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I Work, We Win: Brianna Barrett

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Fresh off a road sweep, USC women's basketball is surging towards a redemption weekend at UCLA (Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks).

Head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who had never lost to the Bruins as a player or coach until this season, preaches an "I work, we win" philosophy to her team. "While there is no 'I' in team, there is one in win," she is fond of saying.

Before the games at Colorado and Utah, the head coach made a slight adjustment to her offense freeing point guard Brianna Barrett to make more plays. From there, the junior put in the work, which led to two Trojan wins.

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Sign the Poster

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Nikola Vucevic had another monster double-double last night with 33 points and 11 rebounds, but those kind of stats have become commonplace for the USC men's basketball alum who averages 18.8 ppg and 11.1 rpg. The Orlando Magic center is getting noticed for his performance against the Chicago Bulls because he eviscerated Pau Gasol on a drive and dunk worthy of every highlight show in America and probably a few in Europe considering the parties involved.


2015 Early Entrants: OL Chuma Edoga

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The first five members of the 2015 USC recruiting class are already enrolled and on campus starting classes today. All week, we will introduce you to the newest members of the Trojan Family.

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Mountain Sweep

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The USC women's basketball team returns to Los Angeles for the first day of spring classes on a high after completing a road sweep against Colorado and Utah. The Women of Troy are hitting their stride just in time as they improve to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in Pac-12 play with a big matchup against crosstown rival UCLA on the horizon. 

USC started off the road trip on fire never once sacrificing its lead and ultimately defeating Colorado 81-61 in Boulder. Captain Alexyz Vaioletama and freshman McKenzie Calvert led this high-scoring affair with 20 points apiece and junior Brianna Barrett contributed 17 points of her own. 

The Women of Troy cooled off just like the frigid mountain air when they took on the Utes in Salt Lake on Sunday. USC scored a season-low 46 points against Utah, but it was enough to cap off the mountain sweep as they edged out the Utes 46-43. Brianna Barrett racked up double digits again scoring 13 points for the Women of Troy. Check out the highlights from Sunday's action here.

Next up, the Women of Troy have a chance for redemption as USC takes on UCLA this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. The Trojans opened Pac-12 play against the Bruins and fell just short losing by seven despite a back-and-forth battle at the Galen Center. 

Here is Barrett on the team's aggressive play after the Utah victory... 




2015 NFL Divisional Round

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Five active Trojans remain in the hunt for the Super Bowl trophy...

The Best

Nick Perry, OLB, Packers - 4 tackles (3 solo) and 1.5 sacks

Perry-Pack.jpgPerry picked a good time to have his best game of the season. He made a major impact on back-to-back plays sacking Cowboys QB Tony Romo to help Green Bay advance to the NFC Championship Game. He will now face some old college teammates and his former head coach when the Packers travel to Seattle to play for a spot in the Super Bowl.

The Rest

Khaled Holmes, C, Colts - Started at center in front of Andrew Luck in the upset win over Denver

Clay Matthews, OLB, Packers - 4 tackles (2 solo) and a QB hit

Wes Horton, DE, Panthers - 2 tackles and a forced fumble

Tyron Smith, LT, Cowboys - Started at left tackle for Dallas

Ryan Kalil, C, Panthers - Started at center for Carolina

Malcolm Smith, LB, Seahawks - One tackle in the victory over Carolina

Pete Carroll, HC, Seahawks - One win away from back-to-back NFC titles

Mike Morgan, LB, Seahawks - Headed back to the NFC Championship Game

Chuck Pagano, HC, Colts - Former USC grad assistant leads Indy to AFC Championship Game

Test Week for Men's Volley

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USC men's volleyball won its season opener in five sets at Grand Canyon University, and now the Trojans return home to Galen Center against national powers Pepperdine (Friday at 8 p.m.) and Stanford (Monday at 5 p.m.).

Awaiting the season's first big tests, head coach Bill Ferguson sat down with Dave Foley to preview the week.


Trojans Rock the Classroom

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USC student-athletes recorded their most successful academic semester on record in the just-completed Fall 2014 semester.

USC_Soccer_UCLA_LA_Coliseum_110814_MCG6373.JPGUSC's nearly 600 student-athletes recorded an average semester grade point average of 2.95, the highest since figures were first compiled in 2000, as well as an average cumulative GPA of 2.88, tying the all-time best. 

Approximately 45% of USC's student-athletes posted a Fall 2014 GPA of 3.0 or better.  Twelve of USC's 21 teams had a squad average GPA of 3.0 or better in last fall's semester, led by a women's team best of 3.39 by soccer (pictured) and a men's team high of 3.25 by volleyball. 

The football team's average GPA was its highest ever for a fall semester, including nearly a quarter of the players earning a 3.0-plus semester GPA.  Men's water polo, a fall sport like football, also had its highest fall semester GPA.   Four sports--women's soccer, tennis and volleyball and men's volleyball--all registered their best-ever semester GPA this past fall.

USC also had its fewest ever student-athletes below a 2.0 GPA and its fewest on academic probation entering a spring semester.

Some 116 Trojan student-athletes made the University's Fall 2014 Dean's List, including 13 from women's soccer, 12 from women's lacrosse and 9 each from football, men's track and field and women's crew.

