March 2017 Archives

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Courtney Corrin

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

USC_soccer_air_force_mcgillen_3294.jpgName: Courtney Corrin
Class: Freshman
Sport: Women's Soccer, Track & Field
Major: Law, History and Culture
GPA: 3.55

Aubrey Kragen (AK): How did you decide upon a Law, History & Culture major?

Courtney Corrin (CC): I wanted to do transactional law, specifically, so I wanted to enhance my knowledge on the law part of it. I don't know if I want to go into law school per se -- that's why I want to minor in business administration -- but I think it's always good to have pre-law under your belt, just so you kind of know about the law more. It allows you to be more diverse in what you can do, because I feel like in order to be a great business person, you have to be a great lawyer. And in order to be a great lawyer, I think a holistic education is important.

AK: What exactly is transactional law?

CC: I'd pretty much like to work with sports contracts. I guess you can say more of like a sports agent. But I like to do the paperwork part, so I'm the person behind the scenes, like 'OK, give me the contract and I'll make sure everything's in order,' but I don't actually present anything.

AK: You seem quite young to already have such a grasp on the field. What experience have you had in the past?

CC: A lot of people in my family are lawyers, and my 'play uncle' is Marvin Putnam -- he was on the Michael Jackson case. So I'm just used to it, and my dad started off doing pre-law, but then he switched and got his Master's degree here and went into business admin. He just says doing both is beneficial in the long run.

AK: What made you decide to come to USC?

CC: I just wanted a very good academic school, so I thought, 'Where would I go if I weren't playing sports?' I thought USC was the best for me location-wise. Also just academically, I think it offered a lot -- I wanted the network within USC and I wanted to live in Southern California, so I thought the best connections could be made at USC.

AK: How did you end up playing two sports here? What was the recruiting process like?

CC: So soccer came first. I think I got my first letter when I was in seventh grade to UCLA. So it started really fast because they try to recruit you so young in soccer. They didn't really know about me in track -- because I'm a jumper, specifically -- so I wasn't really known until eighth or ninth grade. I thought I was just going to go to a soccer school, but then I found out I could do both. For me it was a must. Some people say it's not beneficial to play two sports because you're not specializing, but I think it's better for your body to do different things. I was used to it, because in high school my sports were soccer and track so it came as like a unit.

AK: Academically, is it tough to not really have a full offseason like one-sport student-athletes do?

CC: I think I'm lucky that I'm not as social -- I don't always want to party. For me it's easy, because if I'm not running or working out, I'm doing my homework. For me it's easy, because I love to do my work. I find it easier because it makes me more focused because having all these things to do makes me do it. There's no other option.

AK: Lastly, what are your goals here at USC and beyond?

CC: I've come to realize that my one goal is just to get the best out of me. So in sports, whether I jump 23 feet, 22 feet, it's not about that. It's 'Am I going to be my best by the time I leave?' So that's the main goal for sports, and then academics-wise, it's transitioning that mindset into academics. Once I'm done here, I want to find that same happiness within my field. And pre-law is a lot like sports, you kind of have to understand the rules and you want to be the best at it. I think the best thing from coming here is realizing that I'll have a life after sports and that I'll be happy.

Perfection In Sight

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USC's top-ranked women's water polo season continues its quest for an undefeated regular season with a game against No. 4 Arizona State tomorrow.

Click here for the full preview!

The Trojans are 24-0 (2-0 MPSF) on the season with four matches remaining in the regular season, including tomorrow's conference clash with the Sun Devils (18-4, 2-1). USC has topped ASU five straight times, including a 12-2 beat down in the championship of the Triton Invitational last month.

Surprisingly, that 10 goal margin is smaller than the average margin of victory this year for the Trojans. In 24 wins this season, USC has defeated its opponents by a combined score of 395-94 and an average score of 16.46 to 3.92.

Senior Stephania Haralabidis' offensive firepower has been a key part in USC's dominance this season. The Athens, Greece native has netted 71 goals on the season -- the most in the MPSF. In the cage, USC has alternated between junior Victoria Chamorro and sophomore Amanda Longan. Chamorro (pictured) leads the MPSF in goals-against average (3.0), while Longan leads the conference in saves per game (11.14).

Tomorrow's match, which begins at 12:30 p.m., is USC's penultimate showdown at Uytengsu Aquatics Center this season. It will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


2017 Spring Practice #8: Notes

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The Trojans hit the halfway point of spring football on a sunny Thursday evening.
  • The defense was "dominant" today, according to head coach Clay Helton, winning all the competitive periods.
  • usc-football-spring-2017-mcgillen-6466.jpgLast spring, Helton's greatest concern was youth and lack of depth on his defensive line. The problem was exacerbated by the loss of Kenny Bigelow to a season-ending knee injury. But now, Bigelow is back and he's got company up front, turning the Trojans' defensive line into an expected strength of the team. "It was terrible sitting out again," said Bigelow about last year. "But at the same time, I watched a lot of guys grow up. Guys have transcended themselves, transformed themselves completely, and matured right in front of my eyes. That's something I'm glad I got to see."
  • Bigelow has dealt with nothing but adversity since coming to USC as a highly-touted prospect, but the hope is that his patience will pay off this season. "I'm just so proud of him," said Helton about Bigelow. "He can be a dominant player when he wants to be."
  • On the other end of the spectrum, true freshman Marlon Tuipulotu is starting up front as Bigelow works his way back into contact drills. The spring enrollee has opened his head coach's eyes quickly. "Just one of the more football instinctive kids that I've seen. He's really picked up the defense really quickly," said Helton about Tuipulotu. "You never want to totally count on freshmen but to have him step out like he has, man, he really is an asset to us."
  • DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu was the clear leader of the defensive front last year, and with his departure, OLB Uchenna Nwosu (pictured) is filling the void. "He's really capturing this bunch," Helton said about the senior. "He's the lead dog. He's the king of the lions."
  • Special teams has several holes to fill after losing kicker Matt Boermeester and return specialist Adoree' Jackson, but John Baxter will not make any decisions until the fall. With kickers, he uses spring football to focus on individual improvement. "In the spring I kind of look at it like you'd take a golfer out to the range and you're just working on his swing and his swing mechanics and those kinds of things," said Baxter. "Then, when we go to the fall, then we need to assimilate more into team."
  • As for replacing Jackson, perhaps the greatest return man in USC history, Baxter has narrowed it down to three or four unnamed candidates. "Really simple, when they catch the ball on a kick, if they act like a deer in headlights, they're out," he explained his tryout process. "If they're oblivious to the pressure of people coming at them, they're in."
  • While Jackson was a master at kick and punt returns, the skill sets are different, so the role might be split this season. "Kickoff returner is really a guy that just hits the gas, doesn't break stride, doesn't cut, he just runs it up in the hole. A lot like a tailback," Baxter explained. "Whereas a punt returner is a guy that kind of glides and slides then puts his foot in the ground to take the first seam he sees."
  • Due to all the injuries, Helton has decided to push the next scrimmage back and Saturday will be a regular padded practice. In addition to the names that have showed up on previous injury reports, LB Tayler Katoa suffered a knee injury which will need an MRI for further diagnosis. OL Viane Talamaivao (elbow) and S C.J. Pollard (ankle) are also out.
  • Here is the full press conference from Helton:

Start Your Engines

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Today, USC head football coach Clay Helton was named the Grand Marshal of the 43rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

On April 9, Helton will attend the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers' meeting and take a pre-race lap in an Indy car with driving legend Mario Andretti before uttering the famous phrase, "Drivers, start your engines!"

"I am honored and thrilled to serve as Grand Marshal of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, representing our football team and the Trojan family," Helton said. "It will be exciting to get an up-close look at the incredibly skilled drivers and their support teams, and the cars they drive, as well as seeing all that goes into making the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach such an iconic sporting event."

Prior Grand Marshals include boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya, filmmaker George Lucas and actor Patrick Stewart.

Click here for tickets to the event.


Trojan Spotlight: WR Deontay Burnett

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For Deontay Troy Burnett, attending USC on a football scholarship was always a dream. But the Serra High School product flew under USC's radar until just before Signing Day in 2015, when he got a call that changed his life.

Burnett accepted a blueshirt scholarship, came to USC and immediately got to work. After a freshman season during which he caught 10 passes for 161 yards, Burnett broke out in 2016.

When veteran wide receiver Steven Mitchell Jr. went down with an ACL tear in October, Burnett was forced to step into a starting role. He wound up with 56 receptions for 622 yards and 7 TD, including a record-tying 3 TD in USC's come-from-behind Rose Bowl victory.

Following the departure of Juju Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers, USC's wide receiving corps is relatively inexperienced, and this spring, Burnett is leading the pack.

Back On Solid Ground

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After four straight road games, USC women's lacrosse returns home to host Fresno State and Cal this weekend.

Click here for the full preview!

The No. 9 Trojans are 7-3 (1-0 MPSF) on the season as they head into the rest of their conference slate.

USC has a chance to extend its 11-match conference win streak and 20-match home win streak during tomorrow's bout against the unranked Bulldogs.

Fresno State brings a matching 7-3 record into the battle, but an 0-2 mark in conference play. Cal is also 0-2 in MPSF play this season, with a 2-9 record overall.

USC's game vs. Fresno State kicks off at 4 p.m. and will be streamed live on Twitter, while Sunday's vs. Cal will be broadcast live on Pac-12 LA at 2 p.m.

Tennis and Tacos

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This weekend, USC men's tennis kicks off Pac-12 competition with matches against Oregon and Washington.

Click here for the full match previews!

The fifth-ranked Trojans are 17-3 on the season heading into tomorrow's matchup with the 23rd-ranked Ducks, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium. The Kogi Truck will serve free tacos to the first 150 people in attendance. For those not in attendance, the match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.

Saturday's match against the No. 32 Huskies begins at 1 p.m.

USC boasts two players ranked in singles (freshman Brandon Holt at No. 21 and sophomore Logan Smith at No. 47), while Oregon has one (No. 40 Thomas Laurent) and Washington has one (No. 89 Mitch Stewart).

The Trojans have never lost to Oregon in program history (22-0), despite a tough test in Eugene last year that saw USC pull off a 4-3 comeback victory. USC has a similarly impressive, though imperfect record against Washington (27-5 all-time).

Follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to stay in the loop on Trojan tennis!

Dream Come True

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In yesterday's edition of USC's student-run newspaper, The Daily Trojan, sports editor Julia Poe detailed USC QB Sam Darnold's evolution from a young Trojan fan to a Rose Bowl hero.

Darnold grew up in San Clemente, CA, collecting USC football jerseys and excelling in T-Ball and track & field before taking on basketball and football.

Poe traveled to Darnold's hometown and spoke with him, his parents and his high school coach, who all describe the redshirt sophomore as calm and soft-spoken, despite possessing the type of talent that might go to some people's heads.

His even keel has played out on the football field in USC's favor many times, from his fumble-turned touchdown against Colorado to a game-tying dime in his record-setting Rose Bowl victory.

Click here to read the full feature on Darnold!

McGillen Gallery: USC MVB vs. UCLA

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Last night, USC's 11th-ranked men's volleyball team lost its first match since March 3, at the hands of No. 6 UCLA.

Click here for the full recap!

Something had to give, as both teams entered the battle sporting five-match win streaks. The Bruins were too strong on the night for the Trojans, racking up a 3-0 victory.

USC team photographer John McGillen captured every second of the tough test:

Swimming Scholars

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Ten Trojans on the women's swimming and diving team earned Pac-12 Academic honors for the 2016-17 season, the conference announced today.

Click here for the full story!

Senior co-captain Anika Apostalon headlined the bunch. The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, who boasts a 3.92 GPA as a psychology major, was named a Pac-12 All-Academic first teamer.

Sophomore Elizabeth Stinson, meanwhile, earned second team honors for managing a 3.62 in economics.

Eight Trojans earned honorable mentions, including seniors Riley Hayward, Kelsey Kafka, junior Hannah Weiss, and sophomores Hanni Leach, Olivia Ontjes, Riley Scott, Allie Wooden and Maddie Wright.

This is the seventh year in a row that USC women's swimming and diving has placed more than 10 members on the conference's All-Academic list.

USC-WOMENS-swimming-2017-ucla-MCGILLEN-6602 (1).jpg

McGillen Gallery: USC Beach Volley vs. Cal

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USC's top-ranked beach volleyball team swept Cal yesterday to extend its win streak to 47 straight duals.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans didn't drop a set en route to the win that catapulted them to 17-0 on the season, as Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler clinched on Court 3.

After the dual match, the Trojans and Bears squared off in a pairs tournament. USC's top duo of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won two matches in the gold bracket to take the title and extend their win streak to 94 consecutive matches.

The Trojans head north this week to take on the winless San Francisco Dons in Santa Cruz, before partaking in the Monterey Invitational, where they'll face St. Mary's and San Jose State.

Click here to watch highlights of the match and be sure to follow the Trojans on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date!

Check out John McGillen's photos from USC's 47th straight victory:

McGillen Gallery: USC Baseball vs. SDSU

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Last night, USC baseball topped San Diego State, 2-0, for the team's third shutout of the season.

Click here for the full recap!

Junior Mason Perryman got the start and went five innings before relievers Connor Lunn and Bryce Dyrda came in to cement the shutout. Perryman improved to 2-0 on the season with the win.

On offense, two familiar faces led the way. Sophomore Lars Nootbaar went 3-for-4 on the night, while senior Corey Dempster knocked in a 2-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

The Trojans are now 15-8 on the season heading into this weekend's series at Arizona.

USC photographer John McGillen captured all the best moments from the Trojans' Tuesday night win at Dedeaux Field.

Hill Tops

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Yesterday, USC junior Deanna Hill was named the Pac-12 Track & Field Women's Track Athlete of the Week.

Click here for the full story!

Hill is the second Trojan in as many weeks to earn a conference honor, after USC's Nick Ponzio won on the men's side on March 21.

Hill did so by placing second in the 100m dash at the Aztec Invitational this week. Her PR of 11.18 is the second-fastest time in the country this season.

The Orlando, FL native also anchored USC's winning 4x100 relay at the meet. Hill has been consistently impressive in the 4x100, including helping the Women of Troy to a second place finish in the event at last year's NCAA Championships.

Next up for the Trojans is a trip to Austin, TX for the Texas Relays, which begin today and run through Friday.


2017 Spring Practice #7: Notes

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After Saturday's scrimmage, USC football hit the practice field again on a sunny Tuesday afternoon.
  • Head coach Clay Helton announced that LB Cam Smith sat with a stiff neck today. RB Ronald Jones II (toe), RB Aca'Cedric Ware (foot), WR/DB Keyshawn "Pie" Young (groin), TE Tyler Petite (shoulder) and RB Dominic Davis (concussion) also missed practice.
  • Helton called today's practice the best so far for the Trojan offense, praising USC's young receivers in particular for their performances.
  • Helton noted that he was impressed with the chemistry between Velus Jones and QB Sam Darnold, and with Darnold's ability to spread the ball out and not rely solely on his veteran receivers. "Usually, you get a little bit nervous that he would always look for Deontay [Burnett] or always look for Daniel [Imatorbhebhe], and he's really mixing the ball around nice," Helton said.
  • usc-football-spring-2017-mcgillen-6985.jpgDarnold noted that at every practice this spring, he's working towards building chemistry with the newer players on offense. He recalled a play during Saturday's scrimmage when RB Vavae Malepeai didn't turn around in time for a ball that went over his head, and used it to explain QB coach Tyson Helton's concept of "talking with the ball" in order to get on the same page. "It's just speaking to them with the ball," Darnold said. "If they're not around and the ball's over their head, it's kind of talking to them, like, 'Hey, get your head around. The ball's coming."
  • After the departure of three starters from the 2016 team, Darnold is also working towards getting more comfortable with the new offensive line. He joked that he's glad he doesn't have to throw over Zach Banner's 6-foot-8 frame anymore -- today, Chris Brown (a mere 6-foot-5) practiced at right tackle, after spending the first few weeks of camp at left guard.
  • Brown, who started the first game of last season at left guard, said he's comfortable on the left and right side, but that the transition between guard and tackle was more difficult, "just because you go from these big strong guys [at guard] to the fast guys that try to beat you off the edge [at tackle]."
  • Helton acknowledged that the staff had planned to switch up the offensive line at the midway point of spring ball, hence moving Brown to right tackle and Roy Hemsley to left guard today. Helton said they will remain at those positions for the remainder of spring ball, after which the staff will evaluate who fits best at which spot.
  • Chuma Edoga (pictured) looks ripe to earn the starting left tackle spot. Helton called Edoga athletic, but acknowledged that "he's always been a talented player with flashes of brilliance -- now we need a consistent 80 plays out of him. Not 30, not 40 -- 80, especially when you're at that left tackle position."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

Program Changer

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On Pro Day, USC All-American Shaun Cody interviewed a pair of his old coaches, Pete Carroll and Norm Chow. They both told the same story about the recruit that changed everything.

