Mandy Moves Up

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mandy american flag.jpgThe good news just keeps coming for USC women's soccer alum Mandy Freeman.

A day after being selected No. 10 overall in the NWSL Draft, Freeman was selected to train with the U.S. Women's National Team during its January Camp. Freeman and four other players were held over from the U-23 camp, which ended yesterday, to give them an opportunity to make the official roster for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup.

Freeman finished her career at SC as a two-time Pac-12 first teamer, a second team All-American, a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and a Senior CLASS Award candidate. This season, she started all 25 games for the national champions and played more minutes than anyone but her keeper.

As the center back, she helped her team finish in the nation's Top 10 in W-L pct, shutout percentage and goals-against average.

To stay up-to-date on Freeman, follow USC women's soccer and the U.S. National Team on Twitter!

Aussie Aussie Aussie

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On Monday, the 2017 Grand Slam tennis season kicks off with the Australian Open.

USC men's tennis legend Steve Johnson enters 2017 aiming to make it his best season yet. Johnson, ranked No. 33 in the world, is fresh off a deep run in the ATP ASB Classic, where he upset John Isner before falling to Jack Sock in the semis. At No. 33, Johnson just missed out on being seeded at the Australian Open (the top 32 players earn a seed and are guaranteed to avoid other seeded players through the first two rounds).

In Round 1, he'll square up against Argentinean Federico Delbonis, who is ranked No. 42 in the world. Johnson is 1-0 against Delbonis in his career, with a win at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati in 2016.

Should Johnson advance, he'll face the winner of Martin Klizan and the No. 4 player in the world, Stan Wawrinka, who has won a Grand Slam event in each of the past three years.

Johnson fell in Round 3 of the Australian Open in 2015 and 2016, and will have to pull off a big upset to get that far this year.

The Australian Open will be broadcast on ESPN and the Tennis Channel from Jan. 16 to Jan. 29.


Trojans Go Cold in Utah

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Despite a red hot start, No. 25 USC men's basketball fell prey to a sharp-shooting Utah team last night in Salt Lake City.

Click here for the full recap.

The Trojans gave up their most points in regulation all season in the 86-64 loss, as the Utes shot 55.2 pct from the floor and 52.9 pct from three. USC was under 40 pct in both categories.

While the Utes had five players in double figures, Chimezie Metu was the only Trojan to accomplish that, leading the way with 17 points, plus 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. USC's bench provided a spark at times, as Jonah Mathews and Nick Rakocevic both posted 9 points. Their efforts cut the deficit to as few as 8 points in the second half, but Utah nailed shot after shot to maintain a steady lead.

Now, the Trojans take their 15-3 record into Boulder, CO, aiming to get back to .500 in conference play.

USC vs. Colorado tips at 5:30 p.m. PT on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Trojans Shine on NWSL Draft Day

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12358538.jpegReigning national champion USC women's soccer had five players selected in yesterday's National Women's Soccer League Draft -- the most of any program in the country.

Click here for the full draft recap!

First off the board was midfielder Morgan Andrews, who went No. 3 overall to the Boston Breakers. Andrews, who scored 10 goals this season and was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Award, was USC's highest pick in a pro league since Amy Rodriguez went No. 1 overall in the 2009 WPSL Draft. The Milford, NH native gets to play pro ball just an hour from where she grew up.

The very next pick in the draft was defender-midfielder Kayla Mills, as New Jersey's Sky Blue FC took the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and 2016 Pac-12 first teamer with the No. 4 spot. With its next pick at No. 10, Sky Blue chose USC's Mandy Freeman, the 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Mills and Freeman were stalwarts on a defense that allowed just 11 goals in 25 games for the nation's seventh-best goals-against average. They also helped set a program record with seven straight shutouts. In addition to working well together on the pitch, Mills and Freeman are best friends.

While USC had three players drafted in the first round, no other school had more than one.

In the second round (No. 16 overall), the Seattle Reign selected forward Katie Johnson, the hero of the national title game. The forward scored 10 goals this year, including two in the NCAA championship. She earned Most Valuable Offensive Player of the College Cup for her efforts.

USC's final player off the board was goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme. She was taken No. 31 overall and will join Andrews in Boston. The Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year set a USC record with 15 shutouts this year and ranked in the nation's Top 10 in shutouts, goals-against average and save pct.