Said USC senior associate athletic director Dr. Magdi El Shahawy, who oversees USC's Student-Athlete Academic Services:  "I believe this is a combined result of the efforts of our student-athletes first and foremost, but also their academic counselors, learning specialists, tutors, coaches and senior administration who have worked hard to support these student-athletes in their academic success, set a higher bar for them in the academic arena and hold them accountable if they are not putting forth the required effort in academics.

"We will continue to push to get the department's GPA above a 3.0, as well as help the student-athletes grow and have a great experience while here as we prepare them for life after USC."

3-Points: Stanford 78, USC 76

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The Trojans fell just short on Sunday night against the Cardinal looking for their second Pac-12 victory, but it came down to the wire as USC had a chance to win it at the buzzer. 


Close but No Cigar

The Trojans were down by 13 points with 7:49 left in the game, but the Trojans rallied going on a 12-3 run to finish the game. Elijah Stewart got the rocking Galen Center crowd on its feet with an emphatic dunk to cut the Cardinal's lead to six with 3:22 remaining. Then, Jordan McLaughlin cut the lead to three after knocking down two clutch free throws. The freshman followed those two points with a fast-break bucket to bring the Trojans within one. Head coach Andy Enfield called a timeout with 7.7 seconds left and put the ball back in the hot freshman's hands. McLaughlin drove past two Stanford defenders, but then lost his footing and turned the ball over ending the Trojans' hope of a buzzer beater.

Sunday Shootout

Stanford came out firing in the first half shooting 58 percent from the field and knocking down nine three-pointers to give the Cardinal the six-point lead at the break. Stanford had way too many uncontested threes in the first half according to Enfield something his defense turned around in the second half. The Trojans held Stanford to just one three-pointer on 12 attempts in the second half which allowed USC to hang around and make a final push with about five minutes to play. "I thought we shut the driving lanes down, contested the threes and we rebounded the ball," said Enfield regarding the Trojans' defense in the final five minutes. 

The Comeback Kid

Jordan McLaughlin returned to the floor on Sunday for the first time since January 2 when the freshman separated his shoulder against Utah. In his return, the freshman had 14 points off the bench in 29 minutes, but he said the one shot he'll remember is the final play. "I probably won't sleep much tonight," the freshman joked. "But that's why I came here, that's what everyone lives for. When you're young and shooting in your backyard just counting down three, two, one... it's why you play. It was just unfortunate tonight that I slipped." 

USC is now 1-3 in Pac-12 play, but they've got a big match-up against crosstown rival UCLA on the horizon. "They're one of the 11 teams we have to beat so we look at that as another Pac-12 game with a little extra enthusiasm because they are local and it is a rival," said Enfield. "But we're looking to really ramp this up on a national scale and the first thing we have to do is win league games." The Trojans take on the Bruins this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Galen Center. 

Here are the highlights from Sunday's thriller against Stanford... 

Allen Runs to the NFL

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USC junior RB Javorius "Buck" Allen has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Allen burst onto the scene midway through the 2013 season running for 100 yards or more in 13 of USC's last 19 games. He was named All-Pac-12 first team thanks to leading the conference in all-purpose yardage (149.8 yards per game) this past season.

In 2014, Allen ran for 1,489 yards and 11 TDs plus he caught 41 balls for 458 yards. And, his streak of 6 consecutive 100-yard rushing games was the longest since Marcus Allen had 11 in a row in 1981.

He is the only player in the nation with 13 games of 100-plus yards from scrimmage this season.  His 276 carries in 2014 are the most by a Trojan since Fred Crutcher's 307 in 1984.

Here is Allen's official statement announcing his decision to declare for the NFL:

"This was a tough decision for me.  I went home to Florida and talked it over with my family.  I am proud to have been the first one in my family to have gone to college, and I've been blessed to say I played football in college.  Now I'm ready to take it to the next level.  Every kid dreams of this moment. 

"This has been a long journey.  There are so many I want to thank, starting with God, who made this all possible.  I want to thank President Nikias for the opportunity I had at this great university and all of those who impacted my life at USC, including all our fans.  I want to thank Pat Haden and J.K. McKay for accepting me and always being there for me.  I want to thank Coach O for trusting in me when he took over last year and Coach Tommie Robinson for putting his job on the line last year by giving me the chance to play.  And now Coach Sark and his staff for molding me as a man and as a complete person on and off the field.  I had a great year with Coach Sark and his staff.  I also appreciate all the help I got from our equipment and training staffs, who met all my needs.  And especially everyone in our Academic Services department, who did such a great job supporting me and making my experience at USC better every day.  Fight On!"

Here is USC head coach Steve Sarkisian on Allen:

"Buck is a true Trojan and we wish him well.  He is not only a good football player, but a fine young man.  We are grateful for what he did at USC.  We asked a lot of Buck this year and he came through with an All-Pac-12 season.  We know he can do more of the same in the NFL."

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First and Last

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All-American senior swimmer Cristian Quintero returns to the program after a semester off just in time for the final home meet of the regular season for the men's team on Friday night at 6 p.m. against Wisconsin. The 500y freestyle NCAA champion highlights the Senior Night celebration which will also honor Chad Bobrosky, Dakota Hodgson, Sergio Lujan Rivera, Andrew Malone, Luca Spinazzola, and Cary Wright.

Click here for the complete release.

The No. 13 Women of Troy (3-1) will also be taking on the Badgers at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. USC men's swimming and diving is undefeated (4-0) and ranked No. 16 in the nation.

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