of the extra session, setting up the game-winning shovel pass to the future Hall of Famer. At 36, the veteran quarterback earned his first career playoff victory and now stands one win from the Super Bowl.

Best of the Rest

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 6 tackles (5 solo) including one for loss

Nick Perry, OLB, Packers - 4 tackles (3 solo) including a sack

Frostee Rucker, DE, Cardinals - One tackle for loss

Ryan Kalil, C, Panthers - All-pro center helped Carolina topple the Seahawks

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Growing Seeds

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USC men's tennis legend Steve Johnson is seeded at a grand slam tournament for the first time in his professional career, starting the Australian Open at No. 31. The American, who made it to the third round in Melbourne last year, will open the tournament against Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene.

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SooHoo Gallery: USC Hoops vs. UCLA

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USC men's basketball's win over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion was so big that even Jon SooHoo was in the house to take pictures for us. Here are his images from the night:


01/14/16-USC@UCLAMEN - Images by Jon SooHoo

Trojans on Top

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USC has taken over the lead in the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup thanks to men's basketball's win over UCLA in Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday Night. The Trojans' victory was worth five points, leaving the other five to be decided in the rematch at Galen Center on February 4.

Click here for the Crosstown Cup standings.

Next up: USC men's volleyball at UCLA on January 23.

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