Sweep On The Water

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MPSFplayer-brigitta.jpgThe awards keep rolling in for USC's top-ranked women's water polo team, as senior Brigitta Games was named the MPSF Player of the Week and freshman Maud Megens was named MPSF Newcomer of the Week today.

Click here for the full story!

Games scored a career-high seven goals against San Jose State, plus four against Hartwick and one against Princeton for a total of 12 across a three-game span for the Trojans. Games has 43 goals on the season, which ties her total from 2016, a season after which she was named a first team All-American.

Megens, a freshman from Rotterdam, Netherlands, scored 10 goals in USC's three wins this week. Half of those came in a career-best performance vs. Princeton, where she also added three steals. Megens ranks just above Games on USC's scoring chart this season, with 46 goals, and ranks third among MPSF freshmen in scoring average (1.92 goals per game).

Games and Megens have done their part to maintain USC's NCAA-record 51-game win streak, which the Trojans will put on the line on Saturday against Arizona State. That match kicks off at 12:30 p.m. at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


It Runs in the Family

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

usc-mens-basketball-2017-asu-mcgillen-2327.jpgAt the end of every USC men's basketball practice, the players have to make a plethora of foul shots and jump shots before they can leave. Most guys hit their shots and then either head to the locker room or hang around with their teammates. But if you linger around, you'll see some of Southern California's finest putting in extra work, which typically includes freshman Jonah Mathews.

Mathews has a work ethic you cannot teach. The 6-foot-3 combo guard from Los Angeles came into USC with expectations to be an immediate contributor and he did just that. Mathews, who has a smooth and natural feel for the game, played over 20 minutes of action per game in his first season at USC. He was an integral part of this Trojan team that racked up 26 wins, a new program record.

While he suffered from the inconsistency that afflicts most freshmen, Mathews had his shining moments. The freshman poured in a career-high 26 points in an overtime thriller against Wyoming, and scored nine or more points in 10 Pac-12 games. Mathews has the intangibles to impact a game whether his shot's falling or not. And that's because, well, he's a Mathews.

"Jonah brings it every single day. In practice, off the court, he's a great guy to hang out with," said USC captain Jordan McLaughlin. "I played against his brother my first two years when he was at Cal. They go about it one way: when I step on the court I put in my hardest and give it my all."

That's the demeanor that Jonah and his older brother Jordan, readying for the Final Four at Gonzaga, got from their father Phil Mathews, one of the most decorated coaches in Los Angeles with over four decades of coaching experience.

"Everybody in LA knows Phil Mathews. He used to be a head junior college coach prior to being the head coach at San Francisco," said USC assistant coach Jason Hart, a Los Angeles native. "Phil's a straight forward, no nonsense guy. If you know who he is, you know what he stands for: family and basketball. You can't help but respect his body of work."

What Phil Mathews passed down to his kids from his decades of basketball experience is a strong work ethic and the ability to shoot. They're not exactly the Currys, but the Mathews family can really stroke it.

"They all shoot. Dad's good at shooting, Jordan (Mathews) is good at shooting too. Jonah shoots well. That's one of the key things," said McLaughlin.

Thumbnail image for usc-basketball-arizona-McKale-mcgillen-2017-0662.jpg
But Phil's shooting genes aren't nearly as valuable as the strong character and belief in hard work that he's passed down to his sons. That's what was appealing for USC's coaches. They weren't just getting a Top 100 high school player in the younger Mathews brother, they were getting a coach's son, and a great coach at that.

"He knew where to go at all times, he had good instincts, and good feel for the game," said Hart. "We knew that coming in, but we didn't know how far along he was. His skill set goes without saying, but his feel and knowledge of the game is strictly from being a coach's son. He knows the game of basketball. He's been a surprise and he's only going to keep getting better."

Truth be told, Jonah wasn't always a basketball player despite growing up with a coach for a father and a brother who was obsessed with the game.

"Basically ever since I was born, my dad was a basketball coach, but when I got to fifth grade I was never forced to play," Mathews said. "I hung out with my friends. I didn't really get serious about it."

All that changed, though, when Phil Mathews' career took him to the University of Nebraska to be an assistant coach in 2006.

"In Nebraska there's nothing else to do, so one day I was playing basketball in the gym with my brother. He was like, 'You should start playing. Trust me, you'll love it,'" Jonah recounted. "So I started playing and my dad brought me in and said, 'If you want to play this game, it's going to be serious. It's not going to be for fun.' And I said, 'Okay.' Ever since then, it took off and he's been coaching me through it every day."

From that moment on, Mathews' love for basketball grew stronger and stronger. Mathews said his dad taught him how to shoot before anything else. Phil worked with his kids non-stop and not even his laborious coaching schedule got in the way of developing his sons' games.

"My dad did a great job of balancing his job and helping us with basketball. We played AAU basketball while he recruited, so he'd come to our AAU tournament and watch us play," said Mathews. "Offseason is when we got to training and got in the gym. During the school year, he came to whatever game he could and after the game he'd tell us what we need to do."

It wasn't just his father, though, as Jonah learned a lot from his older brother as well.

"My brother is a true lover of the game. He would die for basketball," Jonah reflected. "Watching him play excited me and made me want to be like him. He showed me the way and I'm just following in his footsteps."

Thumbnail image for usc-basketball-arizona-McKale-mcgillen-2017-0053.jpgMathews, his siblings (two sisters and a brother) and his mother moved back to Los Angeles just a couple years after moving to the Midwest. Soon after, his father began coaching at UCLA, then moved on to become the head coach at Riverside City College, where he remains today. Jonah continued to get better year after year, ultimately developing a strong reputation as a college prospect that could really play the game. Phil Mathews' kids weren't going to fly under the radar.

"We knew we were getting a player that was going to come in, work hard and continue to get better," said Hart. "That's who he is. He's been doing that since he was really young. That's what Phil's instilled in him."

That's what makes basketball families unique. They can be your biggest fans and your toughest critics, but what's undeniable is the love they foster for the game.

"I fell in love with the game through my family, through watching my dad coach and my brother play," admitted Mathews. "Without that influence I don't know if I'd be playing today."

But Jonah is playing today, and he's starting to build his own career close to home, carrying on the family name.

"His dad trained him and his brother their whole life and now they're in college, so it's time for Jonah to keep the family legacy going," Hart said. "And he's doing a hell of a job."

Jonah might be exceeding expectations as a key contributor as just a teenager, but he's taking a moment every now and then to take in a special year. For the first time in their family's history, after all those empty gyms between Nebraska and Los Angeles, Jonah, Jordan and Phil Mathews are all competing at the college level at the same time.

"It's really surreal because I was watching my brother play when I was a freshman in high school and he was a senior," said Jonah. "For all my family members and us it was crazy to see how much we've grown, and how crazy it is to think back on how we wanted to be at this stage and now we're here."

This weekend, Jonah and Phil will have the opportunity to watch Jordan on college basketball's biggest and brightest stage at the Final Four in Phoenix. Jordan hit the key shot to help Gonzaga survive and advance out of their toughest game in the tournament against West Virginia. As he readies to rise into his sophomore year and take on a bigger role within the program, Jonah will undoubtedly lean on his family again for strength and inspiration, starting with the hopeful vision of Jordan cutting down the nets to end his college career.

Triple Trouble

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pac-12pair-tereseZ&nicolette.jpgYesterday, Terese Cannon and Nicolette Martin became the third USC women's beach volleyball duo to be named the Pac-12 Pair of the Week this season.

Click here for the full story!

Cannon and Martin went 5-0 in dual matches this week to help the Trojans remain undefeated on the season and keep their win streak alive.

The pair had not competed together before this year, as Martin formerly partnered with Allie Wheeler, but the they've shown remarkable chemistry, going 12-4 so far.

USC has now earned three of the four Pac-12 Pair of the Week awards this year, as Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won it Week 1 and Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer took it home last week.

The talented Trojans are now 16-0 on the season heading into this afternoon's match against Cal at 4 p.m.

Michaela Michael Goes Back-To-Back

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pac-12player-michael2.jpgFor the second week in a row, USC women's lacrosse senior Michaela Michael has been named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week.

Click here for the full story!

Michael earned the honor for scoring eight goals across two games, along with seven draw controls, three ground balls and two caused turnovers.

The Hillsborough, CA native helped No. 9 USC mount a comeback against No. 7 Stony Brook, but the Trojans couldn't get over the hump, falling 9-7 on the road. In USC's bounce-back game against Ohio State, Michael led the way with six goals -- the third time she's hit that mark in her career. The Trojans got back in the win column with a 16-7 beatdown of the Buckeyes.

Michael, a two-time IWLCA All-American, has earned more MPSF weekly honors than any player in program history.

She and the Trojans get back to business on Friday at 4 p.m. against Fresno State.

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 13

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Over the last few weeks, USC men's volleyball has won five straight matches and moved up to No. 11 in the nation.

The Trojans have momentum on their side as they head into Wednesday's battle with crosstown rival UCLA.

Head coach Jeff Nygaard sat down to discuss the growth of his team in the latest episode of Nygaard at the Net.

Trojan Zen

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Written by Alexa Palermo, USC blog contributor

On Saturday, Zach Banner and other current members of the USC football team joined Trojan Outreach and UpRising Yoga for Trojan Zen.

Banner won the USC Football Community Service Award this season and was awarded a grant to put together an event of his choosing. Banner has discovered a passion for yoga during his training for the NFL and he wanted to help educate local children on the mental and physical benefits.

The children from After School All-Stars and School On Wheels learned classic moves like "Warrior Pose" and how to create serenity wherever they are. Afterwards, the children got to keep their yoga mats and lined up for autographs and selfies with Banner and other football players such as Jordan Austin and Nico Falah.

Follow Trojan Outreach on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the latest events!

McGillen Gallery: USC Baseball vs. ASU

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USC baseball earned a 2-1 series win over Arizona State this weekend, helping the Trojans move into a second-place tie early in the Pac-12 standings.

The Trojans opened up the series with an extra-inning 5-4 victory over the Sun Devils. Sophomore Lars Nootbaar and senior Corey Dempster both drove in RBIs on what would be a solid weekend for both.

After the 11-inning slugfest, the Trojans showed their fatigue in a 7-0 Saturday loss.

But they got back on track on Sunday, taking the rubber match by a 7-4 margin. Nootbaar and Dempster drove in 3 combined RBI, and Dempster extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

The Trojans are now 14-8 on the season with a 4-2 mark in Pac-12 play. They host San Diego State in a nonconference match tomorrow at 6 p.m. Click here for tickets!

Check out all of John McGillen's photos from Sunday's win over the Sun Devils:

Join the Team

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mbb-newseasondeposits.jpgAfter a record-setting season, USC men's basketball has proven that it is a program on the rise under head coach Andy Enfield. The next step is creating an atmosphere at the Galen Center to match the energy and excitement on the court.

Click here to put down a season ticket deposit for 2017-18.

Keep Streaking

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USC's top-ranked women's beach volleyball team went 4-0 at the Gamecock Grand Slam -- Dan Apol Memorial this weekend to improve to 16-0 on the season and keep its 46-match win streak alive.

The Trojans kicked off the weekend with a 4-1 win over No. 4 Florida State -- their third win over the Seminoles this season. Later that day, USC took on tournament host South Carolina, and swept the No. 9 Gamecocks, 5-0.

On Sunday, USC racked up a 4-1 win over No. 13 Stetson before downing No. 9 Georgia State, 5-0.

USC's top pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes went undefeated on the weekend, as did No. 3 pair Terese Cannon and Nicolette Martin and the duo of Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer on Court 5.

Claes and Hughes now claim a 91-match win streak together.

The Trojans are back home this week, taking on Cal tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Merle Norman Stadium.


Half-Century Mark

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This weekend, the No. 1 USC women's water polo team won its 49th, 50th and 51st consecutive games to extend its NCAA-record win streak.

With wins over No. 10 Princeton, No. 14 San Jose State and No. 18 Hartwick, the Trojans remained undefeated (24-0) on the season, with just four regular season games remaining.

Senior Stephania Haralabidis chipped in seven goals in the three games, helping her take over as USC's No. 2 all-time goal scorer.

Senior Brigitta Games also had a big weekend, punching in 12 goals, including a career-high seven against San Jose State.

With Haralabidis and Games departing after this season ends, the Trojans are thankful for the emergence of freshman Maud Megens. She scored 10 goals in USC's three wins and is USC's second-leading scorer this year.

The Trojans now lock in for a tough final stretch, hosting Arizona State and Stanford before heading to Cal and UCLA to close out the regular season. The MPSF Championships are on deck after that, just before the grand finale: the NCAA Championships.

2017 Spring Practice #6: Clay Helton

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Written by Max Holm and Alexa Palermo

USC got back to work on a warm Saturday morning for its sixth practice of the spring. The Trojans held their first scrimmage in front of a large crowd of fans and former players.

Watch USC head coach Clay Helton's full press conference after Saturday's practice:

Gallien To Step Down

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USC women's tennis head coach Richard Gallien announced today (March 24) that he will end his 22-year tenure at the conclusion of this season.

"It has been a privilege to have coached so many brilliant young women in my 22 fantastic years at this remarkable university," Gallien said. "All but two student-athletes who played for me received their degrees, something of which I am very proud."

"I look forward to coaching our team through the postseason and finishing strong. And in the future, I will always be rooting for all the teams at USC."

Click here for the full story.

Gallien, who began coaching at USC in 1996, is a five-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year. He sports a 385-157 (71.0 percent) record at USC, not including 8 wins and a loss vacated due to NCAA penalty. The Trojans have made the NCAA Tournament each year since Gallien has arrived, including three trips to the semifinals and five to the quarterfinals.

This year, the Women of Troy are 5-7 overall (0-3 in Pac-12 play), with eight regular season matches remaining.


Play For LA

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33629537625_93f6c8f5c7_k.jpgToday, the Los Angeles City Council honored USC's football, women's soccer and women's water polo teams for their accomplishments last season.

Sam Darnold, flanked by Deontay Burnett, Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Cam Smith, made a speech on behalf of the Rose-Bowl winning football team and received a commemorative memo. Dom Randle spoke on behalf of USC's national champion women's soccer team, while Stephania Haralabidis spoke for national champion women's water polo.

City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Curren Price, both USC alumni, conducted the presentation for the Trojans.

The Kid

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Coming off of an impressive freshman season, USC guard De'Anthony Melton has been invited to the USA Basketball U19 Junior National Team Training Camp this summer.