On the Road Again

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USC men's basketball looks to bounce back from a narrow loss to Cal with a two-game road trip starting tonight.

Click here for the full preview!

The No. 25 Trojans (15-2, 2-2 Pac-12) take on Utah (11-4, 2-1) tonight at 6 p.m. PT, aiming to end a seven-game losing streak against the Utes. Utah is led by forward David Collette (15.4 PPG) and guard Sedrick Barefield (11.9 PPG).

USC's highest scorer thus far is point guard and team captain Jordan McLaughlin (14.5 PPG). He's dished out 5.1 assists per game, most often to USC's two other highest scorers: Elijah Stewart (13.9) and Chimezie Metu (13.4).

After taking on the Utes, USC heads to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes (10-6, 0-3) on Sunday. Guard Derrick White's 15.8 PPG pace the Buffs, who have lost three straight and have a tough test in UCLA tonight.

Tonight's matchup with Utah will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network at 6 p.m. Sunday's game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m.

Check out the team on Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates!


Trophy Tour

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On Jan. 2, USC football brought home the coveted Leishman Trophy by beating Penn State, 52-49, in the 2017 Rose Bowl Game.

Starting today, Trojan fans have the opportunity to snap a photo with the trophy when it goes on tour. Fans can find the trophy at the USC Bookstore on the University Park Campus today (Jan. 12), from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Tomorrow (Jan. 13), the Leishman Trophy makes its way to the USC Bookstore at the Health Sciences Campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

On Saturday (Jan. 14), the trophy will be presented at Trojan Town South Coast Plaza from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

On Tuesday (Jan. 17) fans can catch the trophy at the Nike Store at The Grove from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pick up some Rose Bowl champs gear in stores or online!


Career After Next

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USC All-American RT Zach Banner will leave college prepared to succeed in two different professions, football and broadcasting. While the NFL Draft and a professional football career will come first, the gregarious senior has the natural talent and work ethic to excel behind the microphone whenever his playing days are done.

Banner has been named the recipient of the 2017 Tom Harmon/Jerry Clark Memorial Scholarship, a $5,000 grant presented by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters to a local-area college student who has an interest in pursuing a degree in broadcasting or a related field with the ultimate goal of a professional career in radio, television or online broadcasting.

He will receive the scholarship at the SCSB's annual awards luncheon on Jan. 30 in Toluca Lake, Calif.

Banner, a 3-year starter at right tackle, was an All-American first team pick on USC's Rose Bowl champion squad in 2016 and was a 2-time All-Pac-12 first teamer. He was among 10 finalists nationally for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award, given to the nation's top senior who excels in community/classroom/character/competition. He also won USC's Community Service Award this season, devoting more than 350 hours to community outreach efforts in his career. He received his bachelor's degree from USC in communication and is now working on a second bachelor's in sociology. He has interned with FOX Sports and USC Sports Properties.


Upset City

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USC men's volleyball bounced back from two straight losses to upset Long Beach State at the Galen Center last night.

Click here for the full recap!

The unranked Trojans hosted the No. 3 49ers in their home opener, and pulled off a four-set win (25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22). Senior outside hitter Lucas Yoder racked up 28 kills and 6 digs to lead the way along with teammate Andy Benesh, who hit .526 with 12 kills, 5 digs and 4 blocks.

After the match, USC head coach Jeff Nygaard insisted the Trojans could beat anybody. Watch his full post-game interview here!

The Trojans gear up for another upset opportunity when No. 13 Cal State Northridge comes to town on Saturday at 7 p.m. Click here for tickets!

Hoopin' at Home

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_DSC0784.jpgUSC women's basketball aims to shake a three-game losing streak when Oregon and Oregon State come to town this weekend.

Click here for the full preview.

On Friday night, the Trojans, who are unranked but received votes in the latest AP Poll, host the 12-5 Ducks, with whom they split matches last year. USC will honor America's military with Joint Forces Appreciation Night and the first 250 fans will receive a commemorative long sleeve shirt.

The Trojans face a tougher test against No. 10 Oregon State on Sunday night. Beavers guard Sydney Wiese averages 16.3 PPG and dropped 26 points in OSU's OT win over Stanford on Jan. 8, which helped OSU earn NCAA Team of the Week honors. USC aims to stop a five-game losing streak against the Beavers on an SC Sunday.

Junior forward Kristen Simon leads the Trojans into battle, averaging nearly a double-double this season (15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds per game). Guards Minyon Moore (12.2) and Sadie Edwards (10.5) are also scoring in double figures this year.