Melton started 25 of 36 games for the Trojans this year, and averaged 8.3 points. His 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game ranked second on the team.

The youngest player on USC's roster was especially impressive on defense this year, racking up 69 steals -- the third most of any freshman in the nation. He ranked in the Top 20 in rebounds and assists as well.

At the training camp, which takes place in Colorado Springs, Melton will have the chance to compete for a spot on the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup Team. The 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup takes place in Cairo, Egypt from July 1-9, 2017.


Reedy and Ryan

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usc-mens-swimming-diving-utah-2017-mcgillen-1708.jpgOn Saturday, USC senior Reed Malone will don the Trojan swim cap for the very last time.

The Winnetka, IL native started off his final NCAA Championship run with a bang on Wednesday, helping teammates Dylan Carter, Patrick Mulcare and Santo Condorelli secure a school record in the 800y free relay, earning a fifth place finish and an All-American award.

Malone can now call himself a six-time All-American, five-time Pac-12 champion, and two-time NCAA Champion, with more accolades potentially on the horizon as competition continues this weekend.

But perhaps no honor defines Malone's character better than his election as the only three-time captain in program history.

Malone believes that since arriving at Troy, his trust in his teammates has fostered their trust in him as a leader.

"I believe in other people," he said. "And I value other people's opinions and other people's skills. I think a lot of people get too worked up about doing stuff on their own, but I value the people around me and what they have that I don't."

Malone said that growing up, his family instilled these ideals in him, helping him "accept other people for however they come" and learn things from other people to make himself better.

Malone's brother, Ryan, was hugely influential in those regards. Ryan (pictured, middle) is 24 -- two years and a month older than Reed -- and he has autism. He struggles with verbal and social skills, and has the propensity to get anxious and act out in public.

Though Reed has been in the middle of a few difficult situations with Ryan, he's always made the best of them, and has translated those experiences directly into his time as a team captain at USC. Dealing with Ryan's outbursts taught Reed to "stay calm in pressure situations and just relax," and dealing with Ryan's limited verbal skills forced Reed to learn to read people without them directly expressing their feelings -- two skills that have surely helped him lead his team for the past three years.

IMG_4491.JPG"The more I think about my good qualities, they come from being around Ryan," says Reed.

It can be difficult at times to connect through conversation, but Reed and Ryan have bonded during their time in the pool together. Ryan swam on the Special Olympics team in high school, and still swims competitively from time to time. When Reed visits home, he gets in the pool with Ryan and helps him with his stroke, which motivates him to swim much faster.

"He's not Michael Phelps or anything, but he's not bad," says Reed of his older brother, who's competing in a Special Olympics meet this weekend at the same time as NCAAs.

While the brothers have both been involved in swimming since they were young, Reed says Ryan has never fully understood the level at which he competes, but that he enjoys attending Reed's meets and cheering him on.

Reed recalls a moment in his teenage years when he realized how much swimming could mean for him and Ryan.

"When I was 14, I had an age group state meet and I won a bunch of events -- it was pretty cool. I got all these medals and I put them in my bag. I got home from the meet and my dad had coached Ryan to say, 'Oh, good job, Reedy' -- he calls me Reedy. He heard the medals jingling in my bag, and I took them out, and was like, 'Do you want to put them on?' and he just smiled. So I put them on, and the smile on his face when he had them around his neck -- I'll never, ever forget that. A huge reason why I swim is if I can bring that much joy to someone who's so important to me, just by swimming up and down a pool, it makes it that much better. I enjoy the sport as it is, but if I can make him so happy by being relatively successful ... it's really special."

49 Is Fine

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USC women's water polo extended its NCAA-record win streak to 49 matches yesterday with a 12-3 victory over No. 10 Princeton.

Click here for the full recap!

Freshman Maud Megens tied her career high with five goals on the day. Junior captain Brianna Daboub added two, and seven Trojans founded the back of the net in total.

Megens, who hails from Rotterdam, Netherlands, moved into second place on USC's scoring list this season with 44 goals. Senior Stephania Haralabidis boasts 64.

The top-ranked Trojans take on No. 14 San Jose State at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Hartwick at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in a double-header at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

2017 Spring Practice #5: Notes

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The Trojans had several distinguished guests at practice, highlighted by Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.
  • RB Aca'cedric Ware has a foot sprain and is doubtful for Saturday's practice, per head coach Clay Helton.
  • Palmer-Practice.jpgWhile the offense returns QB Sam Darnold and several other core talents, Helton sees "more work to do offensively than maybe defensively" at this point.
  • Among the question marks, both offensive tackle spots are open. Chuma Edoga is a polished veteran, giving him the inside track at one of the openings. The other side is more of an open competition and Helton is "extremely impressed" with Andrew Vorhees, a freshman to watch.
  • The offense also has several opportunities at wide receiver and Velus Jones Jr. is seizing a role. He is not a traditional target like Darreus Rogers or JuJu Smith-Schuster, but he "seems to have created an explosion play each and every day," said Helton.
  • While the defense has a lot of experience, veteran linebacker Cam Smith is looking for a partner inside to replace captain Michael Hutchings. John Houston Jr. is first in line. "John is one of the guys I am really excited about. I liked him a lot last year. He just couldn't really crack into the lineup," said defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast about Houston. "I think he's got a real good skill set. I think he's instinctual. I am really looking forward to seeing his progress."
  • Houston learned a lot from watching Hutchings, and he still taps into his knowledge whenever he sees him. "Mike is still a leader, so I still take notes from him," said Houston. "He tells me different keys each time that I see him. So coming after him is one of the best things that I could do because he has a lot of experience with the defense. He knows it like both sides of his hands, so I feel like having him as my right hand is going to help me out this season."
  • Pendergast has noticed that sophomore inside linebacker candidate Jordan Iosefa picked up some tricks from Hutchings as well. "Jordan gained a lot of valuable experience last year as well. He's a very good communicator. He has a good feel for what we want to do defensively. He had an opportunity to watch Mike for a year, so that was big for him."
  • With Hutchings gone, Iosefa is ready to lean on Smith's brain and precognitive abilities. "He's helped me understand what's going to happen first down, second down, third down," Houston said about Smith. "He helped me understand what Coach Clancy's thinking because he would know what Coach Clancy was thinking. He would kind of expect it, and it's the same thing that goes for me. I kind of expect what Coach Clancy's going to call."
  • Freshman LB Tayler Katoa is trying to work into the mix as well, but he's making a positional change, so he has a lot to learn. "He's a guy that hasn't played a lot of linebacker, but he's a raw athlete," said Pendergast about Katoa. "He's very receptive, takes coaching very well. Those are the kind of guys you like to coach."
  • The Trojans are allowed three live tackling days out of the 15 practices and Saturday's scrimmage will be one of them. The scrimmage is open to the public and will be on Howard Jones Field at 10 a.m.
  • Here is head coach Clay Helton on the legends at practice and much more:

All-Around Great

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Today, the 2016-17 Learfield Directors' Cup released its Division I winter standings, and USC currently sits in fifth place.

The Learfield Directors' Cup, which rewards the top all-around athletic programs in the nation, currently slots the Trojans behind only Stanford, Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State, with 492.0 total points.

USC was ranked No. 8 in the fall standings after a women's soccer national championship and a Rose Bowl-winning finish to the football season. But the Trojans bolstered a spot in the Top 5 with a 4th place finish in women's indoor track & field, a 9th place finish in women's swimming & diving and a 21st place finish in men's indoor track & field during the winter season.

The Trojans may earn another boost when the men's swimming & diving championships wrap up this weekend.

Last year, USC ranked 17th at the winter check-in point, but made a late surge in the spring to finish No. 4 overall. With three Trojan teams currently ranked No. 1 in the nation (men's golf, women's water polo and women's beach volleyball), it's safe to assume USC could move up the ranks once again.

The next update to the standings will come on April 6.

USC_Womens_Soccer_NCCA_College_Cup_Champions_WVU_McGillen_3809 (2).jpg

Great One

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USC athletic director Lynn Swann, a pro and college football Hall of Famer, is set to collect his latest award, the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation's "Great Ones" trophy.

Click here for more.

"The Great Ones Award is our Stanley Cup. Each year we add a new name to it for that individual's contribution to his sport," said Bill McCoy, president of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation. "Lynn Swann and Jim Murray were friends for many years. It seems fitting we are honoring both their legacies with this award."


The Streak

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Tennis fans might know Steve Johnson as the United States' bronze-medal winning doubles player at the Rio Olympics, but the Orange County native made a name for himself at USC long before that.

While at USC, "Stevie" pulled off one of the most incredible accomplishments in the history of college tennis: a 72-match win streak that included two NCAA Singles Championships.

His fortitude helped lift the Trojans to four straight national titles as well (2009-10-11-12).

Check out The Streak, a short film by FloTennis detailing Johnson's legendary accomplishment.

State of Troy: March 2017

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Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

Swann on men's basketball's NCAA Tournament run...

usc-basketball-Baylor-NCAA-tournament-2017-mcgillen-Lr-7086.jpgNumber one, I thought the season was terrific. The coaches and players would like to still be playing basketball and have a run at the national championship, but when you look back at it, and you see that they won more games in a season than any other team in the history of USC men's basketball, that is a significant accomplishment. They validated their tournament selection by beating Providence and SMU despite a lot of so-called experts suggesting that they should not have been there. I think the players saw that they had a good chance to beat Baylor and be in the Sweet 16, and so as an athlete, that is why they are disappointed. They are not disappointed in their season, but they know they could have gone further. I hope they all come back and improve and get better because I think there is room for improvement. This was a great experience for them and I was pleased to have been there with them.

Swann on hiring a new women's basketball head coach...

I am very involved with this process. The base skill set requires that any candidate be able to teach, manage, organize and recruit. Beyond that, I am looking for someone who can develop and build relationships to get the most out of the team. You have to be able to reach the student-athletes individually to get them to be better people and better players. Hiring a head coach in today's environment, under NCAA and Pac-12 rules, is not as simple as it used to be because there is so much more you have to do off the court that if you are not prepared and organized, you get behind and it is tough to catch up. So, I am looking for someone who has that experience, mostly former head coaches, but we are still looking for talent, and if I believe that someone who has been an assistant and not been a head coach has that ability, I would not hesitate to bring them in and talk to them.

Swann on No. 1 women's water polo's record-setting 48-match winning streak...

To maintain that type of consistency and excellence, there are two things you need. One, you need the talent to pull it off. But, you also need a coach who can keep that team together and knows how to utilize that talent. Jovan Vavic has so many national championship trophies in his office that it is unbelievable. He is the key. He knows how to recruit and train the right student-athletes to give them the confidence and game plan to succeed. Even when his team does not play its best, they still find a way to win because of their preparation, attention to detail and technique.

Swann on No. 1 beach volleyball...

usc-beach-volleyball-2017-zuma-ucla-mcgillen-7466.jpgI have seen coaches who were driven, and I have seen coaches who were talented. Anna Collier is both. She makes it fun and fresh for her players. I was fortunate enough to see them firsthand on the beach in Malibu defeat Pepperdine and UCLA. Our young women are competitive and willing to get after it 100 percent of the time. I am looking forward to the rest of their season and I expect them to continue to do well and make history.

Swann on spring football...

The first challenge for Clay Helton is to get everybody over the fact that we went to the Rose Bowl and we won. You have to refocus. That was January, and we are now moving forward. The goal is to win the Pac-12 championship. You have to do that first, so that is what we want to get accomplished. We are trying to build the depth with our younger players to get to the level of the playoff teams like Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State. We need to be able to rotate players in without losing a level of performance and play. That's what we are striving to do, so that our backup players are not backups but the next guy ready to go in and get the job done.

Swann on the rest of the spring competition...

I am impressed by men's and women's golf, both ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Women of Troy recently won a tournament in Palos Verdes, while I watched the men dominate the field in Las Vegas. Our men's tennis team is in the top 10, while the women have hit a bump in the road, but I expect them to overcome it. Our women's lacrosse team has done very well, going back East and challenging itself against top competition. People are going to see a West Coast team in the East and say, 'I want to be there.' I really like head coach Lindsey Munday's intensity, and she is doing the right thing in terms of her schedule. I see the track and field team every morning working out. The coaches are putting them through their paces, and you can see the enthusiasm about what they have in this team. They had a good indoor season, but the goals are even bigger as the outdoor season begins. And baseball, I enjoyed watching the Trojans at Dodger Stadium, down 3-0 most of the game, come back and beat UCLA in extra innings. If they continue to play with that kind of grit, they will have a great season. Men's volleyball continues to improve, despite some key injuries, and is building for the future. As for our rowing program, they just finished their training camp and I am looking forward to their season and being on the water with them for their competitions. Overall, spring is the busiest time of year, and I think football, women's soccer and men's basketball set the tone with their high-profile success. The enthusiasm is contagious and we are excited to see it spread throughout every sport.

USC Pro Day 2017 With Shaun Cody

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As USC Pro Day 2017 unfolded on Wednesday, USC All-American Shaun Cody connected with Trojans past and present to get their perspectives on the young men competing and the importance of Pro Day leading up to the NFL Draft.

Trojans Do a Dozen

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USC's top-ranked beach volleyball team improved to 12-0 on the season and extended its winning streak to 42 matches with a victory over LMU yesterday.

Click here for the full recap!

Terese Cannon and Nicolette Martin served as the clinchers as the Trojans served up a 5-0 win to keep their all-time record against LMU unblemished (16-0).

USC's standout duo of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes dropped their first set in uncharacteristic fashion, but bounced back with a dominant 21-10 win in the second set, and a 15-3 tiebreak victory.

The hard-fought win was the duo's 85th consecutive win.

After locking up the victory, the pair competed in the USC vs. LMU Pairs Tournament, winning its first two matches before splitting up in the finals. Hughes paired with Cannon in the finals, earning a 21-14, 21-18 victory over teammates Katrina Kernochan and Allie Wheeler.

The undefeated Trojans head to Columbia, S.C. this weekend for the Gamecock Grand Slam -- Dan Apol Memorial tournament, where they'll face No. 4 FSU, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 9 Georgia State and No. 13 Stetson.

Walk-On Walk-Off

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At athletic programs across the nation, it's unlikely for a walk-on to make an immediate impact in his or her first appearance on a team. That's what made yesterday that much more special for USC women's tennis senior Ines Guinard.

Guinard, an industrial and systems engineering major who has accepted an offer to work at Bank of America Merrill Lynch upon graduation, joined the team this fall after being spotted hitting on the practice courts by the women's tennis coaches.

Yesterday, she made her first appearance in a dual match for the Trojans, and with all eyes on her, clinched a 4-3 victory for USC.

After dropping the doubles point, USC rattled off three straight singles victories to charge ahead to a 3-1 lead. But the Lions clawed back to even things up with two three-set wins. With the score knotted at 3-3, spectators, teammates and coaches gravitated toward Court 6, where Guinard was locked in battle with LMU's Tatijana Sheikhan.

Guinard took the first set in a tiebreaker, but dropped the second. With the match on the line, she powered through to win the third set, 6-3, to win her first-ever collegiate tennis match and clinch the win for the Trojans.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 5-7 on the season heading into conference play. USC kicks off its Pac-12 stretch with a road trip to take on the Washington schools this weekend.

Follow the Women of Troy on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date!

@inesguinard is one of the best sport stories I have ever been a part of. Ines Guinard just secured the deciding match in a 4-3 win over LMU. What makes this story so special is that Ines was a normal student in early January, a senior, finishing up her Industrial Engineering degree, looking forward to her job as an investment banker upon graduation. For whatever reason, Ines slipped through the cracks for 3.5 years at USC until we saw her practicing and saw her true tennis ability. Once @zoescandalis and I shook her hand, we knew we had to have her on the team. Now here she is making history and blazing her own trail. I am not surprised, she is emotionally intelligent, doesn't flinch under stress, extremely positive, always building up the team, and loves to compete. So so so great to have her on our team for her last few months of school!

A post shared by West Nott (@westnott) on

Trojan Outreach Looks Inward

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Throughout the month of March, USC's Trojan Outreach program has been internal and reflective.

The program recently brought in Athletes for Hope to hold a workshop at the March Head Coaches meeting to educate the coaches on why and how to give back to the community.

Additionally, USC student-athletes participated in a workshop with PlayWorks at their most recent Trojan Athletic Senate Meeting. The student-athletes learned different methods to interact with and inspire children, which will come in handy this fall, when they'll partner with PlayWorks once a week to join local LAUSD students at recess to demonstrate the "Power of Play."

Next up for Trojan Outreach is the "Trojan Zen" event, where Trojan football alum Zach Banner will partner with UpRising Yoga to educate local children on the mental and physical benefits of yoga. That event will take place on campus this Saturday.

Follow Trojan Outreach on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date!

USC Pro Day 2017

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USC Pro Day 2017

Photo Gallery: 2017 USC Pro Day

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USC Pro Day gathered the Trojans top NFL prospects as well as scouts and coaches from the league's best teams inside the John McKay Center and out on Cromwell Field. The Trojans were physically tested in every which way and our John McGillen captured the combine through his lens.

March Mayhem

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USC's second-ranked women's golf team picked up another win yesterday, when it topped the field at the SDSU March Mayhem event.

The Trojans, who won the event last year as well, beat four teams in just a day and a half to earn the crown.

First, USC took out No. 16 Yale, 4-1. Next, the Trojans swept No. 9 Old Dominion, 5-0, to advance to the semifinals against No. 12 Fresno State.

The Trojans took down the Bulldogs 3.5-1.5 to set up a battle with BYU in the finals. In that match, the Trojans took control and managed a 4.5-0.5 win.

The win is USC's third of the season, and the team has its eyes set on another when it takes on Pepperdine and Northwestern on Sunday.

2017 Spring Practice #4: Notes

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On this drizzly Tuesday afternoon, USC football got back to business after taking a week off for spring break.
  • usc-football-spring-2017-030717-mcgillen-7343.jpgOL Nico Falah (back), LB Porter Gustin (hand) and WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (stomach bug) were among the players who practiced today after taking spring break to recuperate from injury and illness.
  • A stomach illness hit Imatorbhebhe hard, causing him to lose about 20 pounds -- 9 of which he estimates he's gained back. While others traveled home or elsewhere for spring break, the redshirt freshman stayed on campus to get back into "football shape." He's doing everything possible, especially in the mental game, to take the next step, with veteran receivers like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darreus Rogers, De'Quan Hampton and Isaac Whitney gone. "I just want to make sure that I'm calm at times because I feel like I knew the plays, but you know it's just sometimes it can be nerve wracking," Imatorbhebhe said. "Just going out there in the speed of the game, you can kind of get distracted."
  • Fellow redshirt freshman wideout Tyler Vaughns (pictured) is also putting in the work to potentially earn a starting spot, which includes "going into meeting rooms when nobody's there, going to the field on weekends when you don't have practice -- just trying to perfect your craft," in his words.
  • Vaughns said the lessons he learned from the vets of the team have been key in his development. "Darreus always said pinkies up," Vaughs explained. "JuJu: Just to have fun out there, perfect your craft." Vaughns also noted that going up against Iman "Biggie" Marshall and Adoree' Jackson in practice every day was "a real competition." "It wasn't a year wasted," he said of his redshirt season.
  • The young wide receiving corps, including Vaughns and Imatorbhebhe, is getting a little more crowded this spring. Head coach Clay Helton is giving sophomore Keyshawn "Pie" Young the opportunity to compete at wide receiver, and senior Jalen Greene will be focusing primarily on the position (as opposed to QB). Helton compared Greene's ability to contribute at different positions to former Steelers and Redskins WR Antwaan Randle El. He also praised Young's "very natural route running" and "very natural ball skills."
  • While Greene drew a Randle El comparison, Helton also compared redshirt freshman Velus Jones Jr. to a recently retired NFL wideout. "He's kind of that Percy Harvin type, the ability to run great routes, explosive plays in the pass game, but then be able to hand him the ball on the outside perimeter and do some special things," Helton said. "He's a guy that I think a redshirt year really helped."
  • While the young wideouts drew most of the attention, junior RB Ronald Jones II also showed off his hands at practice, hauling in a deep ball from Sam Darnold for a TD. Helton says he can already see new RB coach Deland McCullough having a positive effect on Jones and the run game. "He's on top of things -- he's not one of those coaches that has his hands in his pockets -- he's coaching nonstop," Helton said. "I like his diligence, I like his attention to detail, and I can see the guys already progressing from it, especially RoJo right off the bat."
  • Darnold was sharp most of practice, but redshirt freshman DB Jamel Cook was able to pick him off. "Proud for him today," said Helton of Cook. "He's really turning the corner. We've all known that he's a talented kid and the light kind of came on today, so that's good to see."
  • Helton added that the staff is trying Cook out at nickel back due to his "unique cover skills, the ability to rush off the edge" and length. "He has great quickness in pressures, he's good enough to play man coverage, he's a good run support defender off the edge, so he gives us something there that we want to take a look at. We know he can be a good safety, but we're looking for additional nickels also."
  • Overall, Helton was impressed with the defense's energy on the day. "Love the mentality that they're playing with, and you can just see the experience that's running in the defensive front as well as the secondary carrying over."
  • Watch Helton's full press conference below:

Strong Start

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pac12player-ponzio.jpgUSC kicked off the outdoor track & field season with an impressive showing at the Trojan Invitational this weekend.

The Trojans won all four relays and eight individual events, including men's shot put, which helped redshirt junior All-American Nick Ponzio earn Pac-12 Men's Field Athlete of the Week.

Ponzio won his first ever Pac-12 weekly award by winning the shot put competition with a 62-7.75 (+0.8), which leads the NCAA early in the season.

Brittany Mann won the event on the women's side for the Trojans. Amalie Iuel won the women's 400m, Kendall Ellis won the women's 200m, Destinee Brown won the women's 100m, Dior Hall won the women's 100m hurdles and Margauz Jones won the women's long jump.

On the men's side, Marquis Morris (110m hurdles) and Ponzio topped the field.

Next up for the Trojans is the Jim Klein Combined Events in Santa Barbara, CA and the Aztec Invitational in San Diego, CA.

Michael and Miller Make Moves

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pac-12player-michael.jpgYesterday, two members of USC women's lacrosse earned conference honors, as senior attacker Michaela Michael was named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week and freshman midfielder Kerrigan Miller was named the MPSF Rookie of the Week.

Click here for the full release!

Michael earned recognition for scoring 11 goals in USC's three games last week: three against New Hampsire, four against Dartmouth and four against Cornell. By the end of the week, she had recorded her 31st career hat trick, the most in program history. She also boasts more MPSF weekly honors than any player in program history; this is her seventh. The Hillsborough, CA native also finished the week with six assists, 17 points and 14 draw controls.

While Michael earned her seventh weekly honor from the conference, Miller earned the second of her young career. The Bayport, NY product scored 10 goals and added one assist, eight ground balls, six draw controls, and four caused turnovers for the Trojans this week. Her 19 goals this season are second only to Michael's 22.

Michael and Miller's efforts helped USC top New Hampshire, 15-4, and Dartmouth, 19-8, but couldn't help the  No. 4 Trojans take down No. 11 Cornell.

The 6-2 Trojans hope to get back on track when they travel to face Stony Brook and Ohio State this week.

Follow the Women of Troy on Twitter to stay up-to-date on scheduling, scores and awards.


Super Stephania

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The top scorer on the nation's top team -- Stephania Haralabidis of USC women's water polo -- picked up another MPSF Player of the Week award today.

Click here for the full story!

The senior scored two goals in USC's record-setting 47th consecutive win on Friday and five goals in USC's comeback victory against Hawai'i on Saturday.

After setting the win streak record in a dominant 15-2 win over Indiana, the Trojans saw the streak nearly go up in smoke the very next day.

The Trojans trailed by two goals in the third period vs. the Rainbow Wahine, but clawed their way back to even things up before Haralabidis set up for a 5-meter penalty shot. With just 19 seconds to go in the game, she fired it into the back of the net to earn a 9-8 victory for USC.

The goal was Haralabidis' 63rd of the season, which ties her total output from last year and is one short of her total from 2015 (64), which ranks T-10th for single-season scoring in USC women's history.

With 248 career goals, Haralabidis ranks third in USC history. She needs just eight more to move into sole possession of second place, passing Cutino winner and Hungarian national team player Aniko Pelle.

Haralabidis' next shot comes on Thursday vs. Princeton at 5 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


Pac-12 Power

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USC baseball opened up Pac-12 play this weekend by hosting Washington State and winning the series, 2-1.

The Trojans started off with a bang, taking the series opener, 12-3, behind a stellar outing from freshman Chris Clarke (7 IP, 7 K, 8 H, 3 R (2 earned)) and an impressive offensive output. On his 22nd birthday, senior Corey Dempster led the Trojans with 3 RBI on 2 hits.

On Saturday, USC downed WSU once again to take the series. Dempster drove in 2 runs on the day, as did sophomore Brandon Perez and freshman Blake Sabol, to help the Trojans rack up a 4-2 win.

After two straight games with 11+ hits, USC struggled in the last game of the series against the Cougars, only connecting 6 times. The Trojans put a game-tying run on the plate in the ninth, but couldn't come through, falling 4-1.

The Trojans now stand at 12-7 on the season (2-1 in Pac-12 play) heading into today's game at UC Irvine at 6:30 p.m.

Catch the latest episode of The Road, featuring head coach Dan Hubbs, Dempster, Clarke and pitcher Brad Wegman:

Nine Lives

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This weekend, USC women's swimming & diving team finished ninth at the 2017 NCAA Championships.

It was the ninth straight Top 9 finish for the Trojans, who wound up with 176 points. That placed them behind national champion Stanford, Cal, Texas A&M, Georgia, Texas, Louisville, NC State and Indiana.

En route to the ninth place finish, seven Trojans earned All-American status. Freshman Louise Hansson led the way, getting the nod in five events (200y M.R., 400y M.R., 400y F.R. 200y IM, 100y Fly), while senior Anika Apostalon was named a three-time All-American to close out her career with nine such honors.

Sophomores Hanni Leach and Riley Scott were named a two-time All-Americans, while freshman Stanzi Moseley, sophomore Kristen Vose and sophomore Maddie Wright rounded out USC's All-American honorees.

Hansson, Mosely, Vose and Apostalon helped USC finish fourth overall in the 400y free relay, one of its best finishes of the weekend. USC finished fifth in the 200y medley relay, and Hansson herself placed third in the 100y fly.

The Trojans will lose five seniors to graduation now that the season is over: Anika Apostalon, Chelsea Chenault, Riley Hayward, Kelsey Kafka and Lexie Malazdrewicz. But a talented group of young swimmers and divers has the future beaming bright for USC.


Power Through

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pac-12pair-jenna&jo.jpgUSC beach volleyball juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer have been named the Pac-12 Pair of the Week for their efforts in helping USC win seven matches in three days at the Outrigger Hawai'i Invitational,

Click here for the full story on Jenna and Jo!

On the pristine shores of Honolulu, HI, Belton and Kremer went 7-0 and dropped just a single set in wins against Nebraska (twice), No. 4 Florida State (twice), Utah, No. 7 Arizona and No. 5 Hawai'i.

Belton and Kremer played at the No. 5 slot all week, and were one of two USC pairs to go undefeated in the seven matches, along with Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes on Court 1.

Belton and Kremer are now 9-1 together on the season, while the Trojans are 11-0 as a team and riding a 41-match win streak dating back to March 11, 2016.

The Trojans aim to extend that streak tomorrow when they host LMU at noon.

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 12

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USC men's volleyball is currently riding a four-match win streak, going unbeaten against Lewis, George Mason, Harvard and Sacred Heart to improve to 10-12 on the season.

In the latest edition of Nygaard At The Net, head coach Jeff Nygaard discussed the progression of his younger players, carrying momentum into the MPSF Tournament and more.

Perfect 10

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pac-12player-smith (1).jpg
After winning 10 straight singles matches and helping USC men's tennis go 4-1 in five matches this week, USC freshman Riley Smith has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.

Click here for the full story!

Against Lehigh, he and fellow freshman Brandon Holt clinched the doubles point in what would become a 7-0 win. He didn't play singles in that match, but in the second match of a double header that day, Smith made quick work of his Texas Tech singles opponent. His win proved crucial in USC's 4-3 win over the Red Raiders.

In USC's next three matches (vs. USF, Oklahoma and Baylor in the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge at Indian Wells), Smith went undefeated in both doubles and singles.

His efforts against the Bulls and the Sooners helped USC tally a 4-0 and 4-1 win, respectively, to advance to the final of the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge. In the championship match, the Trojans faced the Baylor Bears, whom they had defeated, 4-2, earlier this season.

But despite Smith helping USC win points in doubles and singles, the No. 7 Trojans fell, 4-3, to the No. 6 Bears.

Smith and the Trojans are having a strong year. While the team is 17-3 overall in dual match play, Smith himself is 14-1, with most of his individual wins coming at the No. 6 slot. He and Holt are 12-1 and ranked No. 19 in the nation together.

The Trojans get an extended break before hitting the court again vs. Oregon on March 31.

For the Record

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wwp-48consecutivewins.jpgNo. 1 USC women's water polo collected its 47th and 48th consecutive victories on its spring break trip to Hawaii, extending the nation's all-time longest winning streak. The Women of Troy cruised past No. 15 Indiana, 15-2, to secure the record, but needed a come back to slide past No. 8 Hawaii on the road.

Click here for the Indiana recap.

Click here for the Hawaii recap.

The Women of Troy remain undefeated on the campaign, 21-0, having not lost a match since the 2015 NCAA Tournament. USC has played only one match at home all season, but the reigning national champions begin a five-match home stand at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Thursday against Princeton.

Photo Gallery: USC Falls To Baylor

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USC men's basketball ended its exciting NCAA Tournament run last night with a tight loss to Baylor.

The Trojans' 'never say die' attitude earned them respect from fans and media members alike throughout their run, and it was on full display against the Bears Sunday night.

Check out all of John McGillen's photos from the second round matchup:

Forty Minutes of Fight

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Forty Minutes of Fight

Out With A Bang

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USC men's basketball ended its NCAA Tournament run tonight with a second round loss to No. 3 seed Baylor.

The Trojans fought for 40 minutes before dropping an 82-78 decision.

Catch all the highlights of USC's final game of the season here:

All They Do Is Win

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water polo.jpgOn Thursday, USC women's water polo made history.

With a 15-2 win over Indiana, the No. 1 Trojans won their 47th consecutive game, setting a new NCAA women's water polo record.

The Trojans have won every game since the final matchup of the 2015 season, a consolation win over Cal. During the 2016 season, the national champion Trojans were a perfect 26-0, and this year, they've opened up a 21-0 start to bring their total win streak to 48 after another win over Hawai'i yesterday.

USC's current 48-game win streak eclipses the old NCAA record of 46, set by UCLA from 2007-09. It also tops the USC men's record: 44 consecutive victories from 2005-06.

USC head coach Jovan Vavic now boasts a 537-142 (.791) record with the Women of Troy and a 1055-226 (.824) record overall at USC, including 14 national championships between the men's and women's teams.

The Women of Troy have their eyes on another title this year, having beaten No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 UCLA once already this year.

USC's next test comes this week against Princeton at home. The top-ranked Trojans tangle with the Tigers at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.

Survived and Advanced

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Survived and Advanced

Photo Gallery: Trojans Top SMU

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USC men's basketball is on a wild ride through March Madness after a thrilling, last-second victory over No. 6 SMU.

Here are the emotional photos from John McGillen:

Comeback to Back

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The Trojans topped the SMU Mustangs in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a thrilling last-second finish.
Here are the highlights from the game:

McGillen Gallery: NCAA Tournament - First Round Shootaround

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After landing in Tulsa around 2:30 a.m. local time on Thursday morning, the Trojans got some sleep, then got right back to work.

This afternoon, USC held an open shootaround at BOK Arena to get familiar with the court, the rims and the atmosphere.

Team photographer John McGillen was at the arena to snap photos of the 30-minute practice.

McGillen Gallery: NCAA Tournament - USC vs. Providence

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Last night, USC pulled off an improbable and impressive comeback victory in the NCAA Tournament First Four. The Trojans overcame a 17-point second half deficit against the Providence Friars to earn a rematch with SMU tomorrow.

USC official photographer John McGillen captured all the best moments at UD Arena.

Trojans Define March Madness

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Trojans Define March Madness

Comeback Kids

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USC men's basketball pulled off one of the biggest second-half comebacks in NCAA Tournament history tonight, earning a 75-71 win over Providence.

Catch all the highlights of the win here!

Take Down The Ivy

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After two matches at USC's North Gym, the Trojan men's volleyball team returned to Galen Center to beat Harvard last night.

Click here for the full recap!

For the third match in a row, recent transfer Gianluca Grasso led the Trojans in scoring and led them to a win. The Brazilian posted 18 kills, while sophomore Woody Cook and freshman Lucas Lossone added 15 kills each. USC's top outside hitter, senior Lucas Yoder, missed the match with an abdominal strain.

Momentum swung back and forth throughout the match, as USC won the first and third sets, while Harvard took the second and fourth. After a tight start to the tiebreak, the Trojans pulled away, and won the match, 3-2.

The win is USC's third and a row and helps the Trojans improve to 9-12 on the season, including a 6-3 mark at home.

This Sunday, the Trojans host Sacred Heart, aiming to inch closer to .500.


Lucky Number Seven

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Yesterday, USC men's tennis won both ends of a double header to extend its current winning streak to seven matches.

Click here for the full recap!

The seventh-ranked Trojans kicked off the day by besting the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 7-0. After winning the doubles point, all six of USC's singles players defeated their opponents in straight sets.

Later in the day, the Trojans endured a much tougher test against Texas Tech. Despite dropping the doubles point on Court 1 to a Splash Brothers duo of sorts (TTU's Connor Curry and Bjorn Thomson), the Trojans rallied on Courts 2 and 3 to head into singles play with a slight lead.

USC survived losses on the top three singles courts to mount a 4-3 victory over the Red Raiders, with Jack Jaede (pictured) serving as the clincher on Court 4.

USC's current seven-match win streak is its longest since winning nine in a row to open up the 2015 season. The Trojans go for eight on Friday at the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge at Indian Wells.


Truly Mad

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usc-basketball-uw-pac-12-tournament-2017-mcgillen-9133.jpgTonight, USC men's basketball begins its March Madness journey when it takes on Providence in a First Four matchup.

Check out USC's Tournament Central website for more information!

The battle between the East region's 11-seeds is a matchup of last year's 8-9 game in the East, and the spoils include a chance to move on and face No. 6 seed SMU in Tulsa.

Tonight's clash features both conferences' Most Improved Players in USC sophomore forward Chimezie Metu (Pac-12) and Providence junior guard Kevon Cartwright (Big East).

Click here for a full game preview!

Tonight's game against the Friars is expected to tip around 6:10 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on TruTV and live streamed on Should the Trojans advance, they will face SMU at approximately 12:10 p.m. PT on Wednesday on TruTV.

Below is a channel finder for TruTV:

DirecTV: Ch. 246/Ch. 1246 VOD
DISH Network: Ch. 242
ATT U-Verse: Ch. 164 East/165 West (1164 HD East, 1165 HD West)
Verizon FiOS: Ch. 183 SD/Ch. 683 HD
Time Warner Cable: Click here to search by ZIP code
Comcast/XFinity Cable: Click here to search by ZIP code
Cox Communications: Click here to search by ZIP code
Sling TV: Click here

If your carrier is not listed, click here to use TruTV's channel finder!

Water World

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Tomorrow, USC's fifth-ranked women's swimming and diving team kicks off its quest for the 2017 NCAA Championship.

Click here for the full preview!

USC has high hopes this year, having finished in the Top 8 in each of the last seven NCAA Championships, including a sixth-place finish last year.

The Trojans are fresh off a third-place finish at the Pac-12 Tournament, where they won two individual events. Freshman Louise Hansson took home the title in the 100y fly, and is seeded fifth in the event at NCAAs. The Swede is also seeded fifth in the 100y free and sixth in the 200y IM.

Sophomore Riley Scott won the 200y breast at Pac-12s and is the No. 4 seed this week.

After winning the event last year, USC is seeded second in this year's 400y free relay.

The Championships begin tomorrow and run through Saturday at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. The finals on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast on ESPN3.


Free Agency Frenzy

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Woody.jpgA number of Trojans are getting paid and a number of others are on the move during the 2017 NFL Free Agency period.

Perhaps most notably, former Bills wide receiver Robert Woods signed a five-year contract with the LA Rams to come home and play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Woods led the Bills with 619 receiving yards last year, and hopes to provide a boost to a squad that ranked last in the NFL in total offense in 2016. He joins teammate T.J. McDonald on the local squad.

Second-year center Max Tuerk isn't moving to a new team, but he'll be back in the Coliseum as well, as the San Diego Chargers relocated to Los Angeles.

Yet another familiar face will grace the Coliseum this fall. Former Bears quarterback Matt Barkley signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, who are in search of a leader at that position. Barkley will join linebacker Malcolm Smith. The Super Bowl XLVIII MVP recently signed a two-year deal in San Francisco after spending the last two years in Oakland.

Two Trojan brothers will be reunited in North Carolina, as former Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil signed a deal to play alongside his brother, Ryan. Both Kalil brothers were starters for their squads last year before suffering season-ending injuries.

Tight end Rhett Ellison is leaving Minnesota as well, trading in purple and gold for the New York Giants' blue and red. He joins Trojan linebacker Devon Kennard in East Rutherford.

While Kalil and Ellison leave the NFC North, Nick Perry will hold it down, as the Green Bay Packers re-signed the linebacker to a five-year deal after the best season of his career.

Many Trojans are starting new chapters in their NFL careers, but tight end Jordan Cameron is ready for a new journey off the gridiron, announcing his retirement after six seasons. Though Cameron is leaving, a crop of new Trojans will join the fold after the 2017 NFL Draft this April.

The NFL returns on Thursday, Aug. 3, with the 2017 Hall of Fame Game kicking off the preseason. The NFL regular season begins on Thursday, Sept. 7.

2 Out Of 3 Ain't Bad

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USC baseball took the series against Holy Cross this weekend to improve to 10-5 on the season.

The Trojans opened the series with a 6-3 comeback win on Friday, thanks in part to a 3-for-3 performance from Brandon Perez. On Saturday, however, USC wasn't able to dig itself out of an early deficit to the Crusaders. Down six runs, the Trojans mustered a solid effort inch closer, but fell by a score of 6-4. Perez added two more hits on the day.

The Trojans never trailed in the ribber match, utilizing a strong outing from starter Marrick Crouse to earn a 5-2 win and take the series, 2-1.

West Coast Best Coast

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USC's top-ranked beach volleyball team racked up two 4-1 victories at the East Meets West Invitational this weekend to stay undefeated on the season.

The Trojans kicked the weekend off by facing No. 12 Florida International in Manhattan Beach. USC posted three straight wins to clinch the match and extend its win streak, despite testing out a new starting lineup.

Later that day, USC took down No. 10 LSU. Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes dialed up their second win of the day and 77th consecutive win as a pair to help USC clinch a victory.

USC's Top 3 pairs all went undefeated in the doubleheader: Claes and Hughes, Terese Cannon and Nicolette Martin and Sophie Bukovec and Abril Bustamante.

The Trojans, who are 4-0 on the season and 34-0 in their last 34 matches, are now in Hawai'i for a week, prepping for two matchups with Nebraska and Florida State before competing in the Outrigger Hawai'i Invitational.

Indoor Voices

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USC's men's and women's track teams closed out the Indoor season with a bang this weekend.

On the last day of competition, women's tracksters Cameron Pettigrew, Amalie Iuel, Deanna Hill and Kendall Ellis set a collegiate record in the 4x400 and won the event with a time of 3:27.03. Their efforts helped USC's women's team claim fourth in the overall competition.

Click here for a full recap!

Ellis also added to the Trojans' total point total with a second place finish (and USC record) in the 400m. Hill, meanwhile, set a school record and finished third in the 200m. The Women of Troy finished with 35 points.

The men's team finished 21st in the competition behind a third place finish by Just'N Thymes in the 200m and a fourth place finish in the high jump by Randall Cunningham. Thymes and Cunningham became two of USC's 10 All-American honorees on the weekend.

The Trojans now turn the page, with the 2017 outdoor season on the horizon. USC kicks that off when it hosts the Trojans Invitational this Friday and Saturday.

Two's Company

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IMG_7692.JPGAfter impressive showings in their first few tournaments of the year, both USC's men's and women's golf teams moved up to No. 2 in the nation this week.

The men's team jumped up five spots in the national rankings after topping the 15-team field at the Southern Highlands Collegiate last week. Since the fall season began, USC has won three events and has finished in the Top 2 in five straight events. At the end of this month, the Trojans take their talents to The Goodwin at Stanford G.C.

The Women of Troy have also been contenders in nearly every event in recent history, winning 25 of their past 44 outings, including two this season. Next up is the Gifford Great 8 Collegiate Match in Brentwood, CA. USC enters the event as the No. 1 seed.

Tourney Bound!

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IMG_7699.JPGUSC men's basketball didn't wait long to learn its fate, and won't wait long to put its skills to the test, as the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament selections were announced today.

The Trojans earned an 11-seed in the East, and will face Providence in a First Four play-in game on Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. PT in Dayton, OH. Should the team advance, USC will play No. 6 seed SMU in Tulsa, OK on Friday some time around noon PT.

USC, which takes a 24-9 record into the NCAA Tournament, is familiar with both these squads.

Last year, the Trojans faced Providence in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling at the last moment in a heartbreaking twist. With that in the books, the team can't wait for its shot at redemption against the Friars, who went 20-12 this season.

The Trojans have seen the Mustangs more recently, as they hosted SMU in November and won, 78-73. In that game, Bennie Boatwright netted 17 points, while freshmen De'Anthony Melton and Jonah Mathews added 15 and 14 points, respectively. SMU earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the AAC Tournament this year.

Follow the Trojans on Twitter and Instagram to stay in the loop as they take on March Madness! Use the hashtags #ItTakesATeam and #MarchMadness to join the conversation and cheer USC on!

2017 Spring Practice #3: Clay Helton

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On a sunny Saturday morning, USC football hit the practice field for the third practice of the spring season. The Trojans donned full pads for the first time, and upped the energy for a spirited session to send the team into spring break.

Watch USC head coach Clay Helton's full press conference after Saturday's practice:

Sweet Revenge

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USC men's tennis avenged a loss to UCLA last month with a resounding win over the Bruins yesterday.

Click here for the full recap!

On Feb. 17, the Trojans fell to UCLA, 4-3, at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. When No. 14 USC hosted its crosstown rival at Marks Stadium yesterday, though, it faced no such difficulty.

Just like in the first match, USC clinched the doubles point to take a one-point lead into singles play. But this time, the Trojans flipped the script and racked up three wins in singles to earn a 4-1 victory over 13th-ranked UCLA.

USC's Thibault Forget got revenge against UCLA's Austin Rapp, who beat him at the National Indoors tournament, to push USC's lead to 2-0 on the day. On Court 1, Brandon Holt followed suit with a straight-sets victory over Martin Redlicki, who got the better of him last month. The Trojans dropped a point on Court 2, but USC's Logan Smith clinched the match on Court 3.

Though the win doesn't count towards conference play, it pushed the Trojans to 13-2 on the season as they head into next Tuesday's double-header with Lehigh and Texas Tech.

What Stays In Vegas

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Last night, USC men's basketball ended its Pac-12 Tournament run with a tight loss to UCLA.

Read the full recap here.

Spectators may have counted the Trojans out after the opening minutes, when they went 1-of-14 from the field. But the team rallied and locked in on defense -- forcing 10 turnovers -- to head into halftime down just three points.

After another slow start to the half, the sixth-seeded Trojans gave the Bruins all they could handle down the stretch. Point guard Jordan McLaughlin managed his fourth straight double-digit scoring effort, leading the Trojans with 18 points and 6 assists. Shooting guard Elijah Stewart added 17 points off the bench, including a high-flying finish on an alley-oop from McLaughlin.

While forward Chimezie Metu only made two buckets, he finished with 14 crucial rebounds, the sixth-most in the history of the conference tournament. His presence helped USC hold the Bruins 15 points below their nation-leading scoring average.

The Trojans missed a few opportunities to tie the game as time ran out. USC's Bennie Boatwright hit a three just before the buzzer to make the final score 76-74 in favor of the Bruins.

Now, USC, sporting a 24-9 record with two wins over opponents ranked in the Top 15, looks forward to Selection Sunday, when it learns its NCAA Tournament Fate.

2017 Spring Practice #2: Notes

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Written by Max Holm and Alexa Palermo, USC blog contributors

USC football got back to business on Thursday for its second practice of spring football.

  • usc-football-spring-2017-030717-mcgillen-8618.jpgCoach Clay Helton laid out the focus for his team for the first few practices. "Right now we're focusing on just getting through our base installation, our first and second down game plan over the first three days." The Trojans first full pad practice will take place on Saturday. After Saturday, the team will be on spring break and then return for four more weeks of spring football.
  • Helton noted new injuries in addition to those he mentioned on Tuesday: WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (shoulder), CB/WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young (groin), DT Jacob Daniel (hamstring) and WR Jake Russell (hip flexor).
  • In addition to injury news, Helton announced that safety John Plattenburg will be stepping away from football. "He suffered a concussion in the Rose Bowl and because of medical situations he's chosen to just concentrate on academics. He's done so much for us. He's a Trojan for life." Plattenburg's departure adds to the need for many Trojans to step up.
  • One of those players ready to step up is wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (pictured). Pittman got first team reps for the second day in a row and is excited about the competition. "It's competition all day: meetings, workouts, field. Competition really pushes you to be the best and we got a lot of that here," said Pittman. "I think that anyone can step up. We have a good group of talented guys and any of us could."
  • In addition to Pittman and Tyler Vaughns, Helton said he was impressed by redshirt freshman Velus Jones Jr. "You can see the speed just go by you," said Helton. "He's going to be a dangerous weapon. Hopefully he'll provide some speed like Adoree' did."
  • While the Trojans will look toward new faces at wide receiver, the team returns almost all of its running backs. Ronald Jones II will be the feature back and is embracing more of a leadership role this spring. "I think the leadership starts with me, Ced and James," said Jones. "Being the older guys, we got sophomores and some freshmen coming in, so they will look up to us and ask us how to do things. I think it is going to be on our shoulders this year."
  • The Trojans will also look to fill the void at corner back left by Adoree' Jackson, with Jack Jones in play to earn a starting spot opposite his good friend from Long Beach Poly, Iman Marshall. "He knows he's got the opportunity to compete and fill some big shoes," said Helton. "In the first two days he's made some big plays out here, a couple interceptions and a couple break ups." Helton added that Jones' competitiveness has become very apparent.
  • As the Trojans look to strengthen their secondary, they'll also look to establish a new offensive line. Helton said Cam Smith told him that what's stood out to him has been the speed of the line. "He said they're getting to the second level quicker," explained Helton, who referenced the athleticism of this group. Helton also praised the younger guys, naming freshman Andrew Vorhees as someone who is playing well despite being so young.
  • Despite the youth and losses on the offensive line, the Trojans will return veterans Nico Falah and Toa Lobendahn. Helton said he envisions the best center between the two of them starting at that position and that ideally the other would move to guard or tackle. "You got to find your best five," said Helton.
  • USC's third practice will be held on Saturday.
  • Watch Helton's full press conference here:

Holy Ground

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baseball.jpegThree days after posting its second shutout of of the season, USC baseball returns home for a series against Holy Cross.

Click here for the full preview!

Tuesday's 1-0 win at San Diego State helped the Trojans improve to 8-4 on the season, while Holy Cross sits at 1-8. The three games will give three Trojan pitchers the opportunity to improve upon their records so far this season.

Freshman Chris Clarke (1-0, 3.09 ERA), who tossed 5.2 scoreless innings in USC's comeback win over UCLA, will get the start tomorrow. Junior Brad Wegman, who sports a 1-1 record on the season (5.06 ERA) will start Saturday, and sophomore Marrick Crouse (1-1, 14.66 ERA) will kick things off on Sunday.

While USC's pitching has improved as the season's gone on, its offensive output has been consistently impressive. Leading the charge is sophomore Lars Nootbaar, who leads the conference in RBI (15) and is tied for the lead in HR (4).

Nootbaar and the Trojans play Holy Cross Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will be streamed on!

Start Your Engines

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USC women's tennis, fresh off an impressive upset of No. 4 Michigan, opens up Pac-12 play this weekend, with matches against Cal and Stanford tomorrow and Saturday.

Click here for the full preview!

The Trojans finished up their nonconference slate with a 4-3 record and a No. 21 national ranking. If they can upset No. 12 Cal and No. 14 Stanford, their ranking will surely rise.

USC has already faced Cal once this season, in a nonconference match on Feb. 25 in Berkeley. The Bears were too strong for the Trojans that time, drumming up a 6-1 win.

The Trojans hope for a better result this time. The match vs. Cal kicks off tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., while Saturday's match against Stanford begins at 2 p.m.


Setting the Tone

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While USC men's basketball just descended upon Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament, USC men's golf is leaving having left its mark on Sin City.

The No. 7 Trojans topped 14 other teams to win the 2017 Southern Highlands Collegiate at the Southern Highlands G.C. yesterday by 10 strokes.

Click here for the full recap!

It's the second year in a row USC has won the event, this time finishing at 11-under 853 (278-291-284). The win marks USC's third of the year and its fifth Top 2 finish.

Freshman Cheng Jin (pictured) enjoyed a season-best third place finish, tied with teammate Justin Suh at 5-under 211.

The Trojans now have a break until March 30, when they take on The Goodwin at Stanford.


Movin' On Up

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Last night, USC men's basketball faced Washington for the third time this season. But this time, the stakes were higher than ever before, as the two teams faced off in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.

Despite trailing at the half, the Trojans locked in and made their way to a 78-73 victory over the Huskies to advance to the second round of the tournament.

Click here for the full recap.

Sophomore forward Chimezie Metu led all scorers with 24 points on the night, and added 9 boards as the Trojans improved to 24-8 on the season. The sixth-seeded Trojans also got 13 points from Bennie Boatwright, 11 points from Jordan McLaughlin and 10 points form Shaqquan Aaron.

Five steals from McLaughlin, and 15 from the team overall, helped USC swing momentum in its favor and overcome a strong shooting night from the Huskies (53.8 percent from the floor to USC's 42.4).

The Trojans pulled away in the second half, holding a 14-point lead before Washington cut it to 3. Aaron drained two free throws to push it back to five as the clock wound down.

With the win, USC advanced to the second round, where it will face three-seed UCLA tonight at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

McGillen Gallery: Pac-12 Tournament - USC vs. UW

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Last night, USC kicked off the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament with a win over Washington. After fighting for 40 minutes and racking up countless dunks, the Trojans topped the Huskies, 78-73, to advance to the second round.

USC team photographer John McGillen captured all the action at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena.

Mr. Reliable

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

USC_Basketball_Cal_2017_mcgillen_LR_7090.jpgUSC really needed a bucket. Coming off of an impressive run to go dancing in 2016, the 2016-17 season came with hefty expectations. After winning their first two games of the season, the Trojans faced a true road game down south against Texas A&M. After a strong first half, the Trojans trailed, 62-57, with just over two minutes to go.

Freshman De'Anthony Melton secured a rebound and made his way down the court. As the shot clock began to wind down, USC point guard Jordan McLaughlin passed the ball to the freshman. Despite having taken very few jumpers throughout his high school and AAU career, Melton confidently stepped into the three-pointer and buried it. Minutes later he would secure a two-point lead by hitting a clutch free throw. In just his third game in college, Melton stepped up beyond his 18 years of age.

This didn't surprise Melton's teammates or his coaches. It didn't surprise them that Melton, who wasn't ranked in the Top 100 as a high school prospect, could play. Melton, after all, came in with the reputation of being a Swiss Army knife type of player. What they didn't expect was how soon he would become invaluable and impossible to keep off the floor.

"With De'Anthony, we knew that his gift was that he can do everything," said associate head coach Tony Bland. "What we did not know was that it would translate so soon and at this high of a level." Early on in the season Melton led the Pac-12 in steals, eventually ending the regular season with the third-most in the conference. He started the season as McLaughlin's understudy at point guard, only to eventually become Jordan's starting partner in the back court. He's become the ultimate glue guy and an unsung hero.

"I've never had a player like that. I've never had a player that was, across the board, really good at everything," said Bland. "I've had a good defender, I've had a good athlete, I've had a little bit of everything, but I've never had a player that you look up and at the end of the game, it's almost a triple-double... every single time he's out there."

USC-BASKETBALL-OREGON-STATE-MCGILLEN-2017--5351.jpgMelton appeared in all 31 games for the Trojans and when you look at the stat sheet, you really see how invaluable he became. By the end of the regular season, he finished second on the team in rebounds and assists per game, first in steals per game, third in blocks, free throws made and free throws attempted per game, and fourth in minutes per game. Melton credits his all-around game to the coaching he got in high school.

"My coach really dictated on us to play hard no matter what. If you play hard, you stay on the floor more. Sometimes you get easy buckets," Melton recalled. "No matter if you're shooting bad or shooting good, if you always play hard, things come a lot easier for you."

Melton plays about as hard as any player in the Pac-12, allowing him to play with tenacity and energy on both sides of the ball. Through his hard play and ability to impact the game in so many ways, he's changed the way some of his teammates approached their own playing time.

"He's helped other guys understand that you don't have to just score to leave an imprint on a game," said USC's director of scouting Martin Bahar. "I think he's kind of opened some other guys' eyes up to like, 'Hey, I can contribute.' I don't have to make every shot any given night. There's all these other things I can do."

While most freshmen are looking to nail down a rotation spot and focus on one area of their game, Melton cracked the rotation by finding a way to be Mr. Everything for the Trojans. The key to Melton's success, to Bland, has been confidence.

"To me, the area he's improved on the most is that he's approaching the game with his shoulders back and his chest out, saying, 'Hey, I'm just as good if not better than anyone I've faced all year and I'm about to show it,'" explained Bland.

Throughout the season, Melton has faced plenty of faces who were ranked higher than him in high school and he's hung with them all, even outplaying some. It's led to him competing with even more of a chip on his shoulder, but he has not gotten too caught up into rankings.

"Rankings don't really matter to me. I knew how good I was, and people around me knew how good I was, so my goal was to show everyone nationally how good I am," he recounted.

Melton now has certainly gotten the attention of the college basketball world, but the humble freshman isn't getting too far ahead of himself.

"I definitely have a lot to get better at. It's like a stepping stone. I try not to get too high or too low on myself, even though I am hard on myself," admitted Melton. "I know this is just scraping the surface of what I can do. I always take that mindset and never get too happy with a game."

McGillen Gallery: 2017 Spring Practice #1

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Yesterday, USC football hit the practice field for the first time since the culmination of the 2016 season. At the start of spring ball, the Trojans welcomed a few new faces, plus future and past members of the football team.

Looking for Revenge

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Tomorrow, USC men's tennis hosts UCLA, aiming to avenge its 4-3 loss to the Bruins last month.

Click here for the full preview!

The Trojans are 12-2 on the season and ranked No. 14 in the nation, while the Bruins are ranked No. 13 at 8-3.

In their last meeting, USC won the doubles point, but UCLA evened things up and pushed it to 3-3. The match came down to Court 1, where UCLA's Martin Redlicki upset USC's Brandon Holt to clinch the victory. Since that loss, Holt has gone 3-1 in dual match play and the Trojans have won four straight.

USC's two most recent matches were tight 4-3 victories, in which the Trojans dropped the doubles point and had to claw their way back ahead. Prior to those two matches, USC had won every doubles point all season, and hopes to get back on track tomorrow.

Tomorrow's match kicks off at 3 p.m. at USC's Marks Stadium. Admission is free and open to the public, and the first 150 fans receive a free grilled cheese sandwich from the Grilled Cheese Truck.

2017 Spring Practice #1: Notes

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USC football kicked off its preparation for the 2017 season with the first practice of spring football today.

  • usc-football-spring-2017-030717-mcgillen-7531.jpgJunior LB Cam Smith summed it up best. "It was awesome. It feels so good to be out here," he said. "It was a great day one."
  • USC head coach Clay Helton noted that the following players won't take the field with Smith this spring, as they're still recovering from injury: C Toa Lobendahn (ACL), DB Jonathan Lockett (hip surgery), WR Steven Mitchell Jr. (ACL), WR Trevon Sidney (hip surgery), OT Nathan Smith (ACL).
  • Helton also mentioned that the following players would be limited in spring practice: DT Kenny Bigelow (ACL), DT Jacob Daniel (hamstring), LB Porter Gustin (hand surgery), C Nico Falah (back), OG Viane Talamaivao (hamstring) and RB Dominic Davis (concussion symptoms).
  • Aside from injured players, four notable Trojans will be absent from USC's spring practice: all four of the 2016 team captains. QB Max Browne transferred to Pitt, while LB Michael Hutchings and OT Zach Banner graduated and CB Adoree' Jackson left for the NFL. As a result, one of Helton's main focuses this camp is developing leadership. "It's going to be a time for young people that were freshmen and sophomores to step up and take more of a leadership role," he said.
  • QB Sam Darnold (pictured), who won the 2016 Archie Griffin Award and was named a 2016 Freshman All-American, is a natural candidate to step into a leadership position. "He's pushed himself into a bit of a vocal role," Helton said of his QB. "I've asked Sam to just be him. One of the great things that Sam does: he is a great one-on-one leader, to pull a guy aside and communicate with him."
  • In addition to honing his leadership skills, Darnold has spent his offseason studying film, getting more flexible and developing relationships with a young wide receiving corps following the departure of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers, the two most prolific wideouts last season. "There's not really that go-to guy yet," Darnold said. "Everyone can make plays, and that's my point: that I can trust anyone on every single play."
  • Deontay Burnett, the most productive returning WR, echoed Darnold's sentiment. "I don't plan on there being a go-to guy," he said. "Everybody is going to get their opportunity. That's how I'm going to approach this season. I'm not going to think just because Darreus and JuJu left, it's my turn. It's everyone's turn. We're going to need everybody to win a national championship."
  • Burnett did look like an emerging No. 1 receiver on the field, though, with sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. just behind. Redshirt freshman Tyler Vaughns got a number of good looks, as well. "We really want to bring those younger guys along, and when we do I think we are going to be a scary offense to deal with," said Darnold.
  • Darnold, his teammates and his head coach all emphasized that while proud of their accomplishments last season, they want to start fresh in their quest for a Pac-12 title and a national championship this year. "Last year was extremely rewarding, going to the Rose Bowl," Helton said. "But that is in the past now, and we move on, because it is a new year, and there are a lot of things that we have to address."
  • One issue the Trojans must address is the departure of three starting offensive linemen (Banner, Chad Wheeler and Damien Mama). Helton said that junior Chuma Edoga and redshirt sophomore Roy Hemsley are the likeliest candidates to replace Wheeler and Banner on the left and right flanks of Darnold, respectively. Edoga has four starts under his belt, while Hemsley saw action in two games last year.
  • On the other side of the ball, USC must replace "the middle of a defense," as Helton characterized NT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, Mike LB Michael Hutchings and FS Leon McQuay III. But several young Trojans are on the rise, according to their teammates. "He's athletic, and he knows his stuff," said Smith of redshirt sophomore LB John Houston. Senior safety Chris Hawkins called redshirt freshman safety Jamel Cook "a good football player," and said he's excited to see him go full speed once he learns the playbook.
  • USC gears up for its second spring practice on Thursday.
  • Watch Helton's full press conference here:

Trojans Live: Spring Football Preview

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USC head coach Clay Helton and rising sophomore WR Michael Pittman Jr. joined Trojans Live last night to preview spring football. Helton emphasized the need to use the Rose Bowl success as a springboard going into next season, while Pittman is expected to help fill the gaping hole left by JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers.

Click here to watch Pittman on Trojans Live.

Also on the show, women's tennis star Madison Westby talking about the program's huge win over No. 4 Michigan, growing up in Oklahoma and her plans for life after tennis.

Click here to watch Westby on Trojans Live.

Here is Helton on the eve of Spring Football:

First of Many

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pac-12pair-hughes.claes.jpgAfter opening up the season with two straight-set victories, USC beach volleyball duo Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes were named the Pac-12 Pair of the Week.

Click here for the full release!

In No. 1 USC's season-opening bout with No. 3 UCLA, Claes and Hughes earned a tight 21-19 victory in the first set, then found their rhythm for a 21-12 score in the second. Against Pepperdine, they cruised to a 21-12, 21-13 victory.

Those two wins extended Claes and Hughes' winning streak to 75 consecutive matches as a pair, dating back to April 2, 2015, when they fell in three sets to a duo from Loyola Marymount.

The senior stalwarts on Court 1 have helped guide the Trojans to 32 consecutive team wins, including back-to-back national championships. Along the way, they've picked up four Pac-12 Pair of the Week honors, more than any other pair in Pac-12 beach volleyball history.

Claes, Hughes and the Trojans are back at it on Friday when they host an International Exhibition at Merle Norman Stadium at 11 a.m.

2017 USC Football Coaches Clinic

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The USC Football Coaches Clinic, featuring head coach Clay Helton of the Rose Bowl champion Trojans along with his entire coaching staff and guest speakers, will be held March 31 and April 1 in the John McKay Centeer on the USC campus.

Click here to register online.

The comprehensive two-day clinic will feature presentations by Helton and his staff, as well as offensive and defensive staff roundtable discussions covering philosophy and scheme and in-depth position meetings led by each position coach.  USC strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis also will conduct a presentation on player development and the off-season/in-season training program.

Click here for more information.

There is an outstanding lineup of guest speakers, including Washington head coach Chris Petersen, Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen and Utah State head coach Matt Wells.

The clinic also includes attendance at the USC spring football practice on April 1 on Howard Jones Field, allowing attendees to see the presentations come to life.

The clinic is open to coaches of all levels, as well as fans who want to learn more about the USC football staff and its coaching philosophy.

Cost of the two-day clinic is $80 ($65 for a single day). The clinic offers a staff discount of $15 off per person for groups of five or more who pre-register together for both days.


Staffing Up

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Bryan Ellis, who helped coach Western Kentucky's prolific offenses the past 3 seasons (2014-16) and even called plays during the Hilltoppers' 2016 bowl game, has joined USC as an offensive administrative assistant.

Click here for the full story.

Ellis, 28, was an offensive quality control coach in his first year at Western Kentucky in 2014, assisting quarterbacks coach (and current USC assistant) Tyson Helton as WKU played in the Bahamas Bowl. Brandon Doughty led the nation in passing yards (4,380) and touchdowns (49) in 2014 while winning the Sammy Baugh Award as the nation's top quarterback. Ellis then was WKU's running backs coach in 2015 (the team played in the Miami Beach Bowl), as Anthony Wales ran for 1,086 yards and D'Andre Ferby made the Conference USA All-Freshman team. In 2016, Ellis was the Hilltoppers' wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator, as Taywan Taylor had 98 catches for 1,730 yards with 17 TDs and Nicholas Norris added 76 receptions for 1,318 yards with 14 TDs (the Hilltoppers threw for 4,715 yards and 42 scores). Due to a coaching change, Ellis served as WKU's offensive coordinator in the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl and helped the Hilltoppers roll up 51 points and 598 total yards in a victory over Memphis. Before that, he was an offensive graduate assistant at Alabama-Birmingham, his alma mater, for 2 seasons (2012-13).


Home Sweet Home

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USC women's lacrosse sets up for two home matches this week, looking to extend its winning streak at McAlister Field.

Tomorrow and next Monday, the No. 4 Trojans (3-1) square up with two teams they've never faced before.

USC has won 16 straight at McAlister Field, and will kick off its quest for 17 against Boston University (1-3) at 2 p.m. tomorrow. The game will be streamed live on

Next Monday, the Trojans host New Hampshire (0-5) at 4 p.m. on and Pac-12 Los Angeles.

USC's three Tewaaraton Award watch list members -- goalkeeper Gussie Johns, attacker Michaela Michael and defender Lydia Sutton -- will lead the Trojans into battle. After a five-goal loss at Florida last month, the Trojans are hungry to start a new win streak.

Valiant Valdes

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USC sophomore Rianna Valdes was named the Pac-12 Women's Tennis Player of the Week, the conference announced today.

Valdes served as the clincher in USC's upset win over No. 4 Michigan on Friday. After faltering in doubles with partner Jessica Failla, she bounced back in singles in a battle with No. 125 Chiara Lommer on Court 4.

Unranked Valdes won the first set, 6-3, before dropping the second, 4-6. The Boca Raton, FL native dug in for a 6-4 win in the third, securing a 5-2 victory for USC.

With the win, Valdes improved to 3-3 in dual match play this season and broke a two-match losing streak.

Valdes' first career Player of the Week award is the third by a Trojan this season, as junior Gabby Smith has won it twice before. USC's three weekly awards are more than any other team in the conference can claim.

The No. 32 Trojans battle it out with No. 7 Cal this Friday at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.


Spring Football Outlook

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USC Spring Football starts Tuesday with the first of 15 practices, culminating in the annual Spring Game at the Coliseum on Saturday, April 15.

All practices, with the exception of the Spring Game, will be held on Howard Jones/Brian Kennedy Field and are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Fans can view practice from a designated area on the east side of Howard Jones Field (north of Goux's Gate).

Tuesday and Thursday practices will begin at 3:15 p.m., while Saturday practices start at 10 a.m. Here are the 15 dates:

March 7-9-11-21-23-25-28-30
April 1-4-6-8-11-13-15

Click here to read the spring outlook.

The reigning Rose Bowl champions return 14 starters (6 on offense, 7 on defense, 1 specialist) led by Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year Sam Darnold. USC finished its first full season under head coach Clay Helton at 10-3, winning nine consecutive games, its longest winning streak since 2008-09.

"We understand the expectations at USC are high, especially after the successful season we had last year," said Helton, who in 2016 was a finalist for the Bryant Coach of the Year Award and won the Football Writers First Year Co-Coach of the Year Award. "We welcome those expectations.

"Just like every year, we will enter the 2017 season with the expectation of winning the Pac-12 championship. We have a group of players and coaches here that can do that. This is the 125th USC football team and we expect great things this season."

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Pac-12 Princes

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IMG_7628.JPGUSC forward Chimezie Metu was named the Most Improved Player of the Year and two other Trojans were honored when the Pac-12 announced its men's basketball all-conference honors today.

Click here for the full release!

Metu became the second Trojan to ever win the Most Improved Award, after Nikola Vucevic earned it in 2010. He did so by more than doubling his scoring and rebounding output from last year (6.4 PPG & 3.6 RPG in 2016 to 14.4 PPG and 7.6 RPG in 2017). The sophomore has started all 31 games this year and leads the Trojans in points and blocks. In addition to Most Improved, Metu earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 Second Team and All-Academic Honorable Mention (the law, history and culture major boasts a 3.17 GPA).

Junior captain Jordan McLaughlin landed a spot on the Pac-12 Honorable Mention Team. The PG averaged 13.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game this year, and has heated up in the last few games to put the Trojans in good shape for the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament. McLaughlin was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week today after finishing just shy of a triple-double and a double-double, respectively, in the last two games. Today's was McLaughlin's second weekly conference award of the year, making him the first Trojan to earn two in a season since Harold Miner in 1991-92. He's been the steadying force for USC all season, but has also exploded for some of the most exciting moments of the year. This is the second season in a row McLaughlin has earned Honorable Mention.

Freshman De'Anthony Melton rounded out the honorees, earning All-Defensive Team Honorable Mention marks. His 60 steals this season rank third all-time by a freshman in USC history, third in the Pac-12 and sixth among the nation's freshman this year. The L.A. native, who stepped into a starting role just before the midpoint of the season, has also posted 33 blocks this season, the third-most on the team.

On Wednesday, the sixth-seeded Trojans descend upon Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament. Click here to read the full preview of their first-round matchup with 11-seed Washington.

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 10

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No. 14 USC men's volleyball was swept on the road at No. 4 Hawai'i this weekend, bringing the team's record to 6-12 on the season.

Despite the losses, head coach Jeff Nygaard was glad to have battled the Warriors in case the Trojans face them again in the postseason. Watch him break down the games and preview USC's eight upcoming home matches in the latest edition of Nygaard at the Net:

Down Go The Bruins At Dodger Stadium

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

USC baseball traveled up to Dodger Stadium on Sunday to face UCLA in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic. Despite falling in an early hole, the Trojans turned around their fortunes and defeat the Bruins in 10 innings.

Click here for the full recap.

The Trojans trailed 3-0 in Sunday's contest, but came to life in the 6th inning. Lars Nootbaar got the team on the board with a two-run triple to make it a one-run game. Later in the inning, Matthew Acosta came up to bat with two outs and delivered a clutch game-tying single.

Extra innings ensued thanks to lights out pitching from the Trojans' bullpen. Freshman relief pitcher Chris Clarke got the Trojans out of a jam in the fourth inning and went on to throw 5.2 scoreless innings. Clarke allowed just one hit, struck out a career-high five batters and won his first career collegiate game. After Clarke's stellar outing the game went to extra innings.

From there, Nootbaar rose to the occasion again, this time with two outs. The sophomore from El Segundo knocked in John Thomas with a huge single for the game-winning run.

In the bottom of the 10th, sophomore Solomon Bates came in and shut down the Bruins with a 1-2-3 inning. Bates secured the first save of his college career and the Trojans improved to 7-4 on the year.

Click here for the highlights of the Trojans' win over the Bruins.

Next up for the Trojans is a visit to San Diego State on Tuesday, March 7th at 6 p.m. PT.

Trojans Shine at NFL Combine

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Trojans Shine at NFL Combine

McGillen Gallery: USC vs. UW

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USC men's basketball closed out the regular season with a win over Washington on Senior Day this weekend. Official team photographer John McGillen captured the best moments from what turned into a dunk-fest, plus one special moment for Samer Dhillon.

Trojans Grab Bronze

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Behind winning performances by senior Steven Stumph and sophomore Carsten Vissering, USC men's swim team finished third in this weekend's Pac-12 Tournament.

No. 13 USC finished behind No. 5 Stanford and No. 1 Cal at the championships after winning the title last season.

Stumph, a co-captain, finished the weekend strong by becoming the first Trojan to ever three-peat in the 200y breast. His time of 1:53.08 helped him become the seventh 200y breast winner in USC history.

Before Stumph wrote his name in the record books, Vissering brought home USC's first title in the 100y breast since 2003. He improved upon his second-place finish last year to finish in 51.45 seconds, nearly a full second ahead of the runner-up.

The Trojans now enjoy a two-week break in competition before shipping out to Indianapolis for the NCAA Championships from March 22-25.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

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Just before USC men's basketball heads to Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament, USC women's rowing competed in the Lake Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational this weekend.

The Trojans squared up against Washington in the preseason bout, winning the 1000m Varsity 8+, the 500m Varsity 8+ and the 1000m Varsity 4+, but falling in the 2000m races.

Click here for the full recap!

The event served as one final tune-up before USC's season opener on April 1 at the 44th San Diego Crew Classic in Mission Bay.

Picked Up Where They Left Off

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This weekend, USC's back-to-back national champion beach volleyball team kicked off its quest for a three-peat with two wins over No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 Pepperdine.

To no one's surprise, Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes got the Trojans off on the right foot against UCLA. USC got wins on Courts 1, 3 and 5 to clinch a 3-2 win over its crosstown rival in its season-opener.

Later in the day at Zuma Beach, USC topped Pepperdine to earn its 32nd consecutive team win. Claes and Hughes, meanwhile, extended their win streak as a duo to 75 straight matches. Abril Bustamante and Joy Dennis bounced back from a loss earlier in the day to clinch the match against the Waves, helping lift the Trojans to a 4-1 victory.

The top-ranked Trojans are back in action on Friday when they host an international exhibition against pairs from Poland, China and Team USA. First serve is set for 11 a.m.

Michigan Goes Down at Marks

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USC women's tennis pulled off an impressive upset of No. 4 Michigan on Friday to get back on track after two tough losses.

Read the full recap here!

The No. 32 Trojans kicked off the match with a tough doubles slate, going up against the No. 1 pair and the No. 28 pair in the nation, and falling on both courts. But after dropping the doubles point, freshman Sydney Van Alphen went straight to work, evening up the score with a dominant straight-sets win on Court 6.

Michigan pulled ahead with a win on Court 5, but USC rattled off three straight wins to clinch, plus another for good measure, to win the match 5-2. The Trojans mustered two three-set victories and two tiebreak victories to pull off the upset at Marks Stadium.

Sophomore Rianna Valdes was the clincher, upsetting Michigan's 125th-ranked player, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. All three of USC's ranked players topped Michigan's ranked players, in addition to Valdes toppling her ranked opponent.

On the horizon for the Trojans is another matchup with No. 7 Cal, to whom they fell last month, this Friday at 1:30 p.m. The next day, they host No. 16 Stanford at noon.

Trojans Hush the Huskies

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Trojans Hush the Huskies

Taj's Tremendous Shot

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Last night, USC alum and newly minted Oklahoma City Thunder forward Taj Gibson dropped jaws when he drained a three-quarter court buzzer beater at halftime.

Gibson was playing just his fourth game in a Thunder uniform, after being traded to OKC by the Chicago Bulls during the NBA All-Star Break. The Bulls drafted Gibson 26th overall in 2009, and he left the franchise having played in 562 games and scoring 5,280 points.

But Gibson's impact on the organization went far beyond his stats on the court. In a recent SB Nation article, the author explored how Gibson's unwavering loyalty and work ethic earned him the motto "Hard Hat, Lunch Pail," coined by Bulls announcer Stacey King.

Gibson suits up again in blue, orange and gold tonight when the Thunder take on the Suns in Phoenix.


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USC football officially announced the hire of Deland McCullough as the new running backs coach and run game coordinator to replace Tommie Robinson. McCullough spent the last six years at Indiana, grooming tailbacks that broke 19 school records during his tenure.

"We are thrilled to welcome Deland to the Trojan Family and fortunate to have him on our staff," said head coach Clay Helton. "He had great success recruiting and then developing prolific running backs at Indiana who were NFL ready. The Indiana run game during his time was effective, efficient and productive.  He understands the running game and was himself a very skilled runner as a college and pro player. He relates well to his players and has a unique background dating to his days working in education as a principal."

Click here for the full story.

At Indiana, he tutored three future NFL running backs in Stephen Houston, Tevin Coleman (who scored a touchdown in Super Bowl LI) and Jordan Howard, while Devin Redding is likely to get drafted this year.  Coleman (2015) and Howard (2016) became the first Indiana running backs to be drafted in consecutive years since 1990-92. In 2015, All-Big Ten first team honoree Howard (1,213) and Redding (1,012) each eclipsed 1,000 yards, a first in program history, and Redding did so again in 2016 (1,122) to become the first Hoosier to accomplish that since 1990-91. In 2014, Coleman was a unanimous All-American, All-Big Ten first teamer and Doak Walker Award finalist when he finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting and ran for a school record 2,036 yards.


Top Dogs

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number 1.jpgHeading into tomorrow's matchup with CSU Bakersfield, USC women's water polo owns the No. 1 spot in the nation, and is one win away from tying the NCAA record for consecutive victories.

USC knocked off top-ranked Stanford in an overtime thriller last week to usurp the top spot in the national rankings. That win was also USC's 45th in a row, dating back to the final game of the 2015 season. Should the Trojans win again tomorrow, they'll tie the NCAA women's water polo win streak of 46 that UCLA set from 2007-09. The current USC streak is the longest in program history -- men's or women's.

While USC is 18-0 this year, CSUB is 8-7 on the season and ranked No. 23 in the country. In USC's last matchup with the Roadrunners (April 3, 2016), the Trojans came out on top, 16-3.

Click here for the full game preview!

The reigning national champions kick off tomorrow's game at 1 p.m. at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center.

Cooper-Dyke Resigns

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USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke announced today (March 3) that she has resigned after four seasons guiding the Women of Troy.

"I absolutely love USC and I always want what is best for this university," said Cooper-Dyke.  "What is best right now is that I step aside as the women's basketball coach and let someone else lead this team.

"I appreciate the opportunity I was given to coach at my alma mater, a university that has meant so much to me since my days as a student-athlete.  I wish we had more success, but I am thankful for the effort given by the players, coaches and support staff and am fortunate to have worked alongside them.  I also want to thank our fans for their loyal support.  I will always love USC and will be cheering on the Women of Troy in the future as they accomplish great things."

Click here for the full story.

"We thank Cynthia for her dedication, hard work and service, and we wish her the very best," said USC athletic director Lynn Swann. "She is a great Trojan and will always be a valued member of the Trojan Family. 

"The USC women's basketball program has a tradition built on national championships, great players and outstanding coaches.  We look forward to bringing in a coach who will add to that legacy, one who will move our program forward while doing so in one of the world's greatest cities, at one of the country's finest academic institutions and in the nation's premier women's basketball conference."

Cooper-Dyke posted a 70-57 record in her tenure (2014-17) as USC's head coach.  The Women of Troy were 14-16 overall in the just-completed 2017 season, including a season-ending 71-58 loss to California in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday, and they finished in a 4-way tie for ninth place in the Pac-12 with a 5-13 record.


2017 NFL Combine Preview

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The NFL Combine invited eight Trojans to the annual scouting showcase in Indianapolis which will be televised March 3-6 on NFL Network.