Click here for tickets to USC vs. Oregon on Friday at 8 p.m. and here for tickets to USC vs. Oregon State on Sunday at 3 p.m.!

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Ida Jacobsen

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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.

Jacobsen, Ida Gørtz.jpgName: Ida Gortz Jacobsen
Class: Junior
Sport: Rowing
Majors: Global Studies and Comparative Literature
Minor: Architecture
GPA: 3.83

Aubrey Kragen (AK): Can you tell me a little bit about the Global Studies program here and why you decided to study it?

Ida Jacobsen (IJ): Actually, I came in as an Anthropology major, but Global Studies is in the Anthropology department. Global Studies is more interdisciplinary, so I can take International Relations, Political Science and Comparative Literature classes for it. It has an Anthropology profile, so I take most of my classes in the Anthropology department. I took summer school in Paris with the IR program.

AK: What was studying in Paris like?

IJ: It was super fun. It was six weeks in Paris with 10 other USC students at the American University of Paris. I got to meet a lot of people outside of athletics, which was nice because it's hard to find friends outside sometimes, because we spend so much time on the team with each other. But it was a great experience -- I loved my professor there and I got to travel around Paris. It was about the European Union and politics issues in the past and the future. I'm from Denmark, so I find that very relevant.

AK: And how did you end up with an Architecture minor? I've heard it's a really rigorous program at USC.

IJ: I love the discipline and the creativity. I had a two-week internship in high school at a drawing studio in Copenhagen, and I've always liked looking at buildings and art. For me, it was just a good way to think creatively or think about the role of architecture, because it's all around us. I took a workshop class and loved it, and I've just been taking classes ever since.

AK: It sounds like you have a wide range of interests, so do you have a good idea of what you want to do career-wise, or are you still exploring?

IJ: I think I'm still exploring. I'm hoping that within the next year and a half, I'll have something more decisive. But I was really glad I took up the Comparative Literature major a year ago, because I love the interdisciplinarity of Global Studies, but Comparative Literature just grounds you in one field and you get to work with those texts deeply and very analytically. And I think that's really important because often you skim texts, and for me it's important to stay in those details and ask those questions that we don't always ask. So career-wise, maybe something in literature, but it all depends. I would love to go to graduate school, and I might want to go closer to home, either in Denmark or maybe Sweden or England.

AK: How did you end up at USC after growing up in Denmark?

IJ: I received a message from our assistant coach once, basically saying, "Have you thought about going to school in the U.S. and rowing?" I was taken aback by it and I didn't really know at first, because not a lot of people that I know had done that in the rowing world. But I was sure that I didn't want to go straight from high school to a university in Denmark; I wanted to do something fun to get out of that little country, so I took a chance and I just stuck with it. I wasn't sure when I came here whether I wanted to do just one or two years, but it just happened and I'm really glad it did.

AK: What's a typical day like balancing rowing practice with a double major and a minor?

IJ: I get up at 5:30 and we leave on a bus at 6 a.m. to practice on the water for 90 minutes to two hours. Then I get back and have class at 10, 11 or 12. Usually three to four hours of class per day. Then Monday, Wednesday, Friday we have afternoon practices as well. And then two practices on Saturday as well. So I try to get all my work done before 8 so I can totally focus on hanging out with friends or roommates after that.

AK: What is your involvement with the Oversight Committee for Athletic Academic Affairs (OCAAA)?

IJ: OCAAA is a mix of student representatives from athletics and faculty members from different departments, like Dornsife and the cinema and law school. We talk about issues relating to athletics and academics, because they often blend together, both in good ways and not-so-good ways. We work to make faculty and students more aware of the rules and who should report to who when something happens. I learn a lot while just sitting and listening in meetings. I've learned that USC really tries hard to make sure that things are done the right way.

AK: Lastly, what are some of the things you want to achieve at USC and beyond?

IJ: For athletics, we had three really good races in our offseason and a great training camp right before Christmas. It's been such a great energy, and I think if we can keep that energy going all the way through national championships, the goal could easily be being in the Top 3 or Top 6 of NCAAs, maybe even win a title. That would be great. Academically, just keep doing what I'm doing. I want to figure out a more set field to go into. I've had several classes that I've fallen in love with, but still finding out which field exactly or which language, which path I want to go.