USC will have half of its players featured on day one, starting with All-American offensive tackles Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler as well as offensive guard Damien Mama. RB Justin Davis will cap the first day.

On Saturday, the wide receivers will be on display, giving Darreus Rogers and JuJu Smith-Schuster an opportunity to flash their speed and show off their hands. USC's two leading receivers combined for 126 catches last season.

After an impressive Senior Bowl display, DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu will be the lone Trojan under the bright lights on Sunday. And last but certainly not least, Adoree' Jackson will attempt to win an island on Monday if he can run the fastest 40 in NFL Combine history.

The Trojans are already in Indianapolis, interviewing with teams and getting their measurements taken. To follow the coverage this weekend, check out @USC_Athletics on Twitter and @usc_athletics on Instagram.


Primetime in South Bend Again

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The greatest intersectional rivalry in college football, USC and Notre Dame, will kick off at 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 21, in South Bend. The game will be broadcast live on NBC.



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Three members of USC women's lacrosse were named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list, the organization announced this week.

The Tewaaraton Award is given annually to the top male and female collegiate lacrosse players in the nation, and the organization has tapped goaltender Gussie Johns, attacker Michaela Michael and defender Lydia Sutton as potential candidates.

Johns is following up an outstanding sophomore season by leading the MPSF in ground balls (4.5 per game) so far this year. In 2016, she led the nation in goals-against average and this summer, she'll compete with Team USA at the 2017 Women's Lacrosse World Cup.

Michael is on the watch list for the second straight year. So far this season, she leads the team with nine goals and is second in the conference in draw controls (8.25 per game).

Sutton, meanwhile, has forced 1.67 turnovers per game this season, which ranks eighth in the conference.

The Tewaaraton Foundation will announce 25 nominees on April 27. Before then, though, USC has 13 games to play, starting with next Wednesday's battle with Boston University at McAlister Field.

It's Time for Trojan Baseball

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Tomorrow, the USC baseball team kicks off competition in the Dodgertown College Baseball Classic.

The Trojans will play back-to-back-to-back games from Friday to Sunday against USD, Michigan and UCLA, with the final game taking place at Dodger Stadium.

Last year in the finale of the Dodgertown Classic, USC and UCLA battled for 14 innings before the Bruins edged out USC by a 5-3 margin.

The Trojans, who are 6-2 on the season after splitting a road trip to the Tar Heel State, will be hungry for a win over the Bruins on Sunday. Before that, they take on 4-2 USD and 7-2 Michigan at Dedeaux Field.

So far this season, sophomore Lars Nootbaar leads the undefeated-at-home Trojans with a .462 BA and 4 HR.

Nootbaar and the Trojans kick off the event tomorrow at 6 p.m. vs. USD. Exactly 24 hours later, USC takes on Michigan. USC vs. UCLA at Dodger Stadium begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Meet Bryshon

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Bryshon Nellum.jpgNicknamed the "Conference of Champions," the Pac-12 has produced teams and athletes that have had success on some of the world's biggest stages. That's why the U.S. Olympic Committee announced yesterday that it would honor one Team USA Olympian from each of the 12 conference schools at next week's Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament.

USC track and field legend Bryshon Nellum will represent the Trojans in Las Vegas, where the Olympians will sign autographs, engage with fans and be recognized at halftime of the semifinal game on Friday night.

Nellum became a household name at the London Olympics in 2012 when the world learned his inspirational story. In 2009, during his sophomore season at Troy, the fledgling star suffered a shocking and devastating injury. Shot three times in the legs in a drive-by shooting, Nellum was told by doctors that he'd never return to form. But after taking a redshirt year to recover, he earned All-American honors and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

At the London Olympics, Nellum ran the leadoff leg for the U.S. in the finals of the 4x400 relay, setting up Team USA for a silver medal.

At the culmination of the Games, Los Angeles native Nellum was selected as the flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony to honor his perseverance in the face of adversity.

Nellum is just one of many incredible Olympic athletes to prep at USC. Troy boasts more all-time Olympians, medalists and gold medalists than any other university in the country. The 44 Trojans in Rio last summer, from DeMar DeRozan to Katinka Hosszu and in between, were once again more the most American university could claim, and a Trojan has won a gold medal at every Olympics since 1912.

Other Olympians to be honored at the tournament include Dana Vollmer (Cal, swimming), Kerri Walsh Jennings (Stanford, beach volleyball) and Bernard Lagat (Washington State, track and field).

Nellum will sign autographs from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 10 on the concourse of T-Mobile Arena. Click here for more information!

Follow USC men's basketball on Twitter for information on the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament.

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Ines Guinard

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

USC-WOMENS-TENNIS-2017-PHOTO-DAY-MCGILLEN-3916.jpgName: Ines Guinard
Class: Senior
Sport: Women's Tennis
Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering
GPA: 3.7

Aubrey Kragen (AK): Can you describe the Industrial and Systems Engineering major and what most people do with that degree when they graduate?

Ines Guinard (IG): The main focus is to optimize a system. And you can define a system in many ways. Your system could be an entire manufacturing plant, so how can you make a piece of machinery most efficiently and with the fewest number of errors? Or you can look at software as your system and see how you can run it faster, error-free. So the underlying concept is optimization of a system.

AK: How did you become interested in this subject?

IG: In school, I was always good at math and enjoyed it. I was always a numbers person, and I wanted something that let you be creative while you were working with numbers. And engineering kind of has that builders' 'You can create what you want' mentality. In terms of industrial and systems within the engineering majors, it's probably the most broad in terms of what you can apply it to. I enjoy that because I wasn't a person who grew up and wanted to build cars like mechanical engineers -- I didn't know from the start. So that's why I picked industrial engineering specifically. I started as a biomedical engineer. I did research at UC Davis in high school and I was in the biomedical department there, doing tissue engineering, so for the meniscus and for the TMJ disc. I got into that through the sports appeal, and  I loved the medical device side of it and kind of quickly realized that the biological and chemical aspect of it didn't really appeal to me as much. So I switched out after a semester and at that point it was either mechanical engineering or industrial, and I didn't want to pigeonhole myself into one area.

AK: It sounds like you were ahead of the game in high school, working on a college campus, and it helped you earn a Trustee Scholarship. What did that process entail?

IG: In terms of getting the scholarship, the process is just applying before Dec. 1 to be considered for a merit scholarship and then you receive a notification that you've been nominated. I was actually nominated for the Presidential Scholarship (half tuition), and then you come in and do a full day of interviews with different people. Then, through my interviews, I actually got bumped up to a Trustee Scholar. So that was exciting. I'm a Merit Research Scholar here, too. I think there are like 12 of us per year, so it's a pretty small group, and it's basically you get $3,000 of grant money to put towards undergraduate research ... I spent a couple years doing research on cancer metastasis in aerospace and mechanical engineering. This one was building mathematical and computational models of cancer metastasis, so how it spreads from one part of the body to another site, and basically using probability and math to predict that.

AK: It sounds like you have experience in a lot of different areas. How did everything come together to help you choose the job offer you just accepted upon graduation?

IG: The general theme has been that ability to be creative and not be pigeonholed in one area. So cancer sounds very medical-related, but really I was building mathematical models and coding, so that's a skill that can be applied anywhere. Same thing with industrial engineering. The other piece that I thought was missing from the puzzle was finance, because I thought it would be interesting to go into my own business venture sometime, and if you understand both the engineering and the finance, I think that puts you at an advantage. My older brother went into investment banking, and I learned about it through him. So my freshman summer, I did my first internship in Houston in oil and gas investment banking. I really enjoyed it, but I didn't want to be in oil and gas. I worked for Bank of America in New York my sophomore summer in financial sponsors ... and then I did the same thing in San Francisco this past summer, where I accepted my job ultimately.

AK: You've worked in a bunch of different cities and lived in different countries --- how has that influenced who you are as a person?

IG: That's one of the things I'm most grateful for. My mom's Spanish, my dad's French, so they embraced the aspect of being able to speak multiple languages and call multiple places home. That's helped me in being part of a team, being a leader and communicating with people from different backgrounds, whether it's with engineers or finance people or people in a completely different industry. I've definitely taken all those experiences in and applied them to my school setting, tennis and work.

AK: This is your first year on the tennis team, right? When and how did you become a member of the team?

IG: I started playing tennis when I was eight. I did the whole junior circuit, I played several hours a day growing up, and then when I got to college, I felt like if I wanted to do engineering and wanted to do it really well, it was going to require a lot of time. But I loved the sport, so I kept playing three or four days a week. This fall, Richard Gallien saw me hitting and came up to me, and the first step was having me be a point of contact for the girls if they wanted someone to hit with on outside hours. About a month later, West Nott and Zoe Scandalis, our two assistant coaches, saw me again and had me hit with Zoe. They started asking more questions and right away said, 'I think we need her on the team.' The next day, I got a call in the morning to come in, and by that afternoon I had signed everything and was on board. It was super special and I'm super excited about it. The beauty of it is that the one thing that was kind of missing from my college experience in terms of the things I love, was tennis. So I couldn't be happier about it.

McGillen Gallery: USC vs. WSU

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The Trojans were all smiles after putting on a clinic against Washington State on Wednesday night. USC men's basketball bounced back from four straight losses (three of which game against Top 10 opponents) with an 87-64 victory over the Cougars.

USC team photographer John McGillen was at the Galen Center to capture all the action.

SC Smothers Washington State

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SC Smothers Washington State

Leaders of the Pack

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USC_Track&field_mcgillen_032616_LR_0636.jpgFresh off an impressive USC performance at the MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships, USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert was named the 2017 MPSF Women's Coach of the Year and junior Randall Cunningham was named Men's Athlete of the Meet.

Click here for the full release!

Over the weekend, USC's sixth-ranked women's team took home the title for the third time in four years by winning four individual events. Kendall Ellis set a track record with a 23.09 in the 200m, while Cameron Pettigrew set a PR with a 52.27 in the 400m. Pettigrew, Ellis, Amalie Iuel and Deanna Hill tied the meet record of 3:32.54 in the 4x400 relay and Margaux Jones won the long jump for the second year in a row. Smith Gilbert has now won MPSF Women's Coach of the Year three times and Men's Coach of the Year once.

Smith Gilbert has seen the No. 10 men's team, especially Cunningham, flourish under her direction. Last year's NCAA high jump champion won the MPSF title this weekend with a 7-5.25 (2.27m) -- a meet record and the top jump in indoor collegiate track and field this season.

Now, the Trojans prepare for NCAA Indoor Championships, which take place next Friday and Saturday (March 10-11).

Talk of the Town

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USC QB Sam Darnold is the talk of the NFL Combine, and he's not even in Indianapolis. The rising redshirt sophomore is not eligible for the NFL Draft until next year, and he could stay in college for three more seasons, but whenever he decides to come out, the professional scouts and executives are salivating for his services.

After the above tweet, analyst Daniel Jeremiah expanded, "This isn't a big surprise. Personnel executives have spent the last month or so watching a ton of tape. When you're studying draft-eligible defenders against USC, (Darnold) jumps off the screen. He only has one year of college playing experience, but he's clearly captured the attention of NFL evaluators."

Click here for the full story on

While Darnold has all the attributes of a great quarterback, Jeremiah loves his poise above all else. "He has ideal arm strength and athleticism, but the best part about his game is his uncanny poise. He never gets too high or too low during a game and he almost looks bored inside the pocket. When evaluating quarterbacks, poise is the second-most important trait, right behind accuracy. Darnold is one of the most poised signal-callers I've seen in the last few years."

Runners Up

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Out of a field of 14 at the Southwestern Invitational at the North Ranch Country Club, USC men's golf finished in second place yesterday.

As a team, the Trojans shot 5-under 859 (289-282-288), 16 strokes behind host Pepperdine.

Click here for the full recap!

USC has now finished on top or in second in four consecutive events. This time, senior Rico Hoey led the way, tying for fifth place with a 6-under 210 (67-68-73). He's finished in the Top 10 in each of his last five events.

Junior Sean Crocker was just behind at 4-under 212 (73-69-72) to finish in seventh place. Freshman Cheng Jin, meanwhile, finished strong to land in a career-best 11th place.

Next up for No. 4 USC is the Southern Highlands Intercollegiate in Las Vegas, which the team won last year.

Follow the Trojans on Twitter to stay up-to-date!

Party in Vegas

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If you are headed to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament to support the Trojans, join USC AD Lynn Swann and former national champion head coach John Robinson for a breakfast celebration of the fall's accomplishments. They will be hosting a morning event on Wednesday, March 8, at 8 a.m. in the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino (House of Blues Restaurant).

Click here to RSVP.

Reserve your spot today at a lower price!

USC Athletics March 8 Breakfast Invite.jpg

Black Girl Magic

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By Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor 

Simone Biles. Simone Manuel. Venus Williams. Allyson Felix. Dalilah Muhammad. It's no secret that much of Team USA's success at the 2016 Olympic Games was thanks to the athletic performances of exceptionally talented black women. 

Trojan track star Nia Ali ('11) was no exception, securing the silver medal in the 100-meter hurdles. Her performance helped the United States become the first country ever to sweep the event. Finishing alongside Brianna Rollins and Kristi Castlin, it marked the first time three American women had swept the medal stand in any Olympic event.

"I think black women and black children need to realize how strong we can be when we come together. We can be strong together, we don't have to tear each other down, we can come together in competition and it can still be something beautiful," said Ali as part of "Black Girl Magic", our final Black History Month feature for 2017.

Tourney Time

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Tomorrow, USC women's basketball kicks off the 2017 Pac-12 Tournament with a battle against the California Golden Bears.

Click here for the full preview!

The ninth-seeded Trojans take on the eighth-seeded Bears at Seattle's KeyArena with a clash against No. 1 seed Oregon State on the line.

USC enters the tournament with a 14-15 record (5-13 Pac-12), which includes a close loss to Cal earlier this season. The Bears and Trojans battled in a Berkeley matchup that featured 12 lead changes, but Cal came out on top, 63-56. Forward Kristen Simon led all scorers with 24 points in that game, and hopes to have another big game tomorrow. Simon was recently named first team All-Pac-12 this season, as was Cal forward Kristine Anigwe.

Should Simon and the Trojans top the 18-12 (6-12 Pac-12) Golden Bears, they'll square up with the Oregon State Beavers, whom they split games with this season. USC fell to OSU at home in January, but pulled off a 20-point upset over the Beavers in Corvallis just a month later.

Last year, the Trojans were the higher seed in the 8-9 game, and beat Washington State to advance to the quarterfinals against top seed Oregon State, where they fell to end their season. Head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and the Trojans are working to write a different story this year.

Catch USC vs. Cal tomorrow on Pac-12 Network at 11:30 a.m. and follow the Trojans on Twitter to stay up-to-date.


Home Away From Home

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DSC_1077.jpgUSC sophomore forward Chimezie Metu has had a number of unique experiences in his short 19 years of life. After being born in Harbor City, CA, he moved with his father, brother and sister to Lagos, Nigeria, where he spent six years before returning to L.A.

While Metu hasn't met many people who have experienced just that, he has found a community of Nigerian Americans at USC who are fiercely proud of their roots and have similar goals and interests.

Metu and a handful of other Trojans with Nigerian Heritage (Uchenna Nwosu, Oluwole Betiku Jr., Josh and Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Ashleigh Plumptre and more) are drawn to each other in part because of their similar upbringings, with strict parents pushing them towards greatness.

"I feel like it's natural to gravitate towards each other," Nwosu said. "We grew up in the same type of households -- strict parents and stuff like that. So I feel like I make an automatic connection when I meet those type of people and we can relate easier."

Click here to read the full story on the connection and pride of USC Athletics' Nigerian